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The Five Things to Consider About Your Tuxedo

  • Najib Benouar


In our ongoing ruminations on black tie regalia during the lead-up to the Oscars, let us consider the little things that can make or break a tuxedo’s chances for best-dressed-list-ed glory...

As with everything menswear-related, attention to detail is paramount—we’ll spare you the lecture on how your tux should fit well (just make sure it does). We’d rather focus on the collectively key factors like sizing up a lapel, the appropriateness of grosgrain and the employment of a pocket square, among others.

Dissecting the finer points of a tuxedo.

The LapelsLapelsIt all begins with the lapel. You’ve got three choices: peak lapel, shawl lapel and notch lapel. Go with one of the first two unless you’re George Clooney, Jon Hamm or Barack Obama. With regard to the width of your lapel, we’d suggest using the same logic as you would a necktie: not too skinny or too wide in relation to your body type (the three-inch mark, give or take a quarter, usually works for most guys). Avoid anything comical.

The TieTiesWe’re partial to a bow tie (here’s a quick reminder of your three options), but the long tie has become more and more acceptable through the years. Regardless of what you choose, go with something black or a similarly dark, deeply saturated color.

The GrosgrainGrosgrainIt’s a traditional affectation: the stripe of grosgrain running down a tuxedo’s pant leg—usually matched to the lapel. There’s nothing wrong with keeping it traditional, but you might want to skip it if you're going with a non-black tux (note the off-putting contrast created above) or want to keep things streamlined.

The Third PieceThree pieceNot necessary these days. But we wouldn’t mind seeing the cummerbund make a comeback.

The AccoutrementsValentinoThis is your chance to get as dressed up as possible, so we’re not against button studs, cufflinks, a pleated shirt or throwing a pocket square into the mix—we like a white linen tipped in contrasting color for a subtle game changer.

And a pair of tuxedo slippers wouldn't hurt.