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When it comes to formal wear, there is to be a lot of discussion about when it’s proper to wear a tuxedo, and when it’s proper to wear a suit. 

And to be fair, this is an important conversation to have—because you always want to be dressed appropriately for the occasion. 

But here’s another crucial question that sometimes throws people for a loop:

Technically, what is the difference between a tuxedo and a suit?

Nowadays, suits and tuxedos can sometimes look quite similar. 

So understanding the basics of how to tell them apart is actually important. 

And in this post, that’s exactly what you’re going to learn. 

Let’s dive in and talk about it. 

4 Telltale Differences between Tuxedos and Suits

1. Satin Details

The most reliable method for telling a tuxedo apart from a suit is the fact that tuxedos are decorated with satin details, while suits all consist of the same material. 

On most tuxedos, you’ll find satin-faced lapels, satin buttons, and even a satin side-stripe down the pant leg. 

Even on more ‘modern’ tuxedos that don’t necessarily contain all of these details, you’ll at least see satin trim on the lapels, and a thin stripe running down the pant leg. 

Suits, on the other hand, won’t contain these hints of satin in the trim. 

A suit will usually also alternatively be equipped with fabric-covered, plastic, or even bone buttons. 

This is the best and easiest way to tell a tuxedo apart from a suit. 

2. The Range of Accessories

When you rent a tuxedo, you’ll notice that it comes with a range of important accessories. Depending on style, you may also receive:

  • A cummerbund
  • A waistcoat
  • Suspenders
  • A bowtie

While suits, on the other hand, do not require all of these pieces in order to be deemed ‘acceptable’ or to look great. 

For example, you can wear a suit coat without a vest. But you would likely never do this with a tuxedo coat. 

The range of accessories can give you another important ‘clue’ as to whether you’re looking at a suit or a tuxedo. 

3. The Shirt Style

The vast majority of tuxedos are black. 

While tuxedos can sometimes come in a range of colors, the shirts don’t really tend to vary much. 

Tuxedos are generally worn with white shirts that either have a turndown collar or wing collar. 

Suits, on the other hand, can be and will be worn with shirts in a wide variety of different colors and/or styles. 

Looking at what shirt a person is wearing under the jacket can definitely give you a clue as to how the entire ensemble would officially be categorized. 

4. The Shoes

And finally, you can usually tell a lot about the outfit by taking a good look at the shoes. 

Tuxedos are almost always worn with black patent shoes

Suits, on the other hand, can be worn with oxfords, slip-ons, or even something more casual (think sneakers or tennis shoes, cowboy boots, etc.). 

You would never wear these types of shoes with a tuxedo—which tells you that shoe choice is not only important, but that it can also be used as a clue to help you figure out whether or not a particular outfit would fall into the ‘tux’ or ‘suit’ category. 

Renting a Tuxedo vs. Buying a Tuxedo

Another difference between tuxedos and suits is that more people tend to purchase their own suits. 

Why?

Well, since tuxedos are really only designed to be worn for black-tie and formal occasions, there usually just aren’t going to be as many occasions where you’ll be required to wear one. 

You can find a wide range of tuxedos available on our website. 

You’ll also find that ordering/renting tuxedos is usually easier and more efficient—especially if you rarely attend formal events more than a couple of times per year. 

Conclusion

There you have it! 

Now you know the key differences between a tuxedo and a suit. 

If you’re looking for a tuxedo for your next formal event, please don’t hesitate to give us a call or stop by

We’d love to get you fitted and find you the perfect option. 

We know a thing or two about tuxedos, and would love to give you hand.

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If you’re getting ready to attend a formal or semi-formal event (a prom, a wedding, an important conference, a business luncheon, etc.), then you may be wondering:

“What’s the difference between a bowtie and a necktie? And when is it appropriate to wear either of them?”

This can be a confusing question. 

Sometimes, you really need to wear a bow tie.

While at other times, it’s definitely more socially acceptable to wear a necktie.

And sometimes, you even have the option to choose one or the other!

So in this post, you’re going to learn the truth about which one to wear during which specific types of occasions. 

1. For Black-Tie Formal Events, Wear A Bow Tie

If the event is black tie or formal (i.e. if the men in attendance are going to be wearing tuxedos), then it’s definitely going to be a social and stylistic requirement for you to wear a bow tie.

Remember, black tie events are called black tie for a reason. 

They signify the highest level of formality and style.

And for an occasion like this, in our culture and society, a bow tie is a must.

2. If You’re Wearing A Suit, A Necktie Will Suffice

If the event is casual enough that either a tuxedo or a suit would be acceptable (such as prom), and/or if the event isn’t formal enough to specifically require a tuxedo, then odds are good that you would be safe wearing a nice suit and a necktie. 

In fact, if you’re going to be wearing a suit at all, a necktie is the default choice. 

It’s rare to wear a bow tie with a suit—unless you’re trying to achieve a particular type of alternative style. 

3. If The Event Is More Casual, A Necktie Is Appropriate

Sometimes, overdressing can be almost as awkward as underdressing.

For example, if you’re going to a business luncheon, odds are good that nobody else is going to be wearing a tuxedo. 

So if you showed up in a tuxedo with a bow tie, you would definitely look out of place.

And this is exactly what you don’t want.

4. If You’re Wearing A Pleated Shirt With Studs, Wear A Bowtie

You’ll probably notice that a lot of tuxedos come with a pleated shirt. 

And that shirt probably has little button studs that form a line running up the center of the shirt, all the way to the collar (these are traditionally black). 

If you wore a necktie, you would cover these studs—and that would defeat their purpose. 

This is a good indication of whether or not the shirt you’ve selected is supposed to be worn with a bow tie or a necktie.

5. You Can Wear Either A Bow Tie Or A Necktie For ‘Black Tie Optional’ Events

Some events are labeled as formal, but are technically classified as ‘black tie optional.’ 

For these types of events, it would be acceptable to wear either a tuxedo or a suit—and either a bow tie or a necktie would be acceptable, as long as it matched appropriately with the rest of your ensemble.

6. What About Wearing A Bow Tie With A Suit?

As a general rule, this isn’t a style option that be appropriate for a black-tie or formal event. 

However, sometimes, for less formal events, you can get away with wearing a bowtie with a suit as a unique or alternative expression of style.

But keep in mind that while this can be acceptable in certain situations, it’s also true that you’ll be less likely to wear a plain black bowtie. 

You’d be more likely to wear a bowtie that is either colorful, or that matches the rest of your ensemble in some other way. (Think of Bill Nye the Science Guy, for example.)

7. Should You Ever Go Without A Tie?

Sometimes, it’s a style in itself to go sans tie. 

Leaving the top button of your shirt and collar unbuttoned can produce a cool and rugged look. 

Sometimes, you can also opt for a turtleneck as opposed to a button-down shirt altogether. 

However, it’s important to understand that this look is really only acceptable on very limited occasions. 

If you show up at a formal black-tie event with no tie, you will look sloppy as opposed to rugged

With that being said, if you show up at a business lunch sans tie, but manage to pull it off well with the rest of your ensemble—it could make you look edgy, and perhaps even a bit more stylish.

Conclusion

Hopefully, this post has helped to clear up some of the confusion surrounding the question of when to wear a bow tie vs. a necktie for special events. 

And just remember—if you need some help getting a tux or suit for your next “tie event”, don’t hesitate to give us a call or come on by.

You can also view some of our available tie styles and colors online for inspiration (and we have many more in stock in our store).

We’d love to help make your next formal occasion a massive success!

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Prom is an important formal event for young men in our culture.

Not only is it important because it’s a night spent with friends and fellow students — but also because it serves as an important formal training event for things like date etiquette, formal special occasion protocol, and the process of dressing for success and to impress.

But it’s also a deeply meaningful and symbolic rite of passage. 

For the most part, most young people can plan on attending one formal prom each high school year. 

This makes it an event that most students will only attend a very few times. 

There are going to be other formal events in the future, of course.

But here’s why prom is so important. 

Prom Holds an Important Place in Our Social Culture for Men

Prom serves as a fantastic opportunity for young men to get used to dressing well for formal occasions. 

We live in a day and age where more and more of everything happens online.

And while there are some upsides to this… we also have to remember not to downplay the benefits of learning real-life skills that we’ll take with us as we transition into becoming successful individuals in the real world. 

Attending formal events is something that happens in real life, despite the fact that the Internet plays an evolving crucial role in event planning in so many other contexts.

The Tuxedo, as a Fashion Choice and as an Iconic Symbol of Class, Is Still Important and Relevant

Now, granted, styles do change over time. 

Nowadays, you may see more people making use of suits. You may even see some different, more ‘unconventional’ types of formal wear in use at some proms. 

But here’s the thing that’s crucial for up-and-coming successful men in our world and society to understand:

It’s still in your best interest to learn how to not only order a proper tux and get it fitted, but also how to wear it; and how to present yourself in it. 

And this leads us to the point of this article.

There are simply still a lot of reasons for every young man to consider wearing a tuxedo to prom, even over alternative style choices like a suit and tie. 

Here are a few of the most important ones. 

1. Men Look Amazing in a Tux

Nowadays, in some circles, a tux might seem a little bit old-fashioned. 

But don’t get it twisted. 

The truth of the matter is that even in our society today, the tuxedo is a common staple among prominent and successful leadership-minded men in our communities — and learning how to wear one with grace and dignity is incredibly important. 

2. Prom Is a Memorable Occasion 

You’re going to look back on your prom days with either fondness or regret, depending on how they’ll play out in your memory.

But never forget that the cornerstones of a successful prom evening have remained virtually unchanged, and include: 

  • Looking and feeling great in what you’re wearing 
  • Having fun with the people you care about
  • And partaking of positive memorable experiences while also growing and exploring at the same time 

When you combine these three things together, you’re setting the stage for a truly memorable prom experience that you’ll likely look back on with fondness for the rest of your life. 

And looking great in a classy tuxedo is no small part of that equation. 

3. Wearing a Tuxedo Is an Important Rite of Passage

This really can’t be overstated. 

As a young man in our society, it’s more important than ever to find your way to success and respectability in this world. 

And the tuxedo plays into this on many levels that go deeper than just fashion. 

The process of getting fitted for a tuxedo, making the choices about the colors and the styles, showing up to get it fitted, trying it on, understanding how a proper tux is supposed to fit, and caring for it until the starting time of the event are all extremely important skills that every respectable man in the modern world should master in order to give himself his best chances for success in many different venues in life

And prom is the perfect time to practice these skills in a real-world setting. 

Plus, you’ll look absolutely fantastic while you’re doing it!

So it’s truly a win-win scenario on all fronts. 

Conclusion

Hopefully, this post has helped to nail down some of the most important reasons to consider wearing a tuxedo to your upcoming prom. 

Of course, here at Karl’s Tuxedos, we carry many different classic and traditional tuxedo styles

We even carry some fancy stuff that you may not see every day. 

Please stop by or call us, and let us show you what we have to offer. 

Not sure what you’re looking for? We can also help you with that!

It’s time to make your prom the most memorable event of your high school experience. 

Let us help you make it a blast!

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