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Tux Terminology for the Groom-to-Be

Though the bulk of wedding day attire attention typically focuses on what the bride is wearing, grooms also have important choices to make when it comes to what to wear on their wedding day. And just like brides have many different styles from which to choose with respect to their gowns, so, too, do grooms when it comes to their tuxedos.

While a groom's wardrobe decision typically does not involve as much forethought or time as a bride's, he should keep in mind several factors before choosing a tuxedo. These include the degree of formality and the time of the event in addition to the style of the tuxedo itself. For instance, if the event is going to be ultraformal, then a traditional tuxedo complete with a tuxedo vest and tie is the most appropriate choice. Grooms going this route can also choose to add a top hat, cane and even tuxedo gloves as accessories. However, at less formal weddings, this would clearly not be the best option. To help you make the right decision, here is a list of some tuxedo terminology that should help you make a more educated choice.

  • Single-breasted. Any man who has ever put on a suit, be it a tux or a business suit, likely knows that single-breasted means a suit with a single row of buttons down the middle. This has become the more popular choice of late and is appropriate for men of all body types. Single-breasted suits come in many styles, however. You can order a single-breasted tuxedo with either one button or two, with the choice typically depending on the groom's height (taller grooms usually prefer two buttons, while shorter grooms like one button). Grooms can also order three- or four-button single-breasted tuxedos. These are generally only good for men who are particularly tall or thin, as larger men should avoid the three- or four-button tuxedo.
  • Double-breasted. As one might infer, the double-breasted tuxedo is one with two rows of buttons as opposed to one. Typically, these work best with heftier grooms, as double-breasted suits tend to hide girth and appear more comfortable.
  • Cutaway Tuxedo. These go well with men of all statures. Cutaway refers to the front edges of the coat sloping diagonally from the waist and forming tails in the back. These are the most appropriate option for daytime weddings.
  • Tails. Tails are mainly reserved for ultraformal and traditional weddings. Featuring a severe break between front and back, tails should be avoided by shorter or stockier grooms.
  • High or Low Vest. High vests are typically good for taller men with longer torsos, as they extend up the torso higher than a regular vest and go well with a high-button coat. Low vests are more appropriate for most men and can be worn by men of all body types.
  • Peaked Lapel. An extension of the coat collar, the peaked lapel is often a good choice for a shorter groom, as it typically makes the body appear longer and leaner.
  • Shawl Collar. Unlike a traditional collar, shawl collars do not come to a point, making this a difficult choice to make depending on body type. In general, a wider groom will want to stick with a wider shawl collar as a thin collar will make him look larger. Similarly, a more svel e groom should stick with a thinner collar, as a wider one will have a cartoonish effect.
  • Mandarin or Banded Collar. Again, this depends on the body type. This is the collar type that appears to not be a collar at all, as it just wraps around the neck without any protruding points and is never worn with a necktie. For grooms with short or thick necks, this style should definitely be avoided, as it will appear as though you are bursting out of the top of your shirt. A more slender groom, though, can wear a mandarin collar.
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