So what do you need for your special event? Well, wherever you are going, the first thing you must do is check out the dress code. But most likely you will need a traditional black tuxedo with black bow tie or a white tuxedo with fancy waistcoat, and a black tailcoat with white marcella shirt, matching waistcoat and bow tie (these are your tuxedo accessories) The art of creating your own style is to mix and match jackets, trousers, waistcoats, shirts and ties and believe me the possible combinations are almost endless. The most important thing you can do after you have picked out your tuxedo is to accessorize it. You can even get away with buy or renting a cheap tuxedo if you can get the right formal accessories to go with it.
Following is break down of all the formal accessories that you can mix and match to achieve the ultimate style.
- Tie, cummerbund/vest, shirts, gloves, hats, shoes, handkerchiefs, cuff links, studs, cane, spats, socks, suspenders or ascot.
- Arm Bands
- An elastic band worn over a shirt on upper arm under coat to shorten a shirt sleeve. Especially useful with boy's size shirts.
- A tie with broad ends hanging from a knot, worn with a stick pin and wing tip shirt. Worn with a Cutaway jacket, usually for daytime weddings.
- Band Collar Shirt
- A tuxedo shirt with no collar. This shirt can have a pleated or plain front. Worn with a button cover or collarband.
- Barrel Sleeve
- Ends of jacket sleeve are overlapped with no sleeve vent.
- Besom Pockets
- Self fabric or satin strip on top of pocket. Double besom is two strips, one over pocket opening and one on top of pocket.
- Black Tie
- Black tuxedo jacket, black tuxedo pants, white shirt, black cummerbund and tie, or matching tie, cummerbund or vest, and formal shoes.
- Button Cover
- A decorative accessory worn over top button of the shirt. Usually worn on band collar shirts.
- Flower worn on the left of the lapel.
- Bow Tie
- Clip-on is usually worn with regular collar shirts. Band tie is pre-tied, attached around the neck, and can be worn with any collar. Self tie must be tied into a bow by wearer. Western tie is usually worn with a western tuxedo. The Bow Tie: usually is made of silk barathea or satin and is knotted by hand. Some consider it poor form and dÃ©classÃ© to wear a commercially pre-knotted bow tie, especially when the hook-and-buckle fastener shows. Yet, for most black tie occasions, such an artificial bow tie is common, given that most black tie clothes are hired, not owned; Moreover, in the proletarian 1980s and 1990s, the proper, manually tied and knotted bow tie has almost vanished beyond the bespoke stratum in the U.S. Americans generally ascribe no stigma of inelegance to the commercial, pre-knotted bow tie. A classic, bow ties come in several colors besides basic black white is reserved for super-formal events, and colored bow ties are suitable for any occasion. Go for basic black if you're not sure.
- Carried when top hat is worn. Must match top hat.
- Collar Extender
- Little plastic button with a loop that attaches to the top button of the shirt to add a little more room in the neck.
- Cuff Links
- Decorative accessory that keeps a shirt cuff closed instead of using a button. Always required with a French Cuff shirt. These babies can make or break a fabulous outfit. If simple elegance is your style, stick with a solid silver or gold. For outlandish, try something with a little panache like a pair of magic eight balls. Dress-shirt cuffs: Standard cuffs held together with cuff links. Formally fabulous. French cuffs: Folded over and closed with cuff links. Fashion-forwardly fabulous. Everyday cuffs: Cuffs that close with a button. A little on the casual side, but still acceptable if you're not a cuff link-wearing kind of guy.
- Formal, pleated, adjustable waist sash, worn with pleats up. That is the pleated swatches of fabric worn around the waist. The cummerbund is of the same cloth as the bow tie and lapels.
- Cutaway (Also called a Morning Coat)
- A long jacket, rounded off at the bottom, with no satin. Worn for daytime weddings or daytime formal affairs. Usually worn with striped tuxedo pants.
- Dinner Jacket
- Usually a white or winter white shawl collar jacket. Can be single or double breasted. Always worn with black tuxedo pants.
- Double Breasted
- Jacket closes over to the side and buttons outside on the right and inside on the left. Always worn closed. A cummerbund or high button vest is usually worn with this jacket.
- Flap Pocket
- Usually self fabric, with a flap over pocket opening.
- Formal Shoes
- Traditionally, the most formal shoes are patent-leather opera pumps (court shoes) decorated with a ribbed silk bow, as worn with white tie; they are uncommon today. A popular, formal alternative is the black leather lace-up Oxford shoe, often in patent leather, but without a toe cap or decorative brogueing. Hosiery should be black, knee-high, ribbed silk socks.
- Four in hand Tie
- A knotted tie that is similar to a business tie, but in a more formal fabric. Usually worn with a Stroller jacket, but can also be used with a Cutaway coat.
- French Cuff
- Double folded shirt cuff requiring cuff links.
- Full Dress
- The same as White Tie. Black Tails, black tuxedo pants, white pique wing tip shirt, white pique tie and vest, and formal shoes.
- Nylon, one size fits all. White gloves are worn with "Full Dress" or "White Tie" attire.
- Lay down Shirt
- Tuxedo shirt with regular collar and pleated front. The collar is similar to a business style dress shirt.
- Notch Lapel
- Squared off to top collar making a "notch" effect on jacket.
- Peak Lapel
- Lapel points extend upward above bottom of top collar of jacket.
- A waffle texture in fabric.
- Pocket Square
- Hankie or piece of fabric put in breast pocket to accessorize the coat. Usually white or matches the tie and vest/cummerbund.
- Satin Fabric
- Soft, lustrous fabric, usually on top collar, lapels, pockets, buttons, and down outside seam of tuxedo pants. Many ties, cummerbunds, and vests are also made of satin. (Satin is a weave, not a fabric type)
- Often match accessories, sometimes matches the jacket. Worn over a jacket under the collar.
- Self Fabric
- Same fabric as jacket or pants. Usually refers to collar, pockets or waistband.
- Shawl Lapel
- Smooth collar and lapel that is a curved piece extending to the bottom of the lapel.
- Single Breasted
- The jacket usually has one to four buttons in front, and is worn unbuttoned.
- A daytime jacket with no satin. Worn for daytime weddings or daytime formal affairs. Usually worn with striped tuxedo pants.
- Worn instead of shirt buttons. Most shirts require three to four studs.
- Suspenders (Also called Braces)
- Adjustable, clip type suspenders are fastened onto front and back with a waistband clip. Button on suspenders are used with pants that have suspender buttons fastened in the waistband.
- Top Collar
- Collar of jacket that extends around the back of the neck from lapel to lapel.
- Top Hat
- Wool, felt, or all felt, flat topped, very formal hat usually accompanied with a matching cane. Black tie has no standard hat. If one is worn, it usually is a black homburg or trilby in winter; in summer, a straw boater is acceptable. Top hats are worn only with white tie and morning dress.
- Tuxedo Pants
- All formal tuxedo pants have satin stripes down the outside seam. Striped pants that are worn with a Cutaway or Stroller coat do not. A good pair of dress slacks, again preferably in a dark color like black or navy might do for some occassion. They will come in handy when you are going to an event that doesn't require a suit, but does require something nicer than khakis or jeans. Again, choose a medium weight wool since it long lasting, holds it shape well and is multi-seasonal. Rented tux trousers often come with adjustable waistbands, so they're practically one size fits all.
- Opening in back of jacket. Center vent is a coat with one vent in center of jacket. Side vent is a coat with two vents, one on each side of coat, and Non vented is a coat with no vents.
- Worn in place of cummerbund. Backless vests have front panels with adjustable back closures at neck and waist. Full back vests have front and back panels, and are fitted based on the individuals coat size. Vests are the way to go these days, since they're sophisticated, slimming, and come in a huge array of colors and patterns. Find vests with either a full back (better for the guy who'll take off his jacket halfway through the night), or backless, with just a strap around the lower back.
- The waist is dressed in either a waistcoat (vest) or a cummerbund (not both) when wearing a single-breasted coat. Usually, the waistcoat is low-cut, has a three-button stance, and matches the lapel's finish; though it once shared the suit's cloth.
- Wing Tip Shirt
- Formal shirt with tab (wing) collar and a pleated front. Tabs are usually worn behind the tie.
If worn, a wristwatch should be slender, plain, and elegant; alternatively, a pocket watch may be worn on the waistcoat. Traditionally, however, visible timepieces are not worn with formal (white tie) and semi-formal (black tie) evening dress, because timekeeping is not considered a priority.
A Classic Sweater
Nothing looks nicer on a man than a classic sweater. Choose your favorite style whether it be crew, v-neck or a cardigan--you can't go wrong if it's a flattering color and a good fit. They are particularly useful when going to a function where a suit is not appropriate such as a more casual first date. And let me tell you, nothing says hug me, touch me, squeeze me like a nice sweater.
Outerwear: In cold weather a conservatively-colored overcoat, black gloves, and a white silk scarf are worn. The "right" coat to wear with a tuxedo is a chesterfield topcoat. This is a grey herringbone coat with a black velvet collar. Alternatively, a black full length trench coat will also work. If you are interested, give us a call, we do carry both coats.
The Shirt is conventionally white or off-white (cotton, linen, silk) and its front either is cotton marcella (as in white tie) or pleated.
Before World War II, stiff shirts with separate wing collars were the norm. Today, semi-stiff shirts with attached wing collars are the U.S. norm; a shirt with a fold-down collar is the U.K. norm. The original, and most formal, version of the dress shirt usually fastens with matching shirt studs and cuff links. In lieu of studs, a buttoned shirt with either a fly-front placket or a French front (sans placket) is worn. Soft shirts have French cuffs, stiff shirts (as in white tie) have single cuffs fastened with cuff links.
The most formal choice and the style most often worn with tuxedo jackets, this stand-up collar has downward points.
This resembles a standard button-front shirt but folds over and around the neck with a wide division between points in front. The wider collar makes it a good choice with a Euro tie or a standard necktie tied Windsor style.
Mandarin collar, aka band collar
The most contemporary-style tuxedo shirt, this collar stands up around the neck, above the tux buttons. It's a little outdated (popular about five years ago) but good for the guy who hates a tie.
Have fun creating your own styles with different color formal accessories.