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Tuxedo Vs. Suit: Understanding the Differences

This article will provide a comprehensive comparison between tuxedos and suits, two of the most common types of formal men's attire. Clarifying the differences between style, material, design, and occasion appropriateness can make it easier for men to figure out when to wear a tuxedo vs suit.

Difference between Tuxedo and Suit


Every man has received an invitation to an event, whether it was prom, a wedding, or a business dinner, and is worried about whether they should wear a tuxedo or a suit. Today it's important to understand the differences between the two so that you can always pick the right attire.

So, how is a tuxedo different from a suit? What is the difference between a tuxedo and a suit design? The structure might be the same, and some people might use the words intermittently to refer to the suit pants or the suit jacket, but one of the biggest differences between a tuxedo vs. suit is the material.

You'll see a great deal of satin integrated into a tuxedo, whereas suits typically don't have any satin. Understanding the difference between tuxedos and suit designs is important for men who want to pick the right ensemble for any occasion.

Tuxedos vs. Suits

Both tuxedos and suits can be customized to your body shape and personal preferences, although there are limits to where they share similarities.

What is a suit?

  1. A suit is worn with or without a regular tie.

  2. Suits have different lapels compared to a tuxedo, but the lapels are made from the same fabric as the rest of the suit.

  3. Suits have regular suit buttons that aren't covered by any type of fabric.

What is a tuxedo?

  1. A tuxedo is worn with a bow tie.

  2. Tuxedos are designed with satin lapels, and these lapels can be created into different shapes.

  3. Tuxedos have satin buttons to go with the satin lapels. These are regular buttons covered by a piece of satin fabric.

  4. Are tuxedo pants different than suit pants? Yes, they are because they also include a satin stripe running up either side.

What makes a tuxedo different from a suit?

There are differences in terms of physical aspects, accessory differences, and usage differences like:

  • Fabric

  • Lapel style

  • Trouser stripes

  • Shirts

  • Ties

  • Shoes

  • Events

  • Formality

Tuxedo Vs Suit

Physical Aspects

As mentioned, tuxedos differ from suits in terms of the material. While the main material used to craft the majority of the ensemble might be similar, tuxedos use satin for the lapels, the buttons, and the stripes that run down the legs.

Tuxedos usually come in black, blue, or white, whereas suits can be customized with any color, and even if you want to stick with basic colors, the shirts you wear under a suit can make a bold statement, whereas tuxedos are limited to white or black shirts.

Suits can have versatile fabrics like cotton blends, linen, and wool, but you'll usually find wool or velvet with satin accessories for tuxedos.

Accessory Differences

Another key difference between tuxedos vs. suits has to do with the accessories. Tuxedos are usually worn with a tuxedo sash, bow tie, and pocket square, but beyond that, there isn't room for a lot of statement pieces. Suits, however, can be worn with various shoes, belts, pocket squares, ties, vests, and cufflinks.

Usage Differences

Tuxedos are the epitome of sophistication and formality which means they are reserved for formal events such as any invitation that requires black tie attire. By comparison, suits can be worn to any event or occasion and easily modified to be more or less formal, depending on the accessories and the colors.

Occasions for wearing tuxedos and suits

So when do you wear a tuxedo vs a suit? It comes down to the formality or the type of event.


If there is a wedding, either option can be suitable depending on your role in the wedding and the formality level of the wedding. For example:

  • When an invitation says Black Tie attire is optional, you can wear tuxedos or suits.

  • If the wedding is a beach wedding or a similar destination wedding, a tire is usually more relaxed, in which case you can go with a linen suit.

  • When invitations say a black tie is required, go with a tuxedo.

  • If a wedding takes place during the day, you can get away with a suit, but if it takes place in the evening, go for a tuxedo.


If you attend prom, you can display your self-confidence by wearing whatever you like.

  • If you have a particularly formal prom theme or the prom takes place in a formal venue like a historic building, don't be afraid to go with a tuxedo.

  • If your prom has a more relaxed theme, a suit will give you more variety in terms of what you can wear to match the theme or your date. You can pick different colored shirts, shoes, and ties to express yourself.

How Is a Tuxedo Different from a Suit

Night Out

If you are going out for the night, the type of event you are attending will determine which of the two you should wear. In most cases, you can get away with a suit, especially if you are attending a dinner party, eating out, or even going to a show.


Tuxedo vs. Suit


Business meeting


A suit helps you maintain professionalism while adding a hint of style.

Formal event


Formal events demand timeless elegance and top of the line style which comes from a custom tuxedo.

Black Tie event


When invitations say “black tie”, they mean a tuxedo.



Most of the time a suit is perfect for a wedding–unless you’re the one getting married.


Tuxedo or suit

Check out the dress code to see which one is best for your prom theme.

Casual nights out


You can get away with a suit for most casual events, removing a tie to decrease formality or adding a vest to increase it.

Summing Up

How is a tuxedo different from a suit? It comes down to the satin. The satin influences the physical aspects of the tuxedo. But more importantly, you have control over what you wear based on your confidence and style. Very rarely do events require nothing but a tuxedo, so don’t be afraid to look at both and have a fitting for a tuxedo vs. suit.

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