How to Wear a Tuxedo

tuxedoIf a formal function calls for a tuxedo, then by all means, wear one. But you have to make sure that you don’t look just another penguin straight from the icy sheets of Antarctica. With today’s more relaxed and casual fashion trend, many men stumble when putting on a tuxedo. Here are some tuxedo basics that will help you nail this formal wear.


A single-breasted jacket is more formal than a double-breasted jacket. It is worn with either midnight blue or black trousers with a black silk band down the outer seam. The double-breasted tuxedo has a boxy shape and cut and looks great on taller men.

If you don’t reach the six-feet bar, stay with the single-breasted jacket. If you’re in the American South, it is appropriate to go for a white dinner jacket. A handkerchief is worn in the jacket’s breast pocket.


There are three tie options: a pre-tied bow tie, the actual bow tie, and a black tie. Putting on an actual bow requires a steady hand and a little bit of practice. So if you’re in a hurry, don’t attempt to go with this one.

Instead, settle with a pre-tied bow. You can also choose a black tie as it adds a modern feel to any tuxedo. It is also best for a gathering with a younger crowd. Only a black bow tie goes with a tuxedo – not a white tie, a red tie, or a rainbow-colored tie. Either a turn-down or wing collar is appropriate.


Wear a white shirt with French cuffs and cuff links. You can wear studs in lieu of buttons on the front of the shirt. The shirt front can have a conservative pleating or it can be plain. Don’t wear colored shirts – they are best left to casino greeters in Las Vegas.


The trousers should not restrict through the waist or the crotch. While some men go for a slight break at their shoe, others prefer slightly shorter trousers with little break. The rule of thumb is to wear the trouser at the waist. Awkwardly pulled pleats will result if it sags below.


Tuxedos are usually worn with cummerbunds, a pleated sash that obscures that line between the top of the trouser and the bottom of the shirt. Burgundy and black are the only appropriate colors for cummerbunds.


Black leather shoes are the only type acceptable for a tuxedo. You can wear your regular black dress shoes, just make sure that they are highly polished and have a simple capped toe. Wear black silk calf-length socks.

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