What's the Difference Between a Tuxedo and a Suit?


What is the difference between a tuxedo and a suit? It is a question we are asked consistently, and we are more than happy to shed some light on this topic.

The basic answer of the difference between a suit and a tuxedo is satin (aka the shiny fabric). A tuxedo will have satin on the lapel of the jacket, as well as a satin lining on the side of the trousers. More detailed differences are: tuxedo pants do not have belt loops, as well as the jacket will have cloth covered, usually satin, buttons. Check out one of our favorite customer weddings below, they went with a simple black tuxedo with a shawl lapel and black bow ties. This is a classic black tie look, you can see the lapel has a satin shine to it, that really creates an elegant sophisticated look.


Get the look: Black Shawl Lapel Tuxedo by Savvi Formalwear and see the rest of this Dramatic Santa Ana Wedding here

A suit will have a more casual look- due to the lack of satin accents. Now, do not be afraid of the word "casual" we do not mean this to sound simple or boring at all! A suit at times can be a better base for fun accessories, unlike the traditional tuxedo. A suit is made out of all the same material, as well as the buttons will be acrylic or non-covered. What we love about our customers' California Cool wedding style is how they paired their blue suits with fun floral ties. Suit trousers will also have the option for a belt, unlike the tuxedos, which will come in handy for knowing the differences between suit and tuxedo accessories.


Get the look: Cobalt Notch Lapel Suit by Allure Men

Now for accessories- the shirt and the shoes:

Suit vs. tuxedo accessory rules have become very blurred throughout the years. It used to be very black and white: with a tux you wore a pleated shirt with a black bow tie, along with traditional studs + cuff links, where a suit was with a non-pleated shirt and tie. Those hard lined rules are no more, you are allowed to have fun with your accessories no matter what you are thinking of wearing. There are somethings to keep in mind though:
For a tuxedo, make sure your accessories fit the elegance of what you are wearing. An easy way to do this is by your neckwear: a bow tie always fancies a look up a bit. Yet, if you are like Cody (picture one) and do not want to wear a bow tie, allow your tie to still have a satin finish to it. That way no matter what shirt you are wearing, white or monochrome black like shown, your tie will still look upscale and shine next to the lapel of the jacket. Another think to be reminded of are your studs + cuff links. As you can see on our dapper grooms, Vance and John, studs will dress up a shirt and the entire look very easily.
Note that none of these amazingly styled grooms are wearing belts...belts + tuxedos = NO.


Get the looks: Black Shawl Lapel Tuxedo by Savvi Formalwear + Charcoal Shawl Lapel Tuxedo by Michael Kors + Navy Shawl Lapel Tuxedo by Savvi Formalwear

When it comes to suit accessories you pretty much have full reign on what you want to do. One of our favorite trends that is sweeping the wedding industry is mix-and-match: as you can see our groom Chris is rocking the grey vest with dark blue suit jacket. You can also ditch the vest and match up your suit with a pair of suspenders, we are loving the tan leather suspenders Matt wore for his big day. As for neckwear, anything goes. It really just depends on your wedding theme and style what you eventually go with. Son paired his charcoal suit with a red long tie and brown shoes. We absolutely love mixing our neutrals like navy or grey suits with brown shoes.


Get the looks: Charcoal Grey Slim Fit Suit by Midnight Blue + Dark Blue Modern Fit Suit by Midnight Blue

Last but not least we come to the shoes:

There are not too harsh of rules when it comes to shoes. When wearing a tuxedo you most likely will wear a patent-leather or "shiny" shoe. This is to match the shine of the lapel on the coat and pants. Yet, if you do not like the shine- opt-in for a fancier leather shoe like our black oxfords like our groom, Brian. He paired his tuxedo with the leather shoes while his groomsmen rocked their suits with brown shoes. When wearing a suit you NEVER want to wear shoes that look more luxurious than the material of the pant. This will clash and cause the attire to look awkward and lack-luster. See how Brian played with these rules to create a cohesive bridal party look, that also makes him stand out as the groom.


P.S. Don't forget to bring in some personal flare with your socks. When the photographer tells you to do the 'Captain Morgan' pose, you don't want to be caught with boring socks.


So there you have it, the basics for styling a suit vs. tuxedo that will help you get through any occasion. If you are still unsure of what you should wear for anything: black tie event, wedding, interview- what have you, we will be happy to help. Stop into any of our locations to get one-on-one fashion expertise with any of our certified stylists. Or you can also comment on our Instagram and we will be happy to help you with any of your styling dilemmas!