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Do You Wear a Suit or Tux to Prom? Evaluating Options

Prom is a special occasion where you get to dress up, dance with your friends, and celebrate achievements, but as a male student, you're probably wondering: do you wear a suit or tux to prom? We explain how to choose suit vs tux prom outfits.

Prom is a special occasion that serves as a rite of passage and marks the end of high school and the start of a new chapter. Ladies spend months picking the perfect dress, finding matching shoes, and figuring out who they're going to take. But if you're a guy, one of your biggest hurdles is figuring out do you have to wear a tux to prom.

Is there a specific rule on wearing either a tuxedo or a suit to prom?

Do you wear a suit or tux to prom? There is no official rule that says you have to wear one or the other, which means you get to choose based on things like:

  • Comfort

  • Cost

  • Versatility

  • Style

  • Personal preference

  • Budget

  • And dress code

Making a decision about a suit or tux for prom is highly personal. Choosing a tuxedo makes a formal statement and gives you a lot of character and a classic aesthetic. But suits can be equally stylish and sharp with more room to incorporate different fabrics and colors (plus the option to use them in other formal situations).

black suit with a blue tie on a red background

Should I wear a suit or tux to prom?

A quick aside about the key differences:


Do you have to wear a tux to prom? No, but tuxedos are worn with bow ties, usually black or dark blue. They are also worn with a waist cover, cummerbund, or vest that matches the bow tie.

Tuxedos are made with wool but have much fancier satin trimmings. All tuxedos are worn with formal shirts that usually have decorative patterns on the front, like ruffles or pleats. You also need a pair of dress shoes to match with tuxedos.


Suits can be worn for many formal occasions, not just a prom, and you can find several formal suits appropriate for all types of black tie events.

With a suit, you typically have a set of pants, a jacket, and a shirt underneath. You get increased versatility, however, and you can change the shirt and the tie you wear with it to increase or decrease the formality of your outfit.

You also have the flexibility of wearing different accessories like cufflinks or pocket squares and picking any shoes you like.

As a young man, choosing a suit or tux for prom can be challenging. Having the right outfit can enhance your experience.

However, one of the most important considerations when choosing a suit or tux for prom is what your date will be wearing. It is essential that you coordinate with whoever you are taking to prom. Have a quick conversation with them before shopping to know what type of design, color, pattern, or accessories will work well.

Tip: As the man, it's usually better to wait until your partner has chosen their outfit so that you can match your suit or tux for prom to the color and style they have. This will make for memorable pictures.

Benefits and drawbacks of wearing a suit to prom


  • You are more likely to be able to find an occasion to wear a suit in everyday life, making it a valuable long-term investment.

  • You have more style options when it comes to a suit, so you can incorporate your personal preference and enjoy more versatility and comfort.

  • You can find many more color options and fun accessories with a suit, including non-natural colors or bold plaid or paisley patterns.

  • You don't have to wear a bow tie, and you can mix and match different shirts or shoes depending on the event's dress code.


  • Suits won't necessarily have the elegance or comfortable feel of the silks you might get with a tuxedo.

  • Suits may not be formal enough, depending on the venue.

When to Consider Wearing a Suit

You should consider wearing a suit to prom if your date has a trendier outfit like the two-piece gowns or the more popular high-low gowns. This can be perfectly suitable to prom themes that don't have strict, glamorous dress codes and have a more laid-back theme, especially if you're going for something like the 1980s, the 1990s, or Famous Couples Throughout History.

Benefits and drawbacks of wearing a tux to prom


  • You can more easily rent a tuxedo and ensure you have a stunning fit with the style you prefer, but without having to pay hundreds of dollars to buy one.

  • If you purchase a tuxedo, you will be able to have it tailored in the future if you change size at all but still need a tuxedo for formal occasions like weddings.


  • You are less likely to have occasion to wear a tuxedo to everyday events in your immediate future.

  • If you buy your tuxedo, it will cost you more than buying a suit.

blue suit with a red bow tie

When to Consider Wearing a Tux

You should consider wearing a tux to prom if you want an elegant dress with a vintage appeal or if you are going for an old-school theme. This can be particularly useful if your prom has a theme of Hollywood, or Monte Carlo, places that you might associate with old-school glamor and classic appeal.

Final Thoughts

If you are wondering, "Should I wear a suit or tux to prom" remember that there is no set rule. Overall, the suit vs tux prom dress options is the two most common formal wear options. They differ in terms of style, comfort, cost, and versatility. If you have asked, “Do you wear a suit or text to prom,” you are not alone.

Thankfully there is no fast and hard rule about a suit or tux for prom. You get to make a decision about what you wear to prom based on your personal style preferences, budget, and what's expected for the dress code.

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