What are Different Types of Tuxedos?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A tuxedo is considered the height of men's formal wear, and while they are less common than they used to be, knowing about the different types of tuxedos can be helpful when a man plans to wear one. Different tuxedos are designed for different occasions, and it is important to be dressed appropriately when wearing formal wear. While tuxedos are most frequently associated with long black tailcoats, formal dress also includes a cummerbund, bow tie, and matching pants. Coordinating all the parts of the outfit will yield a smooth, polished look that is certain to impress.

A tuxedo.
A tuxedo.

Tuxedos fall into a number of basic categories. The first is the time of day during which the outfit will be worn, and the level of formality involved. Lapel styles also vary in different types of tuxedos, and depending on the level of formality, one style may be more appropriate than another. Single breasted tuxedos are more casual, while double breasted tuxedos are reserved for very formal occasions. The type of tails on the coat is also important to consider: some events require full tails, while others call for a more casual look.

If a man is attending an event before 4:00 PM, daytime tuxedos are appropriate. Tuxedos designed for day wear are usually in dark gray, and often have stripes as well. Black tuxedos are not to be worn during the day, as they are designed for formal evening events. Daytime outfits also usually lack full tails, and are single breasted with shawl or peak lapels. If a man have been invited to a daytime formal event and is unsure about what to wear, he should consult a salesperson who can guide him through the different types designed for day wear so that he can pick one that is suitable and flattering for his figure.

For evening events, different types of tuxedos are used depending on whether the event is ultraformal, calling for a black double breasted tuxedo with full tails, or simply formal. For white tie events, a man should plan on wearing the most formal tuxedo possible. For black tie optional, he should lean towards a more casual single breasted tuxedo with no tails. Given the large array of tuxedos for evening events, a man may want to consider consulting a specialist who can make sure that he looks his best.

Whether a man is buying or renting a tuxedo, it is better to lean in the conservative direction. While some tuxedos come in crazy colors or include silly cummerbunds, a man will probably feel more comfortable in a classic formal tuxedo. Especially in the instance of events that are going to be photographed for posterity, a stylish tuxedo goes a long way. Men should get a reliable and level headed friend to help them survey the different options and make an appropriate choice.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


Yeah, I agree with anon17445. Article not really useful.


Tailcoats are not tuxedos. Morning coats are not "daytime tuxedos." Single-breasted is slightly more formal than double-breasted, and tailcoats don't button at all.

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