Is a Tuxedo the Same as a Suit?

When shopping for a formal outfit, you’ll probably come across both suits and tuxedos. As a result, some men assume they are the same. While suits and tuxedos are two common styles of men’s formal wear, though, they each have their unique characteristics. To determine which one is right for you, you should familiarize yourself with their nuances. Only then you can choose the perfect formal outfit.

Satin

If you look closely at the lapels of a tuxedo jacket, as well as the sides of the trousers, you’ll discover lines of fine satin. Only tuxedos feature satin, whereas suits don’t have any satin. It’s a subtle difference that adds a small but noticeable element of style to tuxedos. If you’re looking for a formal outfit with satin, you’ll need to choose a tuxedo. On the other hand, if you don’t want in satin in your formal outfit, you should choose a traditional suit. Satin is only found in tuxedos.

You can find satin on a tuxedo by looking for the glossy fabric on the lapels and trousers. Tuxedos aren’t made entirely of satin. Rather, only the lapels of the jacket and the sides of the trousers feature this glossy fabric.

Bow Tie vs Necktie

Another difference between tuxedos and suits is that the former is worn with a bow tie, whereas the latter is worn with a necktie. Of course, you’re free to wear whatever accessories you want, regardless of whether you’re wearing a tuxedo or suit. With that said, tuxedos are traditionally worn with a bow tie, while suits are traditionally worn with a necktie.

When choosing a bow tie or necktie, follow these tips to create a picture-perfect formal outfit:

  • Choose a color that contrasts with the color of your shirt. If your bow tie or necktie matches your shirt — meaning it features the same color as your shirt — it will look awkward.
  • Avoid clip-on bow ties and neckties. Although they are easier to put on and take off, they lack the aesthetics of real bow ties and neckties.
  • Make sure the bow tie or necktie is an appropriate size. This is particularly important when wearing a necktie, as neckties are available in a wide variety of lengths and widths. If you get the wrong size, it won’t look right when worn.

Waistcoat

Most men who wear a tuxedo also wear a waistcoat. A waistcoat is essentially a vest that’s worn over your dress shirt and under your tuxedo jacket. It’s designed to enhance the appearance of a tuxedo by adding new colors and visual patterns to the outfit. During the winter months, a waistcoat can also keep you warm by insulating your body. If you spend a lot of time outdoors during the winter — or in other cold environments, you may want to wear a waistcoat. It won’t offer as much protection from the cold as a high-quality jacket, but it can still help to insulate your body.

You can swear a waistcoat with a suit, but most men only wear them with tuxedos. So, if you’re thinking about wearing a tuxedo, don’t forget to pick up a waistcoat. And if you’re planning to wear a suit, you’ll have the freedom to either wear or not wear this accessory. This is one more way in which tuxedos differ from suits.

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Cleaning and Care

You’ll probably discover that tuxedos and suits have different requirements for cleaning, care and general maintenance. Depending on the fabric, you may be able to clean your suit in the washing machine. Many suits are machine-washable, allowing for quick and easy cleaning. Unless otherwise stated on the care tag, you can toss your suit in the washing machine to instantly clean it. Tuxedos, however, almost always require dry cleaning.

When your tuxedo gets dirty, you can’t just clean it in the washing machine. Instead, you’ll have to take it to local dry cleaners. Dry cleaning doesn’t involve the use of water, so it won’t damage or degrade the tuxedo’s satin or other fine fabrics. When your tuxedo is dry cleaned, it will be exposed to powerful, non-water-based cleaning chemicals. It’s an effective way to clean tuxedos that doesn’t damage or degrade their satin.

Formality

Not surprisingly, tuxedos are more formal than suits. Keep in mind that both tuxedos and suits are classified as men’s formal wear. Of those two formal outfits, though, tuxedos offer the highest level of formality. This is because tuxedos are worn with a bow tie rather than a necktie, and they also feature glossy satin to achieve a higher level of formality. If you’re getting dressed for a highly formal event, such as a wedding or black tie dinner, you should probably wear a tuxedo. For other, less formal events, though, it’s perfectly fine to wear a suit.

Price

Although there are exceptions, tuxedos usually cost more than suits. If you’re on a tight budget, you may want to choose a suit for this reason. It’s not uncommon for tuxedos to cost 20% to 30% more than suits. But the good news is that you can find both types of men’s formal outfit in a range of different prices. Here at StudioSuits, for instance, you can find high-quality tuxedos and suits available for sale at low prices.

The Bottom Line

A tuxedo isn’t the same as a suit. As revealed in this blog post, there are several differences between tuxedos and suits. Tuxedos feature satin, whereas suits do not. Tuxedos are also worn with a bow tie, whereas suits are worn with a necktie. These are just a few ways in which tuxedos differ from suits. By familiarizing yourself with their differences, you can choose the perfect formal outfit that meets all your needs.