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Friday, December 30, 2022

Suggestions for a New Tuxedo?

A reader question:

Dear Editor,

May I pose a question for the community? I have a black tie event coming up in a few months and will be having a new tuxedo made for it. Any suggestions for my tailor, e.g., notch, peak or shawl lapel? Black or midnight blue? Many thanks!


33 comments:

  1. Peak feels more formal to me, notch less formal, shawl in between and maybe more of a fashion statement. I would only do black.

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  2. If I may venture a personal opinion, the best-looking tuxedo is midnight blue double-breasted with matching grosgrain lapels, no pocket flaps and no vents. No need for waistcoat or cummerbund.

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  3. I wear a shawl lapel because I like a relaxed look and feel in a dinner jacket. Please, no wing-collar shirts with that. No cummerbund needed. Midnight blue would be fine, as long as it really is a midnight blue and not navy. It should be dark enough that it is not too obviously blue. Done correctly, it will look blacker than black in the sort of lighting one encounters in theater lobbies, for instance.

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    1. RTW/OTR midnight blue is almost impossible to find so it's a bespoke or MTO option for those can afford it. For a single breasted dinner jackets, I'd recommend a waistcoat/vest rather than a cummerbund. Braces/suspenders are underwear and should not be visible under a jacket.

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  4. Evening clothes are black and white, and a cummerbund is correct.

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    1. Waistcoats are correct and more stylish than cummerbunds - https://www.buddshirts.co.uk/dresswear/waistcoats.

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    2. Waistcoats are certainly fussier and more theatrical than cummerbunds, I'll give you that, but there didn't see to be any sense, from this commenter, that he wanted to be the centre of attention at this event.

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  5. I think a shawl collar is best. Wearing a pink or white OCBD with a tuxedo is New England prep style.

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    1. Maybe for a 16-year old...?

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    2. what about shoes for OCBD?

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    3. This is as bad an idea as the Texas Tuxedo of jeans, black boots (something fancy, like quill ostrich or crocodile), and proper evening wear from the waist up, stopping at the eyebrows, topped by a Stetson.

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  6. 20 years ago I bought a black shawl collar evening jacket and two pair of trousers from Brooks Brothers. It has served me very well and will for another 20 I expect, for as often as I wear it.

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  7. Sean Connery, shawl lapel, James Bond. B2 & braces has served me well for 40 years. Consider narrow & butterfly bowtie widths.

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  8. I am of the belief that either peak or shawl is fine. Black is the color. It is important for the collar facing and the tie to have similar finishes. Grosgrain or faille with satin just looks wrong. A cummerbund is required unless a vest is worn. Do not forget correct footwear. Patent pumps can be instruments of torture, but there are plenty of other options. Even black velvet can be had on Amazon at around $60, but please do not get them with gaudy embroidery unless you are prepared for some odd looks. There are some lovely dinner jackets and suits to be found online on sites like Etsy. I snagged a 1960s shawl collar jacket from the Georgetown University Shop, made in the 1960s and in perfect condition. Lastly, and this may well be a breach, but I find a soft, ironed, pleated shirt makes for a better time than does a starched shirt.

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    1. Upon further reflection I wanted to clarify one point. I know that the OP is using a tailor, and I suggested RTW. RTW is a fundamental value in the trad/ivy/prep world. Also, I assume many readers are looking for themselves as well as to help the OP. Happy New Year.

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  9. Black, single-breasted, peaked lapels, ventless, no pocket flaps. The idea is not to stand out. If you're mistaken for a waiter then you're doing it right. And no wristwatch.

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    1. "If you're mistaken for a waiter then you're doing it right". That sums it up perfectly.

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  10. Notched lapels are inappropriate for tuxedos.

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  11. Like King Charles, I have a double-breasted dinner jacket - https://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2016/12/06/21/3B1C25A400000578-4006924-Prince_Charles_looked_dashing_in_a_formal_tux_as_he_arrived_at_t-a-112_1481059333554.jpg. In Scotland, I wear a kilt with a Prince Charlie jacket for formal events. My velvet smoking jacket, also double breasted, and tartan trews are perfect for parties.

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  12. Mine is black, shawl lapel, from J. Press, with a white pleated formal shirt. For shoes, I alternate between an old pair of black patent leather Gucci bit loafers and black patent leather Prada drivers, which are as comfortable as can be, especially if you're going to be on your feet for hours. Keep in mind that a tuxedo is, in most cases, party-wear: be relaxed.

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    1. Driving shoes or bit loafers with a tuxedo? I think not. If relaxed and comfort is your objective, why not just wear black sneakers.

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    2. Gucci loafers? Driving shoes? Black sneakers? Why are you bothering with a tuxedo at all? Just order a "relaxed" cheap black suit from Amazon and be done with it.

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  13. I used to wear tuxedos, and the best I ever bought was from brooks brothers. I also liked their plaid (real) bowties with matching cummerbund. I think notch or shawl collar is fine. What I detest are satin neckties. Please wear a bowtie!

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  14. Black, shawl, also J. Press. A proven winner!

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  15. Hear, hear for Anonymous and the Jan 2 11:20 am comment about a cheap black suit. It seems that the point of evening dress is to set a standard of dress for the event the hosts have invited you to. To dress differently is to disrespect the host. Had an attendee at my wedding walk up to me in my morning suit and explain his lack of appropriate dress as “It’s just a wedding.”

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  16. The peak lapel is a sound choice for the wearer who wishes to appear taller or slimmer. Also, a peak lapel is the correct one for double-breasted jacket. Otherwise, a dinner jacket presents that rare opportunity to sport a shawl lapel.

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  17. Midnight blue. There are so many shades of black; if you have to switch in a different piece, blue-black is much more forgiving. Personal choice: shawl collar - I've never seen anyone look bad in one.

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  18. So here's a question... Cummerbund, or no cummerbund?

    I am 6'2 with a 33 waist so while I don't like a cummerbund, my waist is slim so it doesn't look like the cummerbund is hold my stomach back from bursting from my coat. Those gentlemen with a generous avoirdupois in a cummerbund, well, restraint is the word of the day, it would appear.

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    1. Ha! Guess they're no getting around ... well, I take your point; however, some of us have been raised with the idea that a cummerbund is slimming. Another point in its favor is that a cummerbund is cooler to wear than a vest. Although it's, arguably, a take-or-leave-it element of formal attire, I'm partial to notion that all working parts (buttons, zippers, etc) of a dinner suit are meant to be concealed, which a cummerbund accomplishes.

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