Tuxedo vs Suit: The Differences Explained

by | Mar 31, 2020 | Suiting 101

You have been invited to a formal dinner party and you are not sure whether you should wear a tuxedo or a suit. In this article, we will explain the differences between the two to help you decide which one is the best for your occasion.


The use of tuxedo started back in 1865 in England. Back then, The Prince of Wales would wear this attire during the formal dinner which then the term “dinner jacket” came about. In 1886, American millionaire who were introduced to the Price of Wales ensembled the dinner jacket and wore it to the ball in Tuxedo Park in New York. Since then, tuxedo became popular for formal occasions. Today, tuxedo is still regarded as a form of formal attire that is reserved for a very special events such as weddings, balls and other black-tie events. Suit on the other hand, got famous after the war around 1940s where people wanted to be more relaxed. Until today, men wear suits for the less formal events than a black-tie or white-tie events.

Now that we know a little bit of the history, let’s look closer at physical differences between tuxedo and suit.

Tuxedo vs Suit: The Differences

The major physical difference between a tuxedo and a suit is the presence of satin. Traditionally, tuxedo is worn with satin lapels, satin buttons and satin side-stripe that run down on each side of the pants. In contrast, suit’s jacket and suit’s pants are tailored with the same exact material.


Although tuxedo changed over the years and you may see a thinner satin lapel, tuxedo has certain characteristics that stay the same. In term of dress shirt, you can only wear white shirt with a wing collar or a turndown collar. Bowtie is used instead of long necktie when wearing tuxedo. Other accessories such cummerbund, vests and suspenders are also worn with the tuxedo. Shoes are quite restricted to black patent shoes which mark the formality of the tuxedo.


Suit, in general, has a lot more freedom. The shirt underneath the jacket can come in various different colors and materials. You can also choose with dress shirt with pattern which will give a nice contrast to your suit. Tie is optional but if you want to wear them, suit will look great with either long necktie or bowtie. Due to its versatility, suit can be worn with many different accessories. You can check out our previous blog “Suit Accessories to Add to Your Wardrobe” where you can see all the different accessories that can be pair with your suit to give it a little more character.

In term of usage, we have mentioned earlier that tuxedos were design for dinner party, they are remained to be worn exclusively in the evening events only. However, suits are perfect for any time of day. You can wear them in the daytime and evening time at any kind of occasions from wedding, office wear, business meeting to night at the bar.

Choosing between to wear tuxedo or suit will depend on the events you are attending. Take a look at the invitation and see if the host require a black-tie attire. If so, tuxedo is your only option. If it indicates formal, cocktail or casual wear, you should opt for suit to show off your personality.

Interesting Read: How to match different patterns

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