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Evening Attire for Men

Updated on December 29, 2017

White Tie and Tails


The Tuxedo and Accessories

The modern tuxedo has many components, including a coat, trousers, formal shirt, and tie worn with either a vest or a cummerbund. Black and white is the traditional color scheme, although modern men often introduce fashion colors in the tie and vest or cummerbund. This lens covers "black tie" apparel. "White tie" formalwear is seen only at state dinners and Nobel Prize ceremonies. If you are invited to such an event, consult an expert for the details of this most formal attire.

Tuxedo Distinctives

How does a tuxedo differ from a regular business suit? First, it almost always includes a vest or a cummerbund. A cummerbund is a wide sash with buckles in the back for an adjustable fit. Second, the formal shirt may close with studs instead of buttons. Finally, the pants often have a satin stripe at the side seams.

Read All About It!

Details Men's Style Manual: The Ultimate Guide for Making Your Clothes Work for You
Details Men's Style Manual: The Ultimate Guide for Making Your Clothes Work for You

This complete guide for all occasions gets you from casual Fridays to a formal dinner.


Formal Wedding and Prom Attire


Formalwear is worn by the wedding party at most weddings in the United States. Fathers and other close male relatives of the bride and groom may also wear tuxes. Guests dress less formally unless the invitation says “black tie.” For weddings, formalwear is usually rented so all members of the wedding party coordinate with each other. Guests and relatives who are not attendants may wear their own tuxedos, if they own one.

Symbolize Your Love with Wedding Bands from


Proms are often a young man's first formal occasion. Rental tuxedos come in a wide range of traditional and trendy styles and colorful options. Formalwear is often chosen after the young lady has picked her dress. A high school student may already have a basic black tuxedo for choir or orchestra; If so, he may save money by simply purchasing some colorful accessories for prom.

My Own Buying Experience

I first bought a tuxedo for one of my sons. While his high school dance was supposed to be semi-formal (which means nice business suits for men), one by one the boys in his class decided to wear tuxes instead. I got a panicked phone call from school declaring that he had to have a tux by evening or be forever socially disgraced. My oldest daughter and I set off for the mall to see if we could pull this off.

The lovely clerk at After Hours Formalwear was a godsend. We learned that some tuxedos were available for sale rather than rent. We found a coat and trousers, formerly rentals, in great condition. We added a new vest and four-in-hand-tie and got out for slightly over $100. He wore one of his dress shirts from home, which looked fine with the great tie we'd found. I had time to hem the pants and have everything pressed before the dance.

State Your Preference - Traditional or Modern?

It doesn't seem fair, but while women shop for a dress for days, a man can just put on a tux and look amazing!

What kind of tuxedo do you prefer?

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    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 

      5 years ago from New Zealand

      Enjoyed your lens.

      Always nice to see a well dress man, but interesting about adding color, it is a good point.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Interesting lens. Thanks!


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