Formalwear Guidelines: Tradition and Trends

Close up of man's fashionable suit and tieMen’s formalwear standards have evolved with the times, and today’s man has more options than ever for a dressy occasion. At A Better Deal Tuxedo, our knowledgeable style consultants offer formalwear guidelines at our La Jolla showroom to help you choose and accessorize your ideal look for any business or social event. Our expansive store is filled with samples of tuxedos and designer suits to browse through and try on. For a personal shopping experience to assist you with a rental or purchase, contact A Better Deal Tuxedo today.

The Elements of Classic Black Tie Dress

When an invitation calls for black tie, or you want to make the ultimate, elegant formal statement, the following guidelines are standard:

  • Jacket - The most formal jackets have peak or shawl lapels in satin fabric. Notch lapels are common on everyday suits and thus considered less formal, but are acceptable for black tie today. Single-breasted tuxedo jackets traditionally have one or two buttons. The double-breasted tuxedo jacket is less common, but no less acceptable. Semi formal is the white or ivory dinner jacket, which is similar to a tuxedo jacket in many ways but typically worn only during summer or in tropical climates.
  • Trousers - Unlike suit pants, tuxedo trousers typically have a silk outer seam that runs from the waist to the bottom of the pant leg. 
  • Vest or Cummerbund - Typically, a cummerbund (waist covering) or vest is worn with a single-breasted jacket, though recent trends in men's formalwear have made these rules less rigid. 
  • Shirt - Traditional black tie attire standards accept only white or off-white dress shirts with plain or subtle detailing. Cuff links and shirt studs are typically worn and are usually silver or gold.
  • Footwear - The most popular shoe for black tie events is the black high gloss laced shoe.
  • Accessories - Ties and pocket squares are standard. Accessories such as boutonnières, hats, and outerwear, such as overcoats, gloves, and scarfs, can all be worn with a tuxedo to personalize it.

Modern Variations

Tuxedos today come in many colors, with formal favorites including shades of grey and blue. 

Newer tailoring silhouettes are slimmer and more body conscious, though traditional, fuller cuts may be more flattering for some. Tuxedos today are sometimes worn without a cummerbund or vest. Some tuxedo pants come with belt loops or have a built-in satin waistband. Bow ties are a popular choice in a variety of colors, patterns and fabrics. The traditional Windsor tie is available in various widths, colors, patterns and fabrics. However, a double Windsor knot represents a more formal look.

Men today are free to accessorize their tuxedos with a colorful vests or ties. It is popular in modern weddings to coordinate the groomsmen accessories to match the color of the bridesmaid dresses. 

Hands-on Guidance

Contact A Better Deal Tuxedo for expert help with your formal menswear attire. At your personal shopping appointment, we can answer all your questions and help you choose something stylish and appropriate for your upcoming special occasion.