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The Differences Between Tuxedos VS- Suits Here's the Scoop

Updated: Oct 18, 2023

Suits vs. Tuxedos

Here at Suits Unlimited we get asked this question quite a bit. Many know a tuxedo is formal and what most kids wear to prom but why is it different than a regular suit? We’ll break down the differences below so you can be in the know.

What’s the difference?

A Suit

  • A suit is a staple piece of menswear and every man should have at least one, even if you are not a regular suit wearer.

  • Suits are typically made of wool and come in a variety of colors. The most common ones are black, charcoal, grey, and navy. We have these colors in stock on a consistent basis.

  • Buttons are typically 2 in quantity on the front of the jacket and made of acrylic, wood, plastic, or bone. There are also usually four buttons on the jacket sleeves near the wrist.

  • Slacks always match the coat in color and fabric make up.

  • Suits are typically worn for most business occasions, casual outings or semi-formal events.

So a suit sounds pretty straightforward. Let's look at a tuxedo.

A Tuxedo

  • A tuxedo is a formal ensemble worn to formal events, such as weddings, galas, formal dinners on cruises, certain award ceremonies and the like.

  • Tuxedos are typically wool and also come in a variety of colors, however the most classic is black.

  • Buttons on the front of the jacket are 1 to 2 in quantity and always covered in black satin or fabric and rounded. There are usually no other buttons on the sleeves and small details like pockets will have satin touches as well.

  • Lapels on most tuxedo jackets will also be fully satin or have satin detailing.

  • Tuxedo slacks will also usually have a satin stripe down the outseam of the legs.

  • Slacks don’t always have to match the jacket. Currently popular tuxedo looks include maroon tuxedo coats paired with black tuxedo slacks.

Okay, what do I wear with each?

A Suit

  • A dress shirt and long necktie are the best bet when it comes to accessorizing your suit. Unlike tuxedos you can wear a wide variety of dress shirt colors.

  • When it comes to ties, long neck ties are the best option but patterned bow ties also make for a unique look. Ties can also be a variety of fabric makes to suit your style. Ties for tuxedos need to almost always be satin and give off somewhat of a shine.

  • Suits also call for belts and they need to always match your dress shoes or at least be similar in color.

  • Dress shoes worn with suits will have a soft leather finish to them and usually come in black or brown. Different styles such as oxfords, wing tip, cap toe and more are all options in dress shoes that can be worn with suits.

A Tuxedo

  • Shirts worn with tuxedos are usually white, pleated, or have small rows of folds on the front of the shirts. However, more flat front options are becoming common practice.

  • When it comes to ties a black bow tie is the most classic of looks, however, other ties can be incorporated. As long as they stick to a silk make and are not a focal point of the tuxedo.

  • Silk or shiny formal vests are more common now versus the traditional cummerbund. A cummerbund is similar to a belt, it goes around the waist but has a wide piece of satin fabric with pleats that face upward and lays on the waist.

  • Tuxedos slacks almost never come with belt loops, they are typically adjustable from the inside of the slack. A belt is not to be worn with a tuxedo.

  • What finally sets a tuxedo apart from a suit is the jewelry. All tuxedo shirts will come in French or convertible cuff options which allow for cufflinks. All tuxedo shirts will also come with holes above each front shirt button to insert a silver stud. These studs act as the buttons instead of the actual button for a completed formal look.

  • The type of shoes worn with a tuxedo are usually black patent leather formal shoes. This is the most iconic look but it is becoming popular and acceptable to wear non shiny shoes with a tuxedo. However, 9 times out of 10, dress shoes worn with tuxedos should be black in color.

Key Takeaway Here

The main difference between a suit and a tuxedo is satin and fabric covered buttons. If a jacket button is rounded and covered in fabric, it’s a tuxedo or formal jacket. If the buttons have the typical four holes and not in fabric, it's a suit jacket or sport jacket.

Suits Unlimited, the premier menswear store in Albuquerque, NM, is the place to shop in Albuquerque and New Mexico for all your suit and tuxedo needs. Whether you are looking for tuxedo rentals for your wedding or a suit for a special occasion, we can help you look your best. You are invited to come on down to our store and order your wedding tuxedo rentals or to give us a call at 505-883-1060 and talk to us directly.

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