How to Wear a Tuxedo

By After Six — Men's Formalwear & Wedding Attire

Since the 19th century, the tuxedo has been the choice of formalwear for all seasons. It's traditionally a black suit with a few key differences: woven wool fabric, satin lapels that contrast with the fabric, and sleek satin buttons. This helpful guide details the essential elements of classic tuxedo style so you can be coolly confident at your formal affair.


Facts & Figures

First, let's take a look at some wedding stats:

Tuxedo Statistics

— Rentals —

66% of grooms
rent their tuxedo.

— Black Tie —

13% of weddings
are black-tie.

— Groomsmen —

96% of weddings
include groomsmen.

— Wedding Party —

The average wedding
has 5.5 groomsmen.



Here are our top tips for how to wear a tuxedo—effortlessly.

What makes a timeless tuxedo.

Black Tie

The classic black-tie formal look is all about minimalism, with a fundamental, black-and-white palette and pattern-limited accessories. Add some of your personality to the ensemble with a subtly patterned bow tie. Just remember subtlety is the key, as the focal point of any refined attire is the gentleman's face.



There are three equally timeless lapels for black-tie formalwear: Notch, Peak, and Shawl. The notch lapel offers a classic V-shaped notch where the collar and lapel meet the jacket. A peak lapel also sports a V-shape but points upward for a more formal finish. And a shawl lapel offers an elegant unbroken edge, perfect for a formal ceremony.


Fitted to the Shoulder

The fundamentals of any proper fit offer clean and simple lines—a classic silhouette. Even as fashion trends come and go, a suit jacket's ideal width extends the natural shoulder line to balance with the hips. Most men require just a minimal amount of shoulder padding to retain the jacket's shape.


Comfy, but Never Loose

A well-fitting suit will help present the ideal male image. The suit should lie cleanly and smoothly, contouring to the body's natural shape and without pulling (too tight) or sagging (too big) anywhere. Either misstep in fit will mar the elegance of the design and lose the charm of understated sophistication.


A Classic Jacket

The most formal dinner jacket is the single-breasted, one-button model. The front of this classic jacket is cut in an aesthetically pleasing deep-V shape. It offers an opportunity to showcase your style with a subtle pattern or tasteful color by covering the pants' waistband with a cummberbund or waistcoat.


Matching Cufflinks

Formal accessories are a tasteful way to update your formal look. Classic black-tie shirt studs and waistcoat studs are typically made of gold and onyx. For a more personalized look, choose modern cufflinks. For a traditional appeal, ensure that your studs and cufflinks match.


Flat Front Tuxedo Pants

Tuxedo pants are satin-accented dress pants usually made from merino wool. The sleek satin stripe down the outseam emphasizes the trouser's leg line, complimenting all shapes and sizes. A flat front and adjustable waistband deliver a clean, timeless finish (no belt needed).


Simple Footwear

Aesthetic minimalism is key with formal footwear, with slip-ons and lace-ups both appropriate. A slim, narrow-footed style complements the overall silhouette. Formal Shoes also have a distinctly slipper-like appearance. Commonly made of black patent leather, they complete the ensemble.

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Distinguished men know: Style counts, and all the details make the tux.