How to style a tuxedo for formal weddings and other black tie events

how to style a tuxedo

If all the clothing items in a man’s wardrobe were assigned feudal hierarchies, the tuxedo would probably be king. And this makes perfect sense since the very first tux ever designed was for Prince Edward VII in 1865.

Tuxedos have always been seen as the sexy cousins of suits. Thanks to James Bond and Hollywood, tuxedos spell uppercrust in a way that’s unmatched by any other menswear garment. And with more men opening up to the idea of owning one, we’re faced with the common query – how does one style a tuxedo? We’ll get to that in a moment, but first let’s start with the basics:

When do you wear tuxedos?

Tuxedos are more formal than suits and can be worn to all black tie events. They’re evening wear meant for special occasions like formal weddings and high profile parties. Infact, follow the rule that says it should come out only after 6:00 pm.

We especially like the idea of men wearing tuxedos for their weddings. This is because, there’s a good chance most guests would be dressed up in their best suits, and a sharp tuxedo is a good way to stand apart from the crowd.

What constitutes a tuxedo?

The occassion wear has three important elements:

Tuxedo jacket – These jackets usually a notched, peak or shawl lapel (the classic option) with satin facing, along with satin covered buttons and trims.

Tuxedo shirt – Tuxedo shirts often have pleated or bibbed fronts. The collars are almost always spread or wingtip since a bowtie is often the accessory of choice. Sleeves end in French cuffs. The shirt placket may be concealed or have visible studs.

Tuxedo trousers – Tuxedo trousers often have a satin stripe running down the outer leg, and are designed to be worn with the tuxedo jacket. Most tuxedo pants don’t have belt loops, in keeping with the streamlined look, therefore we suggest having it custom made. Similarly, they don’t usually come with cuffs and pleats.

Though many men think that vests are required to complete the tuxedo look, the truth is that vests, like cummerbunds, are optional.

Finally, how does one style a tuxedo?

A tuxedo isn’t complete without the right styling elements. Here’s your tuxedo styling checklist.


The most popular colors for tuxedos are black and midnight blue since these colors look distinguished. There are those who experiment with jewel tones like garnet and sapphire blue, but we recommend black and midnight blue. The satin facing on the lapels though will always be black. And the shirt should always be white.


  • Bow ties – Though trendy folk love to challenge the system by wearing ties with their tuxes, the ideal way to accessorise the shirt is by wearing a black silk bow tie to show off the shirt bib and placket.
  • Pocket squares – Like suits, pocket squares are optional. Unlike suits, pocket squares, if opted for while wearing a tuxedo, should be white.
  • Cummerbunds – This, like the pocket square is optional. The main purpose of the cummerbund is to conceal the waist. It should be worn with the pleats facing up, and the color should ideally match the bow tie.
  • Studs and cufflinks – Tuxedo shirt plackets usually have studs, and therefore your cufflinks should ideally complement them.
  • Shoes – Wear tuxedos with solid black socks. And for shoes, wear patent leather lace-ups. You don’t need any bells and whistles to distract from the overall sleek appearance.
Let’s know in detail about the Suit parts with our blog ‘Do you know the parts of Suit‘ and design your own suit.

Our parting words

It’s easy to go over the tips above and choose to buy a tuxedo off the rack. But the biggest contributing factor to a tuxedo’s sleek appearance is fit – the sleeves should end at the wrist, the trousers should hold up without belts, the shirt shouldn’t strain over the body nor bunch up, there should be two finger space between neck and collar. Therefore, we can’t stress enough on why it’s important to have a made to measure tuxedo.

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