Suit vs. Tuxedo: the Ultimate Guide

https://i0.wp.com/gentux.blog/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/blog-suit-vs-tux-header.jpg?fit=1056%2C540&ssl=1

So, the age-old question has arisen again. What is the difference between a suit and a tuxedo? Sure, we all know that it’s the extra bit of polish that sets a tuxedo apart from a suit, but what does that mean? What are the specifics? Why are tuxedos so much fancier than a suit?

We’re here to spell it out for you and answer any questions you could possibly have on the matter. Pay close attention to the rules section, too. These are very important when it comes to pulling off a tux.

groom and groomsmen in blue suits

What’s the difference between a suit and a tuxedo?

One of the biggest factors is satin.

Tuxedos use satin in their design where suits do not. Tuxedo pants may include a satin strip down the sides and tuxedo jackets often have satin-covered buttons and a satin lapel. It’s the addition of that satin that really boosts a suit up to a tux. It adds that extra sheen, but accessories really do the heavy lifting. A completed tuxedo ensemble usually includes shirt studs, cufflinks, glossy shoes, a bow tie, suspenders, and a cummerbund or vest. 

While it’s true that a tuxedo ensemble can include some of these things, it will generally be only one or two off this list. Here’s why:

  1. Shirt studs are only used on tuxedos. These are inserted into a tux shirt above the buttons and used to fasten a shirt instead of said button. 
  2. Cufflinks are used for more formal affairs. While it is possible to wear cufflinks with a suit, as long as the shirt has the right holes in the cuffs, cufflinks are most often found with tuxedos. 
  3. Glossy shoes are only worn with tuxedos, while matte shoes can technically be worn with either a tux or a suit.
  4. A bow tie should be worn with a tux instead of a long tie to show off the shirt studs, but you may opt for a long tie instead. Either tie may be worn with a suit, but where a tuxedo tie may stick to colors like black or white, ties with suits can be any number of colors and patterns.
  5. Suspenders can be worn with tux pants, if you are in need of the extra support, but belts are never ever worn with tux pants.
  6. Vests may be worn with suits or tuxedos, but a cummerbund should only be worn with a tux.
bride and groom in black tuxedo kissing in field

Formal Follows Function

So, we know that tuxedos are indeed more formal than your average suit and now we know that this can mostly be attributed to the satin details and other flourishes. But what else? When are you supposed to wear a tuxedo or suit?

Tuxedos are meant for those black-tie affairs—wedding or otherwise. Think charity gala, red carpet premiere, etc. Of course, all of us lower tier folk may never actually go to an event like those, that doesn’t mean we can’t be runway ready for a top-class wedding or other events.

Tuxedos make great wedding attire for two reasons: 1) when are you ever going to have this opportunity again and 2) they look phenomenal. Tuxedos pair excellently with her elegant wedding gown. Yes, I said “gown” on purpose. The menswear should always match the bride in style. So if she’s wearing a princess ballgown or chic satin look, then it’s time for the tux to shine.

And if you’re getting funeral vibes instead of James Bond vibes (which, please, definitely not), then you don’t have to stick to just black with tuxedos. A white tux jacket is ultra classy and blue or gray adds an extra modern flair.

While suits aren’t quite as fancy as tuxedos, that doesn’t mean they’re drab. If you have the chance to go tux, by all means, do it, but sometimes that’s just not your style. Again, your suit needs to match the bride’s style. If she’s not wearing something prim and proper, neither should you. Suits are great options for romantic and traditional styled weddings or fun and bohemian weddings. The possibilities are endless.

Suits also come in more color options than tuxedos for a whole range of style options. Classic navy is a staple for menswear and sharkskin gray is both refined and fun. You can always find something for you and your partner’s style with a suit. Plus, with fewer add-ons and rules, suits are a little easier to pull off.

groom in gray tuxedo and groomsmen in gray suits

Whether you go with a suit or a tuxedo for your big day is completely up to you and your partner. Just know that either way, you are going to look great. And we can help.

With an easy process, trusted wedding style experts and amazing choice of high-quality menswear, you can’t go wrong with Generation Tux. See what we have to offer to make your union extraordinary.

Pick Your Look Now

Arrow Left Icon Back to Blog