Tuxedos are among the classiest, most sophisticated items of clothing for men, but many people don't realize the different parts to this complicated outfit. When buying a tuxedo off the rack or having one specially tailored, it helps to know the specific parts of the garment and how these components will suit your style and emphasize certain features. Keep these items in mind when searching for your new tuxedo.
The most recognizable feature of the tuxedo is the suit jacket. This elegant garment may feature silk lapels or tails, and it is important to become familiar with the features of the garment before buying. Single-breasted jackets are considered the standard, while the double-breasted are usually worn by older men. However, the double-breasted jacket is seeing a resurgence in popularity and is considered “timeless.” When wearing a single-breasted jacket, only button the top button; the double-breasted should always be fully buttoned unless you are seated.
The lapels should be taken into account as well; men with rounder faces look best with long and pointed lapels, as these elongate the face. Shorter, round lapels should be worn by men with longer faces.
The second important feature are the trousers. You may choose trousers with a crisp pleat down the middle, or opt for those varieties with satin or silk ribbons going down the inside of the leg.
The third aspect of a tuxedo is the dress shirt. Here you find a lot of flexibility. Some shirts feature pleats on the chest, studded or jeweled buttons, or holes for cufflinks. Be sure to choose a dress shirt that matches the style of your tuxedo, or you may find that the different styles clash, undermining the classy effect of the tuxedo. When in doubt, go simple.
Last, the cummerbund and the bowtie. These pieces pull the tuxedo together and create a polished look. The cummerbund is the wide piece of fabric placed at the waist underneath the jacket. It narrows at the back and snaps shut. The bow tie you choose can either be tied by hand or come pre-tied and snapped at the back. Match the color of the cummerbund to the bowtie to avoid clashing.
Learning about the different parts of the tuxedo will help you speak knowledgeably about your preferences to a tailor, or will help you narrow your search should you be purchasing off-the-rack. Pull all these elements together for a timeless, endlessly sophisticated look.