Tuxedo vs Suit – What’s The Difference Between a Tuxedo And Suit?

Man Up and Add a Tuxedo to your wardrobe. Just find one you like and get it well-tailored to your own measurements – Paul Feig

tuxedo and suit difference

Source: Dapperechelon.weebly.com

In a tuxedo, I’m a star. In regular clothes, I’m a nobody – Dean Martin

A lot of jobs still have written guidelines for employee attire and in none of the written guidelines would you ever find it mentioned that a Tuxedo can be worn to the office.

So I was quite shocked when a colleague of mine walked into the office on a Monday morning wearing a Tuxedo. Perhaps, he had just come across Dean Martin’s quote and felt – “I don’t feel like a star anymore when I wear suits, let me switch to a Tuxedo for a change”.

Dean Martin was certainly one of the Most Stylish Men of the 1950s, but he would never endorse wearing a Tuxedo to the work place or for any formal event before 6 pm. Every stylish gentleman knows it’s too formal to be worn earlier in the day.

Out of shock, I asked him “Common! Bro… why are you wearing this today?

His response – “You mean this Tux? I wore it at a wedding last weekend, as I was the best man so I decided to repeat it today … don’t I look great in it?

…and so I responded…“Of ‘cos you look great in it, but you shouldn’t have worn it to the office

Now, a lot of people are aware of the clear difference between a Tuxedo and a Suit. By mere looking at the two outfits, it’s easy to spot the difference, however many are not aware of how and when it should be worn.

And that’s the purpose of today’s article. First of all, Tuxedos are not suits. Even though both involve jackets and trousers made from same material, these two outfits serve different purposes.



Here are the key differences between a Tuxedo and a Suit



tuxedo and suit difference

For Suit:  A suit comprises of a jacket and trousers made of the same fabric and designed to be worn together. There are two (2) major types of suits namely the single breasted suit and the double breasted suit.You can select any of the two types depending on your style preference as well as the occasion you need to wear it for. Suits are appropriate for daytime wear to the office and other business formal occasions.
You can refer to the 25 Suit Rules All Men Need To Know to know further about suits, how to buy and wear them.

For Tuxedo: A Tuxedo (also colloquially known as “Tux”) or dinner suit is a formal evening suit, distinguished primarily by satin or grosgrain facings on the jacket’s lapels, pockets, buttons and a similar stripe along the outer seam of the trousers. Unlike the suits, Tuxedos are recommendable for very few occasions. They can be worn for semi-formal events like social events, black tie events, weddings, dinner parties, and shouldn’t be worn in occasions that suits are required.



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For SuitSuits come in different colors such as navy blue, charcoal grey, light grey, black, brown, blue, beige etc. The choice of color usually depends on the place or occasion you are going to wear it. If you are looking for the right color to wear daily to the office or for your job interview then Navy Blue or Charcoal Gray is the best suit colors.



For TuxedoMost tuxedos are made in either black or midnight blue. These two are considered the most classic Tuxedo colors. The White Tuxedo which was very famous in the 60s over time became less common than the black or mid night blue. These Ivory tuxedoes are preferred choice over the white tuxedo.



tuxedo and suit difference

The jacket lapels can come in 3 styles namely Shawl Collar, Peak and Notch Lapel. 

For SuitThe suit lapel is made with same material as the rest of the jacket. The notch lapel is the most common lapel style for the suit. Though the double breasted suit can come in peak lapel style. The suit should never come in Shawl Lapel Style.

For TuxedoThe Tuxedo lapel is made from either satin or grosgrain silk material. The shawl lapel is the recommended lapel style for a Tuxedo, though it can come in peak lapel style.

To learn more about Jacket Lapel Styles, read this – SUIT LAPEL TYPES | SHAWL LAPEL VS PEAK LAPEL VS NOTCH LAPEL



For Suit: The buttons of a suit are made of plastic or horn and in some cases, they are covered with the same fabric used to make the suit. The suit jacket may feature 1, 2 or 3 buttons.

For TuxedoThe tuxedo usually features a single button covered with the satin which is similar to the satin or grosgrain facings on the jacket’s lapel.



Tuxedo Pockets

Flap pocket is usually the default pocket style for most suits. Tuxedo jackets usually feature jetted pockets – this is the most classic pocket style for formal suits. These days flap pockets are appearing on tuxedos although the edges of these pockets are usually besomed which means that the flap can be tucked in or removed in order to create a more formal look deserving of a classic tuxedo.
Another clear distinction is that the pocket of the tuxedo jacket usually has a satin trimming unlike that of the Suit jacket.



tuxedo and suit difference

For suits, they can be worn with different types, styles, and colors of the pocket square while for Tuxedo you should only wear them with the classic plain white pocket square (for black tuxedos) and black pocket square for White or Ivory Tuxedos.

ALSO READ: The Power Of A Pocket Square | 7 Easy Ways To Fold A Pocket Square






Suits are usually worn with neck ties while Tuxedos are worn with only bow ties.

Also Read: 10 Tie Rules All Men Need To Know

For suits, you can only use a waist coat to cover your waist whereas when wearing Tuxedo you can either use a waist coat or a cummerbund. The cummerbund is usually made with the similar fabric used in the bow-tie.



For Suit: Suits are to be worn with leather shoes which can come in a number of styles such as Oxfords, Brogues, Monk-strap or any other style of shoes that can complement your suit.

For Tuxedo: When wearing Tuxedo you should stick to a black patent leather Oxfords shoes or Pumps with a satin or silk bow on the top. No Brogues, No Monk-strap, it’s not the time to show off shoe styles.

Also Read: The 3 Shoes Every Gentleman Must Have



Tuxedo versus Suit Shirt

For suits: You should wear plain, checked or striped long sleeve shirts and it could either come in the French cuff or barrel cuff style. The collar style could be any of the variations of style excluding the wing collar style. Your shirt should complement with your suit and tie.

For Tuxedo: You should stick to white pleated, plain or piqué/Marcela shirt. A turn-down collar or a wing collar can be worn depending on the occasion. If you are wearing the pleated white shirt, ensure it is tight and neat and doesn’t bulge out in front. Either a fly front (concealed buttons) or French placket (buttons on the show) or the common white button-up shirt (with studs) is acceptable. It must be French cuff (also known as double cuff) and should be worn with simple but elegant cuff links – black, white or silver.

Also Read: How to Match Your Tie to Your Suits and Shirts



For suit: The trouser is made with the same materials as the jacket without any satin on the side. It can either come with belt loops (so that belts can be worn) or suspenders buttons (sewed in) and with side adjustment tabs.

For Tuxedo: One key feature of Tuxedo trousers is the presence of a satin stripe which runs through the outer sides of the trousers.  Even though, a black tuxedo jacket paired with accompanying trousers is a perfect example of a sleek and timeless style. Tuxedo jackets and pants don’t always need to match especially for non-black tie events. You can go for normal formal trousers that would contrast with the tuxedo jacket, for instance, an Ivory Tuxedo Jacket and normal black trousers.

Wearing a belt is not traditional for tuxedo pants so it usually features a side adjuster instead of belt loops. And in some cases has the suspenders buttons (sewed in). When wearing with suspenders or braces, you should use classic black color.



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Tuxedo Dress Watch

Dress Wrist Watch under a French Cuff Shirt with Cufflink

For SuitsYou can literally wear any type of wrist watch except for Sports watch or rubber wrist watches. A classy wristwatch either in a leather or a chain watch is fine. You can also add a couple of bracelets depending on the occasion.

For TuxedoYou should only wear a Dress Watch – A thin dress watch or evening watch that will sit down on your sleeves comfortably.

READ: How To Match A Watch To Your Outfit.




Thanks for taking your time to read this. If this article has revealed a bunch of things you didn’t know before, please leave a reply below as I’d love to hear from you. For any comments, contributions or inquiries, you may use the Contact Form.

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Till you hear from me again, Stay Classy!

Yours in Style,

Kobi O. Mbagwu (Mr. Kobi)
Founder, MrKoachman.com
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Mr. Kobi

I am Mr. Kobi, a professional style consultant, menswear blogger & entrepreneur who uses fashion to change people’s lives. My personal goal is to help gentlemen dress better, live well, do well and develop a unique personal style that matches with their lifestyle and goals. I believe that success can be built through style. I believe that fashion is a tool that can be used to change people’s lives positively. I strongly believe that if you dress well, you look good, and if you look good, you feel good and when you feel good, you worry less, and the less you worry the more you are able to stay motivated and focused in your goals pursuit and by so doing you are able to live a more fulfilling and successful life.