15 Tuxedo Facts You Didn’t Know

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Tuxe­dos are the epit­o­me of ele­gance in the menswear depart­ment, but I bet you didn’t know all this about our favorite dap­per look:

1. The Mer­ri­am-Web­ster Dic­tio­nary even­tu­al­ly includ­ed the alter­nate spelling “cum­ber­bund” because the cor­rect term, “cum­mer­bund,” was so fre­quent­ly mis­spelled and mis­pro­nounced.

2. Accord­ing to a sur­vey by Tie-a-Tie.net of almost 9,000 men, the per­cent­age that knows how to tie a bowtie is … 1. So if you’re skilled in this art, you’re way ahead of the curve.

3. One of the rea­sons to wear a pock­et square? To attract the eye to the chest and away from the stom­ach. As if you need­ed anoth­er rea­son to add one to your out­fit.

4. Studs and cuf­flinks rose in pop­u­lar­i­ty in the 1840s because increas­ing­ly fash­ion­able starched shirt­fronts were tough to but­ton.

groom and groomsmen in black tuxedos

5. Per­haps the three most famous wear­ers of red bowties are Orville Reden­bach­er, Pee-Wee Her­man and Dr. Seuss.

6. Jacob & Co. sells a pair of cuf­flinks for just under $4.2 mil­lion. Their Emer­ald-Cut Canary Dia­mond Octa­gon cuf­flinks are made from 18-carat white gold; a cen­ter­piece of 20-carat and 21-carat canary yel­low dia­monds; and set off by 10.76 carats of white dia­mond baguettes. Enjoy.

7. A guid­ing prin­ci­ple of the tuxe­do is that it’s oth­er­wise vis­i­ble “work­ing parts” be con­cealed or dec­o­rat­ed. Hence, but­tons are satin-faced; shirt but­tons make way for studs and cuf­flinks; and the trouser’s out­er seams are faced with a satin stripe—so that it looks, lit­er­al­ly, “seam­less.”

8. There’s an entire book devot­ed to the lapel flower: The Bou­ton­niere: Style in One’s Lapel.

9. Tuxe­do trousers do not have belt loops.

10. Cum­mer­bunds should be worn with the pleats fac­ing up—yes, where they might pos­si­bly catch the occa­sion­al crumb.

11. The black tuxe­do shoe is gen­er­al­ly made from one of three mate­ri­als: patent leather, smooth calf or cow, or vel­vet.

picture of man wearing a tuxedo with a green boutonniere flower set

12. The most oft-worn tux bowtie is made of satin and of “but­ter­fly” shape.

13. The high gloss of the tux shoe is meant to set off the entire outfit’s silk fac­ings and bring out the over­all con­trast in tex­tures.

14. Sus­penders are rec­om­mend­ed when wear­ing a tuxe­do … unless you real­ly don’t need them to keep the pants up, in which case you may drop them. The sus­penders, that is.

15. The bowtie or bowtie shape is part of the cor­po­rate logo of Bud­weis­er, Chevro­let, KFC, Pringles and, of course, Play­boy.

The more you know. Now, put that knowl­edge to good use and wear a tux to your next big event.

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