What is a Tuxedo Jacket?

Diane Goettel

The term "tuxedo jacket" can be used to describe a jacket that is part of an entire formal wear ensemble or an appropriated formal wear item that is used in trend fashion for more casual purposes. In its most classic form, a tuxedo jacket is worn with matching pants, a white shirt, and a black bow tie. The suit material is entirely black but the lapels of the jacket are often made out of a material that has a glossy or shiny finish. There are some tuxedos that come in colors other than black, some of which are often patterned. These tuxedos are usually worn by people who have a very bold fashion sensibility or are trying to make a fashion statement.

A modern approach to the tuxedo jacket dispenses with the conventional bow tie, or a tie altogether.
A modern approach to the tuxedo jacket dispenses with the conventional bow tie, or a tie altogether.

The most common variations to the traditional tuxedo jacket have to do with the length of the jacket and the type of fabric that is used. There is a range of tuxedo jacket lengths, one of the most dramatic being a jacket with tails. A tuxedo jacket that is made with tails is very short in the front, having a bottom edge that meets the waistline or top of the pants. The tails, however, make up a much longer section in the back of the garment that can reach nearly to the back of the knees.

A tuxedo.
A tuxedo.

The tuxedo is an ensemble that is traditionally worn by men. The entire tuxedo, as well as some its components, have been redesigned for applications in women's wear. There are tuxedo-like suits that are designed for women. This type of suit often incorporates a tuxedo jacket that is very similar to the kind of jacket worn as part of a man's tuxedo. There are also versions of the tuxedo jacket that are designed for casual wear that can even be coupled with jeans and t-shirts.

The interpretations of the tuxedo jacket for women's wear and for casual wear for both men and women often play with color. Instead of being entirely black, this kind of tuxedo jacket might have black lapels and a white body. The jacket may be created in a solid bold color, such as turquoise or magenta or even a pattern such as zebra. There are also variations in the garment's shoulders, especially in tuxedo jackets that are made for women. In some cases, these versions of the jacket have padded shoulders.

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