The suit has lasted for hundreds of years. There is always the lingering question of whether or not suits are still relevant in today's wardrobe; Chic BoHo Barn Weddings Galore, Blue Jeans and Vests, and dare I even say... Khakis take a priority in today's society.
Turns out though, there are more places than you may even realize where a suit is not only acceptable but appropriate. A well crafted suit can give you access to almost any room, especially if you know wha to wear and when. You will be welcome anywhere, not just black-tie events.
I often discuss Capsule Wardrobes and the need for versatility in your garment selections. The suit is a very powerful ensemble but the Tuxedo is style that has a place and time, and can feel out of place if the occasion isn't appropriate.
The Tuxedo emerged as a defiant style choice in the early years of Frock Coats and Tails. You can read more about the History of Formalwear in our, "History of Suiting Loosely Based on Historical Events."
It all started in High-end partying, specifically black tie dress codes and above. Anywhere else, the Tuxedo can be left in the closet. Similarly, the Tuxedo Shirt is very formal and shouldn't be substituted in regular wear.
Honestly, there's a time and place for both tuxedos and suits, so it's not a question of either being 'better' than the other. Instead, the question is which is appropriate for what you're doing. So here's a look at some everyday situations and which is the best choice for them.
This one get's tricky. We throw around a lot of terms and names for things and generally, that is okay. Words change, language adapts, as does our clothing. But we do want to make a few things clear, just for the sake of knowing it's historical and societal value.
You now know what a tuxedo is. A dinner suit should not be confused with a dinner jacket ( another name for a stand-alone blazer). A dinner suit refers to either a tuxedo (though it's not the correct wording) or a particular look, also called the tropical dinner suit.
This is an ivory dinner jacket with fancy black dinner pants and a bow tie, and it's the only other black-tie alternative to a tuxedo aside from Non-Traditional Formalwear for the avant-garde wearer. A Dinner Suit, is simply, a different style of Tuxedo. Specifically, it is right there in the name, it is for a formal dinner occasion. You can't wear it to the office. But, you can wear it to most black tie events, although there's some question of whether it's appropriate after the meal. If you really want to hobnob, post meal is the opportunity to throw on a proper tuxedo jacket, as it will stun your guests and impress the room.
We will be here all day talking about Weddings. Which is best for a groom? That, much like a handcrafted bespoke wedding suit from Kalypso Couture, that detail is completely up to you. I have seen and designed some very brilliant stylings for the big day, and each is unique to the groom. If you're going for a full black-tie wedding, wear the tux or the dinner suit. It's in the dress code you're setting. If you're on a beach somewhere, maybe go for neither- a casual blazer should be enough. Anywhere else, a suit is great.
Follow, Follow, Follow the Dress Code. Unless you're the Groom, of course. Tuxedo only for black-tie events. You can do either, but make it a relaxed and fun tuxedo for a formal wedding. Any dress code less formal than that, stick to a suit. When you reach 'smart casual' and 'anything goes,' move to a nice pair of pants and a blazer rather than a suit.
Black suits have a funerary vibe. That is why I only sell one style of Black Suit, It is The Last Suit You'll Ever Wear. We'll leave it at that. Suppose it is for a funeral, definitely the black suit every time. Tuxedos are 'party wear,' not 'Formal wear.' Nothing is less appropriate for a funeral, life reading, memorial party, or other somber occasions.
If it's not a sad event, however, then you're asking the wrong question. Instead, wear a tuxedo to appropriate fun events. Skip the black suit for the boardroom or occasions where tuxedos aren't appropriate. Look for a dashing navy or striking charcoal instead. These are the best ways to start when it comes to non-tuxedo type occasions.
Sophisticated formal occasions such as weddings or prom, you might like to look at a tuxedo, although it does depend on the dress code that's set. For parties, the same goes- tuxedo at black-tie or higher, maybe a more fashion-styled and less formal one at a true formal dress code event, but anything from a cocktail dress code down is better off with a suit.
For business, stick to a suit, or move to pants and a blazer for business casual. In your personal life, smart casual can be covered with nice pants and a blazer, and anything more formal than that with a suit.
If you're fashion-forward or trying to smarten up your daily look, you can either lean into fun, non-traditional suits as a personal style or evolve the blazer-and-pant combo to perfection. While we've reached a kind of anything-goes point in fashion, even a non-traditional tuxedo as the daily style will be a more eccentric touch, so we will stay away unless you don't mind the attention.
Featured in Voyage Magazine, our Founder and Principal Designer, Michael Armanno discusses "The Secret Life of a Clothier" in the latest Daily Inspiration series.
Said to be one of the most comprehensive editorials to date, Armanno explores his journey of ten years in the world of bespoke fashion, missteps along the way, and his vision for an Artisan Creative Space building momentum in Jacksonville, Florida.