What's the difference between a tuxedo and a dark suit?

Something I was wondering while watching clips from the Emmys last night: most of the men no longer wear the classic tuxedo with black bowtie and fabric covered buttons (Ed Helms being an exception) but dress more like Jim Parsons or Bryan Cranston with more everyday ties and less “wedding like” suits, but some of these are still called tuxedoes in the writeups. It’s the same with the Oscars and other formal occasions. I’m sure that they cost several thousand dollars and were tailor fitted and have names with lots of vowels on the inside that mean something to people who know about fashion, but to me they just look like dark suits (though admittedly nice ones).

So, the title asks it all: what’s the difference between a tuxedo and a dark suit?

Hard to tell from the front views, but do they have tails?

Not much that I could tell, really, last time I wore one, about 13 years ago. I think the real difference is:

  1. The pants have the silk stripe down the side.
  2. Cummerbund or Fake vest.
  3. High gloss, dorky shoes.
  4. Studs and bow tie.

Which tells us that the tux, proper, is just the striped pants.

Best wishes,

Tuxes don’t have tails.

The lapels.

No cuffs or belt loops on the pants.

Turn-down collar on the shirt, worn with a bow tie.

Vest or cummerbund.

Anything else is just a dark suit.

The tuxedo or dinner jacket is a semi-formal manner of dress that differs from an ordinary business or lounge suit in the following manner:
[li]A dinner jacket is either black/midnight blue (metropolitan) or cream-colored (tropical) without pattern or variegation, no vent, single or double breasted, with one to three button closures, and has a silk-faced lapel (peak or shawl is typical, although the notched lapel common with lounge suits has become accepted)[/li][li]The pants should have a plain or silk waistband with no belt loops, suspended with black or white braces, have a single silk stripe down the outside leg, and no cuffs[/li][li]A black cummerbund or low-cut waistcoat is worn with the jacket[/li][li]A black bow tie is worn (a colored or patterned tie can be worn as a less formal option if it matches the cummerbund or waistcoat)[/li][li]It should be worn with a plain white shirt with a pleated marcella or plain front, with a pointed collar (wing and tie-less mandarin collars are common but less formal)[/li][li]The shirt can be fastened with either studs or buttons, but should have french cuffs, and the cufflinks should match other hardware in color (braces, studs, and watch)[/li][li]Black patent leather shoes should be worn w/out spats[/li][/ul]

Colors shirts, ruffled fronts, different colors and fabric patterns, et cetera, while sometimes worn in the style and manner as a tuxedo are not considered formal and are not appropriate for ‘black tie only’ invitations.

Although the dinner jacket is considered as the height for formality for modern audiences short of state affairs (and thus, an object for subversion by contravening the conventions of black tie in an attempt to look hip), it was really considered to be the base level of formality in dinner wear by 19th and early 20th century, where it was a more casual alternative to tailcoats and other formal white tie gear.

The American term tuxedo has always been a somewhat nebulous term, encompassing all manner of men’s formal wear, so it difficult to say that they aren’t wearing what would be considered a dinner jacket as described above, though their rigs certainly wouldn’t considered as black tie by any stretch of the imagination.


My two do. They also have sharp teeth and big claws.


Never mind.

About $300 :smiley:

You’re thinking of Tusked Frogs I think. They don’t usually have teeth and claws but you can special order them as accessories.

I dont care for the modern tuxes that look like suits. I think it cheapens the event.

The stripe.

Anybody watch the Emmys last night? Seems like any non-black tux jacket is now industry code for “I have teh ghey.”

(Exception that proves the rule: Jimmy Fallon, who spent most of the event in black anyway.)

The dead giveaway is the stripe on the pants. Other than that, there are a lot of stylistic choices that can go either way.

If you’re REALLY formal, you’re wearing a morning coat.

Not after 5 o’clock.

(bolding mine)

Not in place of a tux - the clue’s in the name. Morning dress is day wear that Brits wear to weddings and posh racing events. The really formal equivalent of a tux is white tie. Maybe this is a cultural difference - Brits wouldn’t wear a tux (known here as ‘black tie’) to a daytime wedding.

Morning dress vs white tie

There are evening weddings in America?

Certainly there are. I used to do wedding photography and had wedding times from late morning to 7-8 in the evening. It’s sometimes an issue of when the venue will be available, or just personal preference. The one’s I hated were a late morning wedding with a evening reception. Not much for a photographer to do between 1 PM and 6 PM in a small town.

A wedding starting in the evening is rare, but a wedding that doesn’t last until the evening is also rare.

I’ve been to 26 weddings and every single one has kicked off between 2 and 5 o’clock.

Not to mention its poor cousin the Tennessee Tuxedo.