The Complete Guide to the Tuxedo

The Complete Guide to the Tuxedo

Because everyone wants to know what’s really going on. Here’s a breakdown of tuxedos and all the details that make it the more formal cousin at the ball.

The main feature: All the trim. Back in the day, the idea was to get rid of the ‘unsightly’ exposure of seams and buttons. So, on came some trim to cover up the bits and pieces, and a whole new look was born.

Tuxedos have satin faced lapels (peak / shawl / notch), as well as satin buttons and sometimes, satin trim along the pants. The trim is typically satin or grosgrain. The pants also don’t have belt loops because suspenders do the job instead, and there is usually a flap across where the pant button should be which is square or pointed, covering a hook and bar closure instead of a button.

You usually wear wingtip collars on shirts so you can sport a bow tie better, and your cuffs should have some space for cufflinks. The shirt can either have pleats or not, but definitely a space for stud sets, so you show that subtle elegance. You typically don’t wear a long tie because that will cover up the studs.

The jacket either has flap or besom pockets which is seamless to the drape. Our notch lapel tuxedos come with a flap pocket, and our shawl and peak are double besom.

The breast pocket is usually open for a lapel or floral pin or pocket square. The quality is best if it’s super 140s or higher because the premium wool is what gives it a heavier drape and flattering fall.

shawl lapel tuxedo
Shawl Lapel Tuxedo


Glossy shoes are nice, but not a necessity,

The shawl lapel is the most elegant of the bunch. A graceful curve for a lapel and a history that’s inspired by the smoking jacket—it’s simply sexy. The shawl lapel even has the range to go from ultra formal to casual with no button down and no bow tie.

The notch lapel was introduced into the tuxedo line up mid last century. It borrows its silhouette from the suit, which makes it more modern and up-to-date.

Lastly, the peak lapel is the granddaddy of all tuxedos as it’s the most traditional. Part of the reason the peak lapel has been so popular is because it creates the most masculine silhouette. The lines of the peak create a broad shoulder while the deep gorge creates a narrow waist. It’s both dashing and debonair.

peak lapel tux midnight
Midnight Blue Peak Lapel Tuxedo


The midnight blue tuxedo has a deep history but a more recent resurgence. It was first introduced by Edward VII as he started wear blue shawl dinner jackets and this caught on. By the time they invented electricity, they were able to see that the blue looked black at night because of the way it absorbed color. This versatility has made it come back with a vengance in the past few years and remains one of the strongest colors in men’s formal wear. Though it can be classified as a trend, it’s definitely a classic.

And lastly, remember the sometimes, always, never rule for buttons.  It’s always the top button, sometimes the first and second button, but never the first, second, and third button.

Now that you have your fool-proof guide to renting tuxedos, go forth and conquer!