The Tux: A Glossary Of Terms And Styles

March 7th, 2005


Full dress, a.k.a. tails or tailcoat -
Yep, these tails are talking to you. The eponymous tails actually have tails, with a two- to six-button front. Generally worn at ultra-formal evening weddings.
Tuxedo, a.k.a. tux -
A tuxedo jacket can be single-breasted (with a one- to four-button front) or double-breasted (with a two- to six-button front) and is worn at formal or semiformal evening events. The basic tux comes in a variety of flavors. Pick single- or double-breasted with one of three lapels: peaked, notched, or shawl. Wear it with black, satin-striped trousers.
Mandarin, a.k.a. Nehru jacket, Mao jacket -
This jacket features a stand-up collar with no lapel and is worn with a Mandarin-collared shirt. Hint: This combo provides a sneaky way to avoid wearing a tie.
Cutaway, a.k.a. morning coat -
For formal daytime weddings, the groom wears the cutaway coat -- short in the front, long in the back, and tapering from the front waist button to a wide back tail. Cutaway jackets are either black or gray and are worn with matching striped trousers.
Stroller coat -
This semiformal jacket is a semi-formal suit jacket cut like a tuxedo. Usually charcoal gray or black and typically worn in the daytime.


Notched lapel
This lapel features a triangular indention where the lapel joins the collar. This is the least formal lapel style.
Shawl collar
This is a smooth, rounded lapel with no notch.
Peaked lapel
This broad, V-shaped lapel points up and out just below the collar line.


If you choose a formal tuxedo, your trousers should match your jacket in style and color. If you’ll be in a formal daytime wedding and will wear a stroller coat or cutaway coat, wear gray or gray pinstriped trousers.


Crosswyck Collars - This collar style crosses in front and is fastened with a shiny button.
Mandarin collar, a.k.a. band collar -
This collar stands up around the neck, above the tux’s buttons. The most contemporary-style tuxedo shirt. If ties put you in mind of a hangman’s noose, try this shirt: You can wear it without a tie.
Spread collar -
This resembles a standard button-front shirt but folds over and around the neck with a wide division between points in front. The wider collar makes it a good choice with a Euro tie or a standard necktie tied Windsor style.
Wing collar -
The most formal choice and the collar style most often worn with tuxedo jackets, this stand-up collar has downward points.

White pique shirt

This standard style dress shirt is made from white pique fabric, which has some texture. Wear it with a white tie and vest.


As for sleeve cuffs, you have a few options: standard dress-shirt cuffs held together with cuff links; French cuffs, which are folded over and closed with cuff links; and cuffs that close with a button. The choice is yours, but, in general, formal shirts call for cuff links.


Ascot tie -
This wide, formal tie is usually patterned, folded over, and fastened with a stickpin or tie tack. Usually reserved for ultra-formal daytime weddings and worn with a cutaway coat and striped gray trousers.
Bolo tie -
You go, cowboy! If you’re having a Western-themed wedding, live in Santa Fe, or are a working broncobuster, this stringy tie is for you. But if your bride has visions of Breakfast at Tiffany’s dancing in her head, think again before breaking out your turquoise-studded bolo tie for the wedding, and go instead for something more classic.
Bow tie -
Probably the thing to wear with a classic tux. Bow ties come in several colors besides basic black --- white is reserved for super-formal events, and colored bow ties are suitable for any occasion. You can match the wedding colors, but basic black is far classier, so think twice before ordering that fuchsia tie. Does tying a bow tie leave you flummoxed? Check out our how-to article. Tip: Avoid clip-ons at all costs. Can you say T-A-C-K-Y?
Euro tie -
This is a hybrid between an ascot tie and a regular, run-of-the-mill necktie. It’s a long, square-bottomed tie knotted at the neck and worn with a wing collar or spread collar shirt. The Euro offers a more formal look that´s not as all-out as an ascot.
Necktie -
If you have an office job, you probably own a slew of these. They’re also called four-in-hands and are perfect for more casual -- yet still elegant -- wedding looks. Important tip: Breaking out your Mickey Mouse necktie to lighten up your wedding tux is definitely not cute. Go for silk in silver or blue. Remember how great John Kennedy Jr. looked on his wedding day? This is the look you want.


Vests, a.k.a. waistcoats -
For an ultra-formal evening wedding, clad yourself in a white tie and waistcoat. Or choose a colored waistcoat instead of a cummerbund for the Four Weddings and a Funeral look, popular in Britain. Vests let men in the wedding party lend a bit of personality to their looks.
Cummerbunds -
These are pleated swatches of fabric worn around the waist. Usually basic black, but you can choose from colored cummerbunds to match the bridesmaid dresses or the wedding colors.
Cuff links -
These little babies can make or break an outfit. If you want outlandish, try a set of magic-eight-ball cuff links. If simple elegance is your style, stick with black cuff links outlined in gold. Who knows? Maybe your bride will give you a set as a groom gift on the big day.

Excerpts from "The Knot"


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