top of page
  • Writer's pictureEleganceredefinedbysejal

Tuxedo - transforming ordinary into extraordinary...

Updated: Nov 10, 2019

To begin with:

Traditionally, in our country, there are very few black tie/formal events where a man has to dress up in a tuxedo. Hence I thought that with wedding season around the corner, I should put down some traditional and some not so traditional ways of wearing a tuxedo. Though by no means is it a “rule book” but it will definitely give you the list of which rules should not be broken and which rules can be broken in the name of fashion or a trend.


“Tuxedo” and/or “dinner jacket” refer to the formal evening jacket worn in many formal and semi-formal occasions. Usually it is a dress code for social functions like the "Black tie” event that starts after 6 p.m.

Tuxedo is not just a mere jacket. It is an expensive investment .Investment in the impeccable cut, sharp style, luxurious fabric and whole lot of accessories- the works if I may say so.

So what is a “tuxedo” exactly?

1.Black fitted dinner jacket with satin /silk/grosgrain facing lapels {def. at bottom}

2. Black trouser with satin/silk facing running from waist till the bottom on the outer seam.

3. White pleated shirt with french cuffs and with wing tipped collar /spread collar

4. Black studs {def. at bottom} for the shirt

5. Cuff links

6. Tie up black bow tie (same as the lapel fabric)

7. Cummerbund for a single breast suit

8. White silky /linen pocket square

9. Black socks (over the calf length)

10. Button or clip suspenders- white or black (optional)

11. Patent/ leather oxfords with lace

12.Classic watch with a leather strap

“Must list”’ to stitch a traditional classic tuxedo jacket:

1. It should be made with a luxurious fabric of silk and/or mohair.

2. A dinner jacket must have only one button ( and that button must always be fastened).

3. Four silk covered buttons on the cuff of the jacket.

4. The jacket should have three pockets, two on the hips and a breast pocket. The pockets should always be jetted. {def. at bottom}

5. Lapels can be peaked or shawl collar. They are made of satin/silk/grosgrain in black colour and usually matches the bow tie and the stripe facing on the trousers.

6. The width of the lapels depends on your body size. Slimmer ones for a slim fit tux and wider ones for a double breasted tux. Also slimmer lapels for a slim body and medium to wide ones for a hefty body. It should have a balanced look.

Tuxedo trousers:

They are traditionally made with a satin matching facing (stripe) same as the lapel running all the way down from the waist to the bottom.

Trousers should have no loops.

Suspenders can be used to keep the trouser in place.

The front of the trouser is flat or sometimes with a single pleat.

The trousers are not flared and neither skinny. They are little tapered and should end above your shoe with a slight break in the fold (just so that the socks are not seen).


Traditionally a more formal wing tipped collar or a spread collar

Fabric should be smooth and preferably pleated in front.

The sleeves should be half inch longer than the tuxedo sleeve so do wear beautiful cuff links.


They should be with button preferably but if not, you can use the clip ones. The colours to use are black for the black classic ones and white for the ivory ones.

As Robero Cavalli says, “In the evening every man looks the same. Like penguins. Women have a special dress for that event; men, the same tuxedo.”

Today fashion has become an Armour to survive. It has evolved and the classic rules are bent a bit to make dressing up a bit more unique, fun and individually identifiable.

Trendy yet sauve

“Follow the trend or progressive List” where rules are bent by an individual:

  • · Even under this list, for a young man, single breast jacket definitely (shows the V of the upper body), but if you’re a bit older carrying a few extra pounds around your middle, you can go for a double breasted one. In fact it can hide your stomach.

  • · Jacket can have two or three buttons (and only the first one needs to be fastened)

  • · White / ivory jackets have replaced the traditional black ones many a times but they are usually worn in tropical countries , on a cruise ,in day weddings or if you are 007!!.

  • · The jacket can be made in dark coloured fabric like the knight blues or even a burgundy or you can even sport a velvet jacket during cold winters.

  • · Gold, silver or onyx studs can be worn.

  • · Vest /waistcoat can be replaced with a cummerbund.

  • · White pleated shirt can be replaced with plain white shirt with spread/cut away collar. Most importantly, the collar needs to be perfect and crisp.

  • · White pocket square can be replaced with some print or colour as per your choice. Though it should still be subtle or centre piece if you feel so.

  • · The trousers can be made without the satin strip running down on the sides.

  • · Satin black bow tie can be replaced with a velvet black one. But still the tie up ones definitely.

I am still not convinced about different colour bow ties and suspenders unless you think you can carry it off.

Always remember:

"Trendy is the last stage before tacky." —Karl Lagerfeld

You have to be very sure about replacing the colour and style of the jacket and the accessories. Accessories can uplift an ordinary tuxedo but tacky accessories can also bring down an extra ordinary one.

Many a times , especially in a country like ours where we already have our own formal Nehru Jackets and Sherwanis, people do not possess a Tuxedo and truly so as it is not a mandatory dress code here.

Indian men tend to ask this question very often.

Can I wear a dark /black suit to a black tie event?

Before I answer ,do understand what is the difference between the two. Check out the image for your better understanding.

My answer to the question is yes you may do so where in you wear the darkest of the suits you possess. No browns, ivories or greys please. You are not replacing the tuxedo but it is an acceptable choice of an outfit if the question comes to the point where you decide you will not attend the event because of not having one!

Wear it with confidence. You can pair it with a black tie and a flat white pocket square to make it look more formal . But there is a catch to it... The wait staff of many events also are dressed in black suit and a black tie. It is totally up to you how you accessorize it with cuff links, pocket square, lapel pins, bows....

SAY NO to...

  • rentals please. It’s all in the fit after all....

  • loops on trousers

  • ready bows

  • notch lapels

  • linen or rough textured fabric

  • flares or skinny pants

  • slip ons , buckles or casual shoes

  • Bold prints on pocket squares

  • coloured ties

  • coloured socks

  • suspenders/braces in leather

To Conclude:

I would suggest that to begin with for the first timers, get a bespoke black shawl collar (satin) tuxedo with wide spread/cutaway collar with front pleated shirt stitched. This is a classic tuxedo and yet not the absolute formal one. The style is elegant and formal yet fashionable and trendy- never the one to go out of style.

Always remember, whatever you wear, it should be classy and sophisticated and worn with confidence. It need not be a Brioni or a Tom ford tuxedo. HugoBoss , Selfridges and House of Fraser sells them too.

In India, especially in metros like Mumbai and Delhi, there are lots of high and medium level couture designers for you. Code of dressing or tuxedo etiquette is relaxed as black tie formal occasions in our country demanding a tuxedo are rare. We tend to wear our Indian formal wear. You have to decide your comfort levels keeping in mind the check list for a great one. That is one rule you cannot flaunt.

You are unique and if you know the pointers for making one , than no one can stop you from being a show stopper!

Some of the videos and websites to help you.

Do learn to tie a bow tie and practice. Doing it on the D day is not a good idea!

Though personally not a fan of rentals, it all comes down to an individual and his body type and fit. I came across this site and it looks cool though haven’t had a chance to physically check it out.

All Images used are for reference purpose only.

wing tipped collar pleated shirt

Suspenders & bow tie


Cufflinks & studs


These images taken of accessories can be purchased online without making a hole in your pocket...

Definition for better understanding:

Grosgrain lapels: Fabric used in lapel is a type of wool/silk/mohair

Shirt studs: It is a fastener that fits in the buttonhole made of metal.

Jetted pocket: It is a slit in the facing of the jacket and pocket is not visible.

Facing on the lapel: Covering fabric on lapel

Mohair fabric: Exclusive, expensive, light weight wool or silk having lustre and sheen

In case of any questions or query, do not hesitate to get in touch.Hope you enjoy reading as much as I have enjoyed writing it .


bottom of page