7 reasons to nail a Tuxedo this season

February 2, 2017 |

There is not a single woman who has watched the scene when James Bond arrives in his perfectly-fitted, body-hugging, macho-explosion tuxedo – and has not swooned. Believe us, gentlemen, there’s something about the Tux which changes the way women look at a man. And this season, you want to be that man. Indian men are often wary of Tuxedos since it seems like a far cry to nail the look. Let us help you out with a step-by-step assembling process.

Step#1- Figure out your body type: Almost everything pivots on selecting the tuxedo that flatters your body type and reflects your personal style. It makes a world of difference to the fitting of the Tuxedo when you are tall and lean or tall and well-built. The same goes for if you are shorter with a slender build or short and well-developed. If there are some features which make you self-conscious – your height or your weight for example, these will be the first things you take into consideration.

Step #2- Single-breasted or double-breasted jacket: This step is the centerpiece of the whole Tuxedo-saga – the item from which the whole outfit takes its name. A very basic description of a tuxedo jacket is a dinner jacket made of black or midnight blue wool, with no tail but with collars of black silk. Most Tuxedos are single-breasted, with a single button and that’s the one you want to go for. However, double-breasted jacket models are also acceptable. But how do you know which one’s better? Here’s what you can look out for:

  1. The Collars: For the most formal look, go for the peaked collar. That being said, a shawl collar is a close second. A shawl forms a continuous loop around the shoulders and the back of the neck.
  2. The Collar Finishing: We’ve often heard men shy away from certain fabrics, brushing them off either as too soft or too feminine. On the contrary, the correct fabric for the correct look is an intimate combination. Satin silk is one such fabric which accentuates the collars of the Tux. There is the alternate grosgrain fabric with its ribbed, subtler and less reflective texture too. We recommend satin.
  3. The Vents: Going stringently by tradition and the book of formal wear, vents on a Tuxedo could result in a less formal look, which is why an unvented jacket is preferred. However, with comfort and ease being non-negotiable for that perfect look and feel, double vents are allowed. Twin slits up the back provide easier pocket access, but a single vent is a strict no-no when trying to pull off a complete, formal look.
  4. The Buttons— Aha! Gentlemen…all buttons must match! You can choose to have them either plain black or covered in the same fabric as the collars of the Tux. Take special care that the sleeves have four touching buttons similar to a suit jacket.

Step #3- Staying spot-on with the Tuxedo shirt: There’s no two-ways about this guys – the shirt worn beneath a Tux is always, always just plain white. It is an evening shirt with a decorated rectangular panel that runs all the way up the front of the shirt. Some evening shirts have buttonholes on both edges, which are closed with decorative studs instead of buttons. Cuffs which fasten with cuff-links, often referred to as French cuffs, are the standard for semi-formal evening shirts. Make sure you choose either a wing collar or turn-down collar for the shirt. Avoid buttoned-down collars at all costs!

Step #4- Nailing the right waist covering: The waist covering serves an important function in preserving the streamlined effect of a good Tuxedo. There are two good options when considering waist coverings – a vest/evening waistcoat or a cummerbund. The formal waistcoat is the traditional option, with a low and wide cut, showing off the front of the formal shirt underneath it, with a small set of shawl collars. The pleated sash which wraps right around the waist is called a cummerbund and is made from the same silk as the jacket lapel facings. The waist covering makes up the awkward bunching up of the shirt where it tucks into the trousers. It also hides the awkward white triangle that would show up around the belly button when the coat is buttoned.

Step #5- Pairing the trousers: There’s only one word for the trousers which go well with Tuxedos: minimal. This means no cuffs, plain fronts and easily accessible pockets. To be perfectly coupled with the Tux, the trousers need to be of the same material. Ensure you get them tailored high-waist so that the essential waist covering sits well and comfortably over the waistband of the trousers. Get the hem of your trousers right, gentlemen. The last thing you want is a well thought-out tuxedo being underplayed by trousers huddling up around your ankles. What you ideally want is your trouser legs to rest with comfort and nonchalance just on the tops of your shoes.

Step #6- Shoe business: When looking for the perfect footwear for the Tuxedo outfit, you have two options: formal pumps or formal dress shoes. These formal shoes perfectly complement a tuxedo, but they are also expensive. Your next best option is a pair of highly-polished oxfords, which are also acceptable. Staying firm and not compromising on your footwear only ensures you put the right foot forward!

Step #7- Classic neck-wear:  Picking the correct bow-tie completes your ensemble to perfection. The color of your bow-tie of course needs to be black, and the material should match the jacket collar finishing. Do not use a pre-tied model! The bow-tie can either be tied butterfly, semi-butterfly, straight-end or pointed style and depends on your own preference.

And there you are! Seven straight and easy steps that help you pull together a rather suave and elegant look. While it may seem that the whole “Tuxedo” look is very strict and unbending, take it with a pinch of salt. Personal touches always help. If and when you swerve from the gold standard, do it with care and restraint. Remember, just one personal flair-touch stands out as a bold statement.