The Guide: Tuxedos
No other item in the classic men’s wardrobe is so shrouded in mystery as the tuxedo. It’s not that tuxedos are obscure—nearly everyone’s seen a James Bond flick or attended a prom—but there seem to be so many rules.
However, the tuxedo code is easy to break. There are a few basics rules to follow: your bowtie and shoes should be black, and your shirt should be white. The pockets should be jetted, and the lapels either peak or shawl. All this helps make a tux (and you) look as sleek as possible—which is precisely the goal.
The Black Tuxedo
When an invitation specifies “black tie,” this is your safest best. But “safe” doesn't equal boring: the black tux is a classic for a reason. The stark black-and-white effect it creates is sharp and elegant, and its satin buttons and lapels set it apart from black suits. While it’s best to keep this ensemble simple—black tie, black shoes, etc—you can make your mark by adding a black vest to the mix, turning it into a three-piece.
The Mid-Navy Tuxedo
The Mid-Navy Tuxedo, first popularized in the 1930s by the Duke of Windsor, receives a modern edge from its dark blue hue. The shade pops in a room of black-and-whites, but remains sharp enough to meet the dress code. The jacket pictured above has shawl lapels, a rounded alternative to the peak lapel that recalls the more relaxed styling of a smoking jacket.
The Dinner Jacket
Not technically a tuxedo, the dinner jacket is a sharp piece of evening wear that works for all but the strictest of black tie situations. Its slightly less formal nature makes it easier to wear at events calling for evening wear, too.
The white dinner jacket is a classic way to take on black tie in summer. Pair it with black or midnight navy tuxedo trousers to complete the look. In that way, it’s a great companion piece to any tuxedo you may already own.