Each year we get a lot of questions from young couples about what to wear for their upcoming summer weddings.
We also get asked for guidance on replacing their old tuxedos.
No one seems to know what the rules are, and there are dozens of options…so here are a few simple guidelines to consider if you find yourself needing to rent/buy a tuxedo for a formal event this Spring/Summer. This Guide focuses only on tuxedo recommendations. If you are considering a wedding and opting for suits vs. tuxedos, watch for an upcoming guide on Wedding Suits!
Most classic Tuxedo: Single breasted, notch with one button.
If you are renting or buying a ready-made tuxedo, your lapels will have a shiny satin finish. If you are considering a custom tuxedo, you should consider a black gros-grain finish on your lapels.
My second coat option would be the peak lapel. Still a classic. (The other options are shawl collar…not my favorite…or double breasted…a classic but only looks good when buttoned…and that’s just not that comfortable…unbuttoning every time you sit down, etc.)
Your button options will be 2 button or 1 button. I prefer 1 button…clean and simple are your goal. 1B is cleaner.
I continue to advocate besom pockets…the most classic…but flaps like one finds on suits are fine. (Scroll back up to the first photo of the notch tuxedo. This has “besom pockets” or pockets without flaps.) Similarly, I opt for a non-vented jacket back…it’s the cleanest look…and the most classic. If you are renting, or buying off-the-rack, you won’t have many choices…probably double side vents are today’s leading style…but with custom, you can style your own tuxedo venting.
Pants are simple…pleated are my first choice…because…you tend to sit a lot when wearing a tuxedo…dinners, weddings, etc. and pleated pants are just flat out more comfortable (see April 11 blog). If you are renting, flat front trousers are the most popular by far…especially for wedding parties and proms.
As far as the vest/tie goes, the rule is that if one is attending a formal affair at which someone is being honored…man of the year, wedding, etc….all male guests are supposed to blend into the background to allow the guest of honor to be the Peacock…everyone else should be a sea of penguins…
To that point, for the formal affair you must attend, at which one is being honored, you have but one choice in color of your vest/tie…black…you can add a small pattern on pattern…or a small hint of silver, etc…but the basic tie/bowtie vest should be a black ground…many, many guys violate this tenet…but these are the rules…
On the other hand, if you are attending a fundraising gala, for example, or a New Year’s Eve gala, or a grand opening gala, or your wedding…these are events to which you come sporting whatever color floats your boat. Oftentimes, the male will choose a color to complement his date’s dress…especially for proms as shown below…and this year, it’s all about color!!!
Last…change in neck wear choices…A tie with matching vest has been the most popular neck wear option for the past 10 years. Vests with ties or bow ties are still popular…especially for weddings and proms…but The Style Leader cautions that the bow tie is making a comeback! A single breasted notch lapel tuxedo, flat front pant, with white flat front shirt…with a bow tie…without a cummerbund…is probably the hottest look.
So…these are my guidelines and advice…sage or not…
Special Thanks to Sam Vavala- Samuel’s Formalwear