The Golden Rules of Wearing a Tuxedo

Categories Fashion

Do you have a formal event coming up? Here’s the inside info on the right way to put your look together.

The colour

You’re wearing a tux because you’re attending a serious event, which demands a serious colour — so classic black or shimmering midnight blue are the ‘serious’ options for an evening suit, creating a dark, well cut, flattering silhouette. Having said that, if you’re feeling more fashion forward, velvet, patterned or other-coloured jackets  are increasingly popular at events calling for formalwear.


The shirt

A pleated tuxedo shirt is the most formal and traditional option, but a button-up with a spread collar and French cuffs does the trick, too — a regular white business shirt with a point collar and square cuffs, however, looks very out of place with a tux. Studs aren’t compulsory but they do look striking — it’s essential they’re paired with your cufflinks.


A long necktie with a tux jacket just looks plain wrong, and a pre-tied bowtie — which fools absolutely no one — is a crime against fashion punishable by death. Can’t tie a bowtie? Learn, ask a mate, do whatever you can do avoid the ignominy of resorting to a tacky pre-tied one. The fabric of your bowtie should also match your lapels and the stripe on your pants for a cohesive overall look.


The cummerbund

A single-breasted tux jacket requires a cummerbund, a waistcoat, or a vest — and if you go for the cummerbund, it’s essential the pleats are facing up and it’s worn at the appropriate height (half over the trousers, half over the shirt). A vest can be the more comfortable option if you find the cummerbund fiddly.


The socks

Playful socks are a great twist on your conservative workwear, but they’ve got no place at a black-tie event with your tuxedo — bright green and yellow stripes undermine the cohesive silhouette created by the rest of the suit. Socks should be black and long (over the calves) to avoid flashing any ankle or shin.


The shoes

Those ribboned court shoes aren’t necessary — in fact, they should be reserved for white tie events — but a solid shine is imperative. Polished patent leather Derbies or Oxfords are perfect for black tie soirees.


See also:

The Art of the Tux