March 30, 2022
Don’t know the difference between a suit and tuxedo? Don’t worry, we’ve found that most people don’t until it comes time to get one for yourself! To be completely honest, it is hard to tell the difference until you look at the details. We are here to educate you on how they are different by their appearance, functionality and pricing.
The main physical difference you will see in tuxedos is a material: satin. Tuxedos are primarily made of either wool, polyester or rayon and are consistently detailed with a satin lapel, satin pocket trim, satin buttons, and a satin strip down the leg of the pants. Whereas suits are the same material, details and all. The material of a suit varies, it can be wool, linen, cotton, velvet, polyester, etc.
Now let’s talk about accessories. Most people don’t know that depending on if you wear a suit or tux, your accessories will be different. Suits primarily are worn with ties, belts/suspenders, a full vest (or no vest) and a button down collared shirt (patterns/colors vary). Tuxedos traditionally include a satin bow tie (to match the other satin elements), suspenders (no belt!), cummerbund or low cut vest, and a wing tip collared shirt with removable button studs. Suits lend to being slightly more casual whereas a tuxedo is very formal.
|Worn for more casual events||Worn for more formal events|
|Uniform material throughout||Satin details (lapel, pocket trim, buttons, pant stripes)|
|Tie (regular or skinny)||Bowtie (preferred) or tie|
|Belt or suspenders||Suspenders|
|Vest||Cummerbund or Low Cut Vest|
|White, colored or patterned button down collared shirt||Solid white shirt or bib with a wing tip collar|
|Uniform sewn in buttons||Button Studs, removable|
|Any color/fabric||Black or white are most common, but any color works. Typically wool, polyester or rayon fabric.|
First things first, what’s the occasion?! This is one of the most important indicators as to what you should wear for your upcoming event.
If your invitation specifies “Black Tie”, you will be seeing a lot of tuxedos throughout the event. We’re well aware not every male owns a tux so if you wear a suit, you won’t necessarily be underdressed, just be careful in the quality and look of your suit. If your invitation specifies “Formal”, you can go either way. Consider who is inviting you and what venue the event is taking place at.
Another factor to consider is the time of day that the event is happening. If the event is primarily in the late morning or afternoon, we tend to see fewer tuxes. Maybe opt for a suit if you’re on the fence of what to wear. If your event is primarily in the evening, this factor is a wash. You can wear either suit or tux; we recommend resorting back to the previous paragraph to decide which you should choose.
You’ve decided your style, you’ve pinpointed the vibe of your event and now you want to know, what’s it going to cost me? Keep in mind that you have the option to either rent or purchase and that will drastically affect how much you spend. Either way, you will need to factor in additional money for all the accessories we previously discussed, and alterations if you purchase.
Let’s start with renting. Depending where you go, the difference in price to rent a suit or tux is not going to be astronomical. In the grand scheme of how much a wedding costs, a few extra twenties should not affect your decision in the matter. For rental, prioritize the look of the suit vs. tux before pricing.
Now if you want to consider purchasing a suit or tux, that’s where there’s a larger potential range in costs. We recommend purchasing suits or tuxes if you plan on wearing them often, whether that means being invited to a lot of weddings in the near future or being required to attend a lot of business events. It will save you money and time in the long run to purchase AND you’ll have a custom fitted suit/tux that makes you look and feel like a million dollars. That’s why we see more men purchasing suits over tuxedos because they’re worn more often.
But what price tag comes along with that? We wish we could give you an exact answer but it depends what you’re looking for and if you’re going to purchase a suit already “made” at a store or if you’re going to a store that will custom design one for you. We’ve seen suits/tuxedos cost a few hundred dollars and go to the upwards of multiple thousands. All of the accessories will also come into play.
Last but not least, something to consider is what you’ll look like when you’re ready to get the dance party started. When it’s time to take off the jacket and break it down with your guests, what look do you like better? If you have a vest with your suit, you’re welcome to dance in the vest or you could technically remove that as well. For tuxedos, assuming you have suspenders, we typically see those all night long.
Now let’s say you still don’t know what to wear after reading this post. That’s okay, you probably still have some time to make a decision so don’t stress! Also please consider that there is going to be one guy that always shows you up and gets all the googly eyes from the ladies… so really… your outfit doesn’t matter (; Who is that might you ask? Well it’s the guy walking down the aisle right before the bride. So if you’re feeling overwhelmed, focus on what the little guy will be wearing to take the pressure away!
Photo credit in order: Lauren Long, Lauren Long, Photography by Lauryn, Noelle Adams, Tiffaney Childs, Peter Wynn, Katherine Salvatori, Ed and Aileen, Geen Yoon, Loren Weddings, Hannah Walkowaik, Dabble Me This, Ryan Moore