The Tradition of Wearing a Tuxedo

The tuxedo is an iconic fashion item of men’s formal wear. Originally a slang term referring to official attire at court functions in the early days of the republic, it has come to encompass the full set of outerwear for the modern man. Although the design of the tuxedo varies considerably from country to country, there are four main design elements which are present in all styles. These include the jacket, trousers, shoes and cuffs. There are also less obvious points such as whether to leave your shirt unbuttoned or not, whether you should draw the waistband of your trousers along your chin or not, and whether you want a white or black tie look.


Essentially, black tie is a formal Western style dress code for daytime events, originated initially in British and American upper-class formal dress codes for evening occasions in the late 19th century. For men, the main formal wear code is often referred to as the dinner jacket or dinner shirt, for which the shirt is just a partial piece of ceremonial attire. In men’s tuxedos, the dinner jacket is worn over a white or black suit jacket to give the full-dress effect. A dinner jacket should never be worn for everyday wear; it should be reserved for a special occasion only.

Tuxedo pants are another important detail, with the trousers worn around the torso of the tuxedo. Tuxedo pants have two important characteristics: they should be full-length, and they must feature a full-front button, with a wing collar or no collar at all. The color of the pants should be white, but may have variously colored buttons (and sometimes even a single white button) to represent the different parts of the jacket. Tuxedo shoes are similarly detailed, with the tuxedo shoes having a brooch or button fastening the shoe (as opposed to a brooch securing the pants). Lastly, the jacket itself should have a peak collar and the lapel bearing the groom’s initials, whether these are on a white or gray ribbon, are often seen on the lapels of the jacket itself.

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