Atelier Munro Summer Wedding Tuxedos

Style Your Tuxedo Your Way

Do you think black tie wedding, gala dinner, or another classy event when you hear the word tuxedo? That's because it's an iconic and timeless item, although it can seem inflexible and give the feeling of "sameness" to those who are more accustomed to wearing modern suits. This isn't an accident, tuxedos do have a very specific style that embraces uniformity. 

Within the confines of the tuxedo there are still multiple ways to add style and personality without dressing it down or looking sloppy. From the lapels to the fabric stripe, every detail has a huge effect on the look, feel, and vibe of your tuxedo.

In this guide we'll help you become the expert on how to style your tuxedo to best represent your personality and personal aesthetic. Not only will you look amazing, but you’ll also feel comfortable and confident for your next formal event. 

Tuxedo Jacket: Lapel Style

Atelier Munro Black Peak Lapel Tuxedo

The lapel (collar of the jacket or shirt) is the most distinguishing feature of a tuxedo. There are two different lapel styles we recommend:

  • Peak lapel
  • Shawl lapel

A peak lapel extends upward and forms a peak that points toward the shoulders, thus the name, peak lapel. As the most classic choice for the tuxedo jacket, it’s never a bad option.

Next, there’s the shawl lapel. This option has a rounded shape that gives the jacket the same level of elegance as a peaked lapel without being too stiff. If you’re going for a casually elegant vibe, it’s a great choice.

Lapel Fabric

While the classic tux is generally made out of worsted wool, rayon, or polyester, the lapels are typically satin or grosgrain.

A satin lapel will have a smooth, shiny appearance. A grosgrain lapel is slightly ribbed for a more textured look that isn’t quite as lustrous. Grosgrain is also generally considered more refined than satin.

Both of these lapel fabric options are classic, so there’s really no wrong choice here. However, if you opt for a shawl collar, the satin lapel will complement the style the best.

Lapel Width

Atelier Munro Peak Lapel Tuxedo

The width of your lapel should be proportional to two things:

  • Width of your body
  • Width of your face

If you have a broad frame and face, the lapel should be wider. But if you have a slimmer frame and face, the lapel should be narrower.

This is very important because, for a tuxedo or dinner jacket to look perfect, everything needs to be balanced. Lapel width is one of the most common mistakes that can throw off the balance of a tuxedo. 

The most common mistake people typically make is choosing a tuxedo with a lapel that’s too narrow. Below are the ideal widths for the two most common lapel types:

  • Peak lapel width: 3.5 to 4 inches
  • Shawl lapel width: 3 to 3.5 inches

Note that for sizes 38 and smaller, a lapel between 2.5" and 3" will better suit the wearers frame.

These are the kinds of little details the team at Andrew Davis are here to help with. We're here to help you design the perfect tuxedo for any body type and occasion. 

Tuxedo Jacket: Single-Breasted Vs. Double-Breasted

Double Breasted Velvet Dinner Jacket from Atelier Munro

Now, it’s time to decide between a single-breasted and a double-breasted tuxedo.

  • Single-breasted jacket: The classic single-breasted jacket is characterized by a single column of buttons (or single button) and very lightly overlapping fabric. It’s the most traditional and conservative choice, so it looks good no matter what.
  • Double-breasted jacket: Another classic style, the double-breasted jacket has more overlapping fabric and two sets of buttons. It has a much more formal appearance than the single-breasted one.

Since you can’t really go wrong with either option, the choice comes down to your personal preference, style, and comfort zone.

Generally if you’ve never worn a double-breasted jacket before, the single-breasted option is the safer choice. With it, you’ll look your best while feeling comfortable and confident.

Of course, if you’re ready to try something new and step outside of your comfort zone, give the double-breasted jacket a try. You never know what works for you until you try it, after all.

Tuxedo Jacket: Pocket Style

The only acceptable pocket style for a full tuxedo is the jetted pocket. Unlike the flap pocket or patch pockets that you may have on your suits and sportcoats, the jetted pocket has a very simple, clean line. The trim of the pocket should always match the fabric of the lapel, so on a tuxedo it is typically satin or grosgrain. 

Tuxedo Jacket: Button Or Buttons

Single Button Tuxedo

While most men’s suits have two or even three buttons, the tuxedo jacket is a bit different. In general, here’s what to expect:

  • Single-breasted tuxedo jacket: One button
  • Double-breasted tux with a peak lapel: Four or six buttons
  • Double-breasted tux with a shawl lapel: Two or four buttons

Just like with the trim around the pocket, the button’s facing (fabric around the button) should match the fabric of the lapel.

Tuxedo Jacket: Vent Styles

A vent refers to the opening on the bottom back of the jacket. There are three main types of jacket vents: no vent, a single vent, and a double vent.

  • No vent is the most traditional option. It’s best for men who either have (or are going for) an old-school vibe.
  • The double vent has openings on both sides and is an updated take on the classic style. It’s perfect for anyone who has a classic style and a modern sensibility.
  • The single vent has a single slit in the center and offers a certain simplicity to the overall look.

Most tuxes have either no vent or a double vent, so it’s unlikely you’ll find many options with the single vent.

Tuxedo Pants: Side Adjusters

Tuxedo pants do not have belt loops. Instead, they have side adjusters that give them a simple, elegant look.

In terms of style, there isn’t a lot you can do with the side adjusters of your pants. However, you can use them to make fine adjustments to the waist size by either loosening or tightening them. This will give your pants a more tailored, refined look.

Tuxedo Pants: Fabric Stripe

All tuxedo pants have a fabric stripe running down the side. If your pants don’t have this feature, they’re not true tuxedo pants. As with the pocket trim and the button facing, the fabric of the stripe should always match the lapel fabric.

Tuxedo Pants: Bottom Finishing

Tuxedo pants should always have a plain bottom finishing. The clean line matches the cultivated simplicity and sophistication of the tuxedo. Plus, it’s the most formal way to finish the bottom of any pants.

Tuxedo Shoes

The classic tuxedo calls for black shoes made from either calfskin or patent leather. Both options are quite elegant and pair well with the entire ensemble, so it’s up to you what you choose.

Tuxedo Accessories

To complete the look or add a bit more of your own style to your tuxedo, here’s what you need:

  • French cufflinks
  • Black bowtie
  • Studs (if you want an alternative to the standard tuxedo shirt buttons)
  • Black cummerbund (when wearing a single-breasted jacket)
  • Simple pocket square
  • Lapel pin

Bottom Line

Ultimately, the tuxedo is a staple of formalwear, especially when it comes to weddings and other black tie events. And, even though it’s quite a structured look, that doesn’t mean you can’t play around with some of the smaller details to achieve your preferred style.

By understanding and paying attention to each aspect of the tux, you can really nail whatever style you’re going for. Even a simple change, like going with wide vs. narrow lapels, can make all the difference in how you look and feel.

April 04, 2024 — Andrew Mallor