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Style Guide

How to Wear a Tuxedo Correctly

Hemant Varshney

Astor Vance on the red carpet

Astor Vance on the red carpet

With Emmy season just behind us, the news is chock full of Red Carpet fashion. While many focus on the glittering gowns, fabulous frocks and fashion faux pas, there is no denying the subtle elegance of an tuxedo, especially one that is being rocked to its fullest advantage. And while it may be easy to blend in to a crowd of other tuxes, great accessories and attention to detail can make yours stand out in a crowd.

When to Wear a Tux:

So you’ve got an invitation and you’re not sure whether it’s the right occasion to bust out with the tux. Is the event taking place after 6 PM? A tux is strictly evening wear as defined by the striking of the 6 o’clock hour. And yeah, if the invitation says ‘black tie optional’…it’s not really an option. It’s always better to overdress than underdress.

Start with a Great Foundation:

For a jacket, it’s best to opt for a classic notch lapel, single breasted jacket. While other choices may be interesting to explore, you also run the risk of seeming out of place at certain events. Pants should sport a silk strip down the outside of each leg and should not be cuffed. Black and navy are safe color choices although it can be fun to experiment with jewel tones and bold colors depending on the event.

Shirts should be subdued and generally white in color. For the collar, traditional point collars and wing collars are both acceptable as are plain or pleated fronts. However, French cuffs finished off with cuff links are a must.

Next comes the bow tie. While some may opt for a long tie or no tie at all, most agree, it’s just not a tuxedo without a bow tie, preferably one you tie yourself. While a black bow tie is always a safe choice, feel free to experiment with colors.

Finally, there is the cummerbund or vest.  While many see these as optional, the general consensus is that tuxes will look unfinished if the shirt is exposed. Make sure not to wear your cummerbund with braces and that the pleats face up.


Now for the fun part! Think about how you can make your tuxedoed look a stand out with these tasteful adornments.

Shoes: Although many men opt for a classic dress shoe, rocking a pair of sneakers can also make a tux fun and edgy. If you do opt for the dress shoe, go for plain, round toes, leather shoes or highly polished Oxfords. Avoid anything too ornate like tassels and heavy stitching.

Pocket squares: These can add a bit of panache to your tux, especially if you’re willing to be adventurous with colors. Try playing with fall tones or contrasting bold colors.  

Watches: If you own a tasteful watch, this the perfect accessory to peek a boo out of your sleeve. Practice those poses to make sure everyone gets a chance to see this stunning piece.

Lapel Pins: A lapel pin is can be an elegant touch, reminiscent of old Hollywood. And while a diamond studded brooch can work well, why not incorporate a modern twist for today’s politically charged climate? Activist accessories are also a great way to wear your heart on your sleeve…or your lapel. 

Wearing a tuxedo is an art that can be easily mastered with a bit of flair and attention to detail. If you are still confused as to finding the right cut and style for your tuxedo, or which accessories will work best for you, consult the specialists at Astor Vance. They can customize a tuxedo that is guaranteed to be suited for any occasion and make you a style stand out.