Updated: Jul 28, 2021
Planning what to wear to a special occasion? Chances are if you are a man, you will be thinking between choosing a tuxedo and a suit. But what are the differences, really?
When it comes to differentiating between a tuxedo and a suit, most of us know that tuxedos are worn during more formal, special occasions such as weddings and award ceremonies, whereas suits can be worn to less formal occasions such as to work. However, there are technical differences that separate the tuxedo vs. the suit that can help you narrow down your choice of what to wear.
For instance, a tuxedo basically has satin details -- lapels, buttons and a stripe down the side of the pant leg. A suit doesn’t normally have satin details and would look more practical and less fancy compared to the tux. If you are weighing your options between these two, here are some of the main differences to help you consider:
1. The Price
When choosing between tuxedo vs. suit, one aspect to keep in mind is the price point. In general, tuxedos tend to be a little more expensive, thanks to the extremely high-quality cut and fabric used. That being said, it largely depends on the brand and if there’s a surcharge for satin, which could set you back an extra $200 per tuxedo. However, there are a variety of options out there that will keep you looking sharp without spending the big bucks if you dream of attending your big event in a tux. Suits, being a little less fancy, can come at a lower price point, depending on the fabric, tailoring and brand name. When weighing out your options between tuxedo vs. suit, it’s best to have a set budget in mind to help you make your selection.
2. The Pants
Just like the jackets, the primary difference between tuxedo pants and suit pants comes down to the tuxedo’s silk fabric placement. Tuxedo pants usually feature a satin silk stripe down the outseam.
Most tuxedo pants are also designed with a silk waistband, which means there are no belt loops. Belts are a casual accessory, which are too casual for the streamlined design of a tux. Instead, tuxedo pants have waist adjusters on either or side, or they’re tailored to fit the wearer’s waist. Suit pants, on the contrary, almost always have belt loops but lack the satin accents.
3. The Shirt
Traditionally, tuxedo shirts (with a pleated bib and wing tip collar) would be an unusual choice for a suit but were mandatory for a tuxedo. However, as time goes by, you should be able to own your own style, though some of these rules are easier to modify than others. If you’re wearing a tuxedo, the traditional bibbed wing tip shirt is always a safe choice. For a modern look, skip the pleated bib and choose a shirt with a fold-down collar. We offer a few styles that mix and match modern and classic elements of the tuxedo shirt, and both would look great with any tux. It’s also smart to limit your shirt colour choice to black and white when you wear a tuxedo. Colours are riskier, and better left for casual events. If you’re unfamiliar with formal wear, the shirt cuffs might seem like tux vs suit minefield -- they’re not. Cuff design is mostly a personal style thing, but if you want to wear cufflinks, you’ll need to make sure they’re compatible with your shirt cuffs.
4. The Tie
The biggest difference between suit neckwear and tuxedo ties comes down to the dress code of the event. For the formal dress codes, you’ll want to wear a black bow tie with your tuxedo, or at least a bow tie in the black and white colour palette. The less formal the dress code is, the more freedom you have to sub in a patterned bow tie or even a necktie -- all of which works just as well with a suit.
With a suit, you can mix up the colours a little more -- a very popular move when couples choose their wedding ties. There’s nothing stopping you from wearing a bow tie with a suit, though neckties are a more common choice.
5. The Shoes
A simple way to contrast shoes for a tuxedo vs. a suit is by the shoe’s material. The classic tuxedo look features a patent leather shoe. Velvet is also a trending shoe material match for a tuxedo, often styled into a loafer. Some tuxedo shoes even mix materials, like patent leather and grosgrain ribbon, or even a matte leather combo. Unless this is a festive, fashionable, or laid back event, stick to black shoes.
Making Your Choice
Once you have made your decision between a tuxedo or a suit, next, you’ll need to find one that fits your body. Anyone who has shopped for a suit can tell you that’s no easy task. A ready-made suit or tuxedo may be a little bit friendlier on your wallet but if you’re investing in a suit or a tux for a special occasion, say for your wedding day, it’s best to get one custom made by a trusted bespoke tailor.
Come to our shop today for a consultation and we will gladly talk you through your options. Whatever your choice may be, we can only promise you one thing: having a tuxedo or a suit that is tailored according to your own body measurements will fit your body like a glove and make you look really good on your special occasion. It will be worth every penny