Suit vs. Jacket

Suit vs. Jacket

If you’re wearing a tuxedo on date night, you’re probably overdressed.

 When preparing for your next formal or semi-formal event, it is likely that you’ll reach for a suit or tuxedo. Suits and Tuxedos are similar men’s formalwear options, with subtle differences that make each unique for specific occasions. What exactly is the difference between a suit and a tuxedo? Basically, it’s all in the details.

The Overview

Suits are a more playful dress wear option, generally considered the better option for work, date night or semi-formal events (like birthday dinner at a prime steakhouse). However, Tuxedos are generally considered to be minimalistic and sophisticated, which makes them the better option for more formal events like weddings or black-tie affairs (think galas, formals and charity balls).

The Jacket and Pants

There are a few jacket and pant details that differentiate suits from tuxedos. Starting with the jacket, suit jackets tend to be made with a notched lapel, while tuxedo jackets feature a shawl or peak lapel with a satin accent.

The difference in pants for suits and tuxedos is mainly in the presence of belt loops and satin. Most suits will include belt loops and a solid fabric throughout. However, most tuxedos are designed with a silk waistband (no belt loops) that is perfectly tailored to your waist or include waist adjusters. The absence of belt loops re-emphasizes tuxedos minimalistic nature, because there is no need for an extra accessory. But the absence of a belt is usually replaced by a satin stripe down the pant leg, complimenting the traditional satin jacket lapel.


The Shirt

Suits are usually worn with traditional button-down dress shirts (of any color or pattern, depending on your personal flair). However, tuxedos are worn with a white ‘tuxedo shirt’ featuring a pleated bib and winged tip collar.

The Accessories

Suits have the ability to make a statement when paired with bold details. (Dare I say, a flex?) You can make a statement with the details of the suit itself (like a navy, grey or olive green hue) or with the accessories that are paired with the suit (such as the tie, shoes or cufflinks). Traditionally, suits are accessorized with pocket squares, long ties, and cufflinks. Tuxedos are generally accessorized with minimalistic details like a bowtie and a boutonniere.

The Laundry Care

Both suits and tuxedos follow the same laundry care routine. Just like most formal wear, dry cleaning is recommended. In addition, your garments should be hung on suit hangers and stored in a safe, dry place (like your closet, of course). You can also cover your outfits with a garment bag for extra protection in the closet or when traveling. 

The Verdict

Overall, suits and tuxedos both make acceptable formal wear options. However, suits give you more fashion-forward freedom, while tuxedos make a simply sophisticated power statement. Generally, suits are used for everyday wear and tuxedos should be reserved for formal occasions. If you’re wearing a tuxedo on date night, you’re probably overdressed. Either way, with the right details and tailoring, you can make a statement when you walk into the room.