What’s the Difference Between a Tuxedo and a Suit?

When it comes to selecting wedding formalwear, the most basic decision to make is deciding between a tuxedo and suit. While the suit is a staple of men’s formalwear, many don’t actually own one that meets the demands of a formal wedding.

As such, planning your attendance to a black-tie or formal wedding can be a bit stressful. Especially if you’re never worn a formal suit before.

Before we start though, remember that a suit is quite a general term that many people use to describe basic trouser and blazer combinations. However, for this blog, we’ll be referring to the kinds of suits that come in a more formal shape and design, rather than casual sports jackets paired with any old pair of trousers.

The Tuxedo

The tuxedo is the most formal dress option for weddings and is reserved for wear to black-tie events. You might find the odd person turning up to a formal wedding in a tux, but you won’t be expected to do the same unless the invitation specifies “black tie”.

As well as weddings, tuxedo events include things like galas, award ceremonies, and extravagant celebrity weddings, so these are the places you can look for inspiration.

At such events, the most classic interpretation of the tuxedo is appreciated, without any colours or styles that are too flashy or extravagant.

Tuxedo Accessories

The tuxedo look is actually made up of more than just the jacket and pants. To set your outfit off, you can consider the following.

  • Suspenders or braces - As tuxedo trousers typically do not come with belt hooks, suspenders or braces should be worn with a tuxedo to keep trousers in place.
  • Dress shirt - This is not just a normal smart shirt you would wear to work! A tuxedo dress shirt should be crisp, classic, and flawlessly white. Many will also be pleated down the front, and feature holes on the sleeves for cufflinks.
  • The cummerbund - This is probably one of the most distinctive accessories of the tux. The purpose of the cummerbund is to keep the dress shirt in place, but it also makes you look incredibly suave. For larger men, the cummerbund also helps to flatten the torso, giving you a slimmer look.
  • A bow tie - Now is the time for a bow tie, not a necktie. Generally, it is expected of you to wear a tuxedo with a simple black bow tie in a satin material. And if you can, avoid buying a pre-tied bow and tie your bow by hand (or get someone else to do it for you).
  • Cuff links - You might already have several pairs of great cufflinks, but now is not the time to whip out something that doesn’t match the formality of the tux. We suggest going with silver cufflinks or gold cufflinks with a classic style and design.
  • Pocket Squares - These are also acceptable, but don’t forget to choose something subtle and understated. Black tie events are not really the place to try out wild, eye-catching patterns and colours.

The Suit

We all generally know what a suit is, and by reading the above, you’ll also know what a suit is not. However, here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a suit for a wedding which is specified to be "formal".

  • Acceptable colours for a formal wedding suite include grey, navy and sometimes beige (if the setting is casual enough). Other colours like baby blue are best left for events that clearly state casual attire on the invitation or beach and summer weddings where you’ve been told that any colour is okay.
  • Many suits today are just too slim. Obviously, this is a subjective viewpoint, but if you want to keep things absolutely classic and are attending the formal wedding of hosts you know to lean towards the conservative side, we recommend you choose a suit on the more formal side too, this could mean a more structured shoulder, wider lapels, trousers that have at least a slight break, and a general fit that doesn’t make you feel like you’re going to split your trousers every time you sit down.
  • While not necessary, more formal events might call for a waistcoat with the suit jacket and trousers. Also called a “vest” by Americans, you can choose the same colour and material of the coat and trousers, or choose a contrasting colour to make your outfit really stand out.
  • Finally, a great pair of cufflinks allow you to showcase some of your personality despite the strict requirements of formal wedding attire. As long as you don’t wear anything immature or too jokey, it’s the one part of your outfit you can have full creative freedom over. Having said this, a classic pair of gold cufflinks look dapper with pretty much any suit.

Cufflinks for Tuxedos and Formal Suits

At the Wimbledon Cufflink Company, we take a lot of joy in helping our customers find the right pair of cufflinks for their suits and tuxedos. For some inspiration or advice, get in touch with us today!