It’s safe to say that a man should never look better than when he’s wearing a tux. The tuxedo is stylish. It’s flattering. It’s timeless. It’s quintessentially, classically male. If it’s not the most handsome you’ve looked in your whole damn life, you’re doing something wrong (or accidentally bought the Canadian kind).
There’s no limit to our respect for classic black tie, but sometimes we’re in the mood for something more imaginative. Purists, look away. This is not for you. Dandies, rebels, and other sartorial risk-takers, we’ve got good news: black is not your only option when it comes to formalwear. There are plenty of other choices to be made when it comes to colour, fabric and ways to wear it.
Read on to find out how to put a twist on the tux and make an impact in evening wear.
Know Your Fabrics
Perhaps the easiest way to mix things up is to play with materials. Traditionally, a tuxedo is made from pure wool. Satin or grosgrain facings are found on the jacket’s lapels and buttons, and a stripe or braid in matching material runs along the outseam of the trousers. It’s a look that will serve you well, but it won’t make the serious statement we’re looking for today.
For that, you’ll have to venture into braver textures and patterns. The easiest of those more adventurous options is velvet, a tactile favourite which is never off-trend for very long. A velvet blazer can be extravagant dandy, rock ‘n roll cool, red carpet ready and anything in between, depending on how you accessorize.
If velvet is too subtle for your tastes, try checks or a jacquard jacket. You’re guaranteed to stand out, unless the wallpaper just happens to have the same pattern.
Know Your Colours
When we talk about making a statement, we mean a very specific kind: the good kind. So although we wouldn’t recommend a neon tux that looks like it was designed for a bizarrely formal rave, we’re definitely in favour of expanding your horizons beyond the basic black.
If you’re feeling at all nervous about taking the plunge into more colourful waters, start simple. Opt for a midnight blue tuxedo, which actually looks better and has more depth under most lighting than the black alternative. Once you’re brave enough to go beyond blue, graduate to burgundy. A number of top brands and big-name celebs have adopted this black tie twist trend in recent times.
For those who are truly ready to expand their colour horizons, there are more daring options. Throw caution to the wind and go for a dark green, or tap into that Old Hollywood magic and pair a white jacket with black trousers.
Tuxedos With Flair
The world is your tuxedo’s oyster. There’s no rule saying black tie has to be black – except when there is, in which case comply like the gentleman you are. In other cases, spice things up in whatever way you see fit. As long as you keep the fit slim, the details classic and the accessories minimal, you can get away with almost anything. Try a chambray dress shirt, a double-breasted jacket, an all-over plaid pattern, or eye-catchingly wide peak lapels. As always, the key to pulling anything out of the ordinary off is confidence. If it’s clear you love how you look, other people will love it too.
Dinner Jackets With Difference
Why not separate your formalwear into its component pieces? Or even opt for an altogether different dinner jacket? If you stick to classic black trousers on the bottom, and a simple white dress shirt on top, your jacket has free reign to hog the spotlight. And hog it your jacket most certainly will, if you take a cue from these boldly dressed bastards and play with colour, pattern and texture. If the dress code leans more towards the smart-casual end of the spectrum, you can even consider coupling a formal jacket with dark denim for an eye-catching high-low combo.
Strong Trouser Game
Before you go thinking that wild dinner jackets are your only options for snazzing up a tux, let’s talk about your legs. More specifically, what you’re putting them in. Your trousers don’t have to be black. They don’t even have to be trousers (kilts, anyone?). Too often we neglect our lower halves in favour of our uppers, but no more will trousers be the underdogs of the tuxedo world. It’s harder to play with fabrics here, as more adventurous choices can easily ruin the clean-cut feel of your formalwear, but patterns are ripe for experimentation. As with statement dinner jackets, keep one half classic and let the other half take centre stage. Striking trousers should be paired with simple shirts and unassuming jackets in complementary colours.
What The Experts Say
Expert Tip #1 – Murray Coetzee, Head Designer, SuitSupply
Men’s evening wear has moved well beyond the realm of the basic black tuxedo. Although a black tux – with its refined cut, beautiful cloth and elegant fit – is always a great choice, color has officially become an acceptable and equally suited alternative. While black is the norm, midnight blue is also a classic – less harsh than black, it’s universally flattering to most skin tones.
With its rich texture and subtle sheen, velvet is also a great cold-weather option. A versatile staple that is perfect for party season, it is a slightly more daring choice – especially if you opt for a full suit. For the more adventurous crowd, we suggest a subtle hint of color, such as vintage-inspired steel gray, dark blue and green, or a subdued black watch pattern that’s bound to stand out in the best possible way at any holiday or formal event.
In terms of shape, we also offer lot of options: from the classic single-breasted tuxedo with peak lapels, to refined shawl collars and flattering double-breasted jackets with soft shoulders.
What about summer formalwear? A white dinner jacket cut from lightweight linen and wool blend is a perfect event- and weather-appropriate solution.
The most important thing to remember when selecting your after-dark attire is to make sure the suit or jacket is a good fit to your body and made of finest fabrics. Ultimately, everybody wants to feel sexy in eveningwear and now it has become easier than ever.
Expert Tip # 2 – Godwin Hili, Founder, Godwin Charli
An effective way to have an impact is play with contrast and fabric the features subtle micro designs such as checks, dots or a natural grain. I like keeping the pants black and well fitted then pairing them back with a cocktail style jacket. Look for luxurious finishes such as velvet or satin detailing to give the jacket an edge, that little something that excludes it from day wear. Think more towards the moody hues of dark navy, textured greys/charcoal or even deep burgundy to set the tone. The shirt should always be well fitted and classic, white or black. Avoid complicating the look with too many colours.