Suit vs Tuxedo: Formal Attire Decisions for Men

Tuxe-do or tuxe-don’t? That is the question. But what’s the correct answer to the time-old debate, suit vs tux when it comes to weddings?

Let’s dive right into the world of formal attire…

What Are the Main Differences Between a Tuxedo and a Suit?

If you’ve never worn either, there’s a good chance you don’t know what the difference is. While a suit and a tuxedo are both considered formal wear, there are a few key differences between them.

Tux

The main difference is that a tuxedo has satin material, usually black, somewhere in the design. This could be on the lapels of the jacket, a stripe down the leg of the trousers, on the pockets, or button detail.

man in tux

Speaking of buttons, when it comes to these, the general rule of thumb is that the more button fastenings on a jacket, the less formal it is. A tuxedo, therefore, will only have a single-button fastening.

Tuxedos also have a cummerbund or silk waistband on the trousers. They’re also made (or adjusted) to fit the waist perfectly.

Suit

A suit is made with the same fabric throughout, and the numerous buttons are often made of plastic or bone.

Suit trousers also, more often than not, include belt loops.

Bow Tie or Necktie?

Tuxedo

Considered formal wear, modern tuxedos should be worn with a self-tied bow that’s positioned perfectly on a white dress shirt with a wing-tip or turned-up collar.

Black or white are the popular choices unless you and your bride agree on something that shows your quirkier side. 

Suit

Suits on the contrary can be accessorized with bow ties or a tie, and the dress shirt can be any color and even incorporate a pattern.

HINT – The less formal the occasion, the more opportunity you have to play with color options and patterns when donning a suit and tie.

Which Shoe Is Best When You Say “I Do”?

Yep, the perfect pair of shoes finish off your look perfectly, especially if you’re wearing a tuxedo. 

Shoes with a suit allow for a lot more freedom and depend on your personality, the venue, and whether you get the bride’s nod. Of course, a patent brown or black shoe is a good choice, but if you’re more of a brogues, slip-on shoe, or loafer man, there’s really no right or wrong.

Nowadays, when anything goes, it’s not unusual to see men in suits wearing flip-flops or going barefoot at their beach wedding.

What Time Is the Wedding?

The time of day that the wedding commences is an important factor in formal attire, but it’s not the only important point; consider the venue and purpose also.

Tux

For example, a tux is suited to more formal functions after sundown, including evening weddings, gala events, award evenings, etc.

Suit

A suit, on the other hand, is more versatile and can be worn to day court weddings, friend’s weddings, funerals, and work events. It’s also the choice of outfit for daily business.

Minimalist vs Exhibitionist?

Tux

If you’re going for an all-out minimalist look, the tuxedo is your best bet. Created especially to allow the style and design to speak for themselves, there’s very little fuss when it comes to the tux.

Suit

man in suit

Suits, however, allow for the wearer to inject their very own style into the outfit. Jackets can be worn with either a tie bow or a tie, and be as downplayed or over the top as possible. 

Cost – Suit vs Tux

Tux

Let’s get this out the way. If budget isn’t an issue, and you find yourself wearing a tux fairly regularly, to formal dinners, ceremonies, or galas, then you may want to invest in one. 

On average, a tuxedo will set you back anywhere between $700 and $1000, excluding the shoes, shirt, and cummerbund. A little steep, given the current cost of living, but don’t despair!

If you (and your bride-to-be) have your heart set on a tux, there’s always the option of renting. A good quality rental tux is between $150 and $250 and often comes with all the bits and pieces you need, including the dress shirt, shoes, cufflinks, and vest.

Suit

A well-made, high-quality three-piece suit, especially if you’re going to wear it more than once, is also a great investment.

Ranging in price between $250 and $800, you may even be able to find the perfect suit at a reduced price. However, don’t forget to set aside a budget for a dress shirt, shoes, and a tie. Oh, and don’t forget alterations.

Tux or Suit When You’re the Guest?

The last thing you want to do as a guest at a wedding is out-dress the groom and confuse the bride-to-be. If in doubt, look at the invitation for clues.

If it reads “Black Tie Invited”, “Black Tie Preferred” or “White Tie”, that’s your cue to don a tuxedo. Invitations that include “Black Tie Optional” or “Formal” means you can wear a suit.

Of course, if no dress code is mentioned, feel free to wear something that matches the theme – for example at a beach or destination wedding, you wouldn’t look out of place in smart casual shorts, a comfy shirt, or sandals.

In the same breath, if it’s a fun-loving couple who likes going against the grain with a themed Star Wars wedding, by all means, go all out! 

Our advice to you – ALWAYS READ THE INVITATION!

Tux vs Suit – Which One Is Best for You as the Groom

Hopefully, you now know the difference between the two, but the all-important question remains, which fashion choice is best for you as the groom?! After all, you’re taking center stage at one of the most important events of your life!

Yes, a tux can be uber-glam, with satin, wing-tip collar shirts, and all the accompanying accessories, but a suit, when put together well, is also a great choice.

Consult With Your Bride-to-Be

A bride has a wide range of dresses and two pieces to choose from and, more often than not, the wedding (and everything that goes with it) is her domain. 

But it’s your wedding day too, so communication is key when it comes to the dress code.

Remember the classic saying, “happy wife, happy life?” Well, never did an adage ring more true. Yes, she is excited to be marrying you. Yes, she can’t wait to be your wife, but hell hath no fury like a bride NOT liking what her groom picks for his wedding attire!

Make Sure Your Choice of Attire Fits In

Make sure what you choose is something you both agree on and fits in with the time of the event, the overall theme, and the venue. 

Many couples have a civil service, as well as a reception. For this occasion, both you and your wife-to-be can keep things a little less formal, and show your personalities off with an outfit that’s a little quirky and unique to you. 

The reception, however, needs to be a little classy, especially if it’s a nighttime affair. This is when a tuxedo is a great choice. It tells your bride and guests that there is nowhere else in the world you’d rather be, which we think is incredibly special.

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