What's the Difference | Tuxedo Vs. Suit | Bespoke Basics


The difference between a Tuxedo and a Suit. Are they the same? Do you need both?

The word 'suit' covers formal two and three-piece styles, the key being the matching fabrics between the pieces in the ensemble. There are many types of suits. For example, 'Smart casual' and 'business casual.' These stylings are perfect for the workplace environment or even just a day on the town. Usually, it's paired with chinos or slacks and a blazer or sport coat- the differences between which we review in our Guide to Jackets!

These pieces are vital to the day-to-day dress code but a little too casual for the boardroom or more formal events.

There are instances where a suit may be too casual and not appropriate for specific events, and this will be where you opt for a tuxedo! But how does the suit and a tuxedo truly differ?

  • Lapels: Notch lapels on suits are a simple design. Tuxedos use shawl lapels- a smoother, sweeping label. Even if you've opted for a different style, it will be in an accent fabric on a tux and not a suit.
  • Buttons: Suits use various buttons, from contrasting metal or horn to self-covered. Tuxedos use the accent fabric only, usually shiny.
  • Pants: Suit pants match the suit jacket and are plain. Tuxedo pants have a stripe of accent fabric, often in the same color but with contrasting fabric.
  • Shirt: To be strictly proper, tuxedos only use a white bib dress tuxedo shirt with a wing collar. However, a white fold-down collar without a bib might work in modern settings. Under a suit? Depending on the event, you can embrace a wide range of colors and tuxedo shirt styles. You can personalize it to your taste.
  • Tie: You wear bow ties with a tuxedo. Typically black, possibly white. Neckties are for suits and offer huge versatility in style and look. Sometimes, bow ties and suit combinations look unique if you want to stand out at certain events.
  • Shoes: Classic tuxedo shoes styling demands shiny patent leather dress. Velvet loafers could pass too. Stick to black unless this is a very modern type of black-tie event. Under a suit? We recommend dark leather loafers or dress shoes for almost anything, but you can do what you want as long as it is appropriate to the event- as a fashion look, even clean, high-end sneakers can work, though don't take them to the boardroom! 

  • Craftsmanship on a tuxedo differs in that there are more finer details that are elegantly stitched to make your piece standout amongst the rest. You may even find yourself wearing a Tuxedo quite a bit less than a suit. But alas, best to be prepared for those Black Tie Events, they tend to sneak up on you! When you need a tuxedo, nothing else will do, and a suit won't be a substitute. However, if there isn't a particular event you need a tuxedo for, suits can be cheaper for daily living, and they're certainly a lot more versatile. 

    Build up your suit wardrobe first if you're starting your bespoke suit journey. Then, add a tuxedo down the line as you need it.



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