In the last post, I discussed the key elements of the tuxedo – the jacket, the shirt and the trousers. Today, I want to highlight the two other main areas – the waist and the shoes.
Traditionally, waistcoats and cummerbunds have been the two most popular choices for covering the waist when donning a tuxedo. While these have started to become frequently replaced by satin finished waistbands on trousers, there are several reasons to suggest why this is clearly a faux pas:
- A black waist covering extends the leg line, thus creating an illusion of longer legs. Eliminating this with trouser finished waistbands creates the opposite effect.
- Even with your tuxedo jacket buttoned up, the area that is supposed to be covered by a cummerbund or waistcoat (i.e the area of the shirt below the pleated section), will be exposed when you reach your hands into your pockets, creating a rather odd visual!
- Similar to the point above, traditional formal shirts will not be compatible with trouser waistbands as formal shirt stud holes do not extend all the way down to the waist, thus exposing a ‘non-stud hole’ that should typically be covered by a waistcoat or cummerbund!
While not always the case with contemporary waistcoats, formal waistcoats are meant to enhance the visual appeal of a tuxedo shirt, which is pleated. Hence, ideally, formal waistcoats should not extend far beyond the lapels of the jacket, and should be fairly low cut to accentuate the ‘V’ shape created by the act of wearing a tuxedo. Unfortunately, many contemporary waistcoats are cut higher, and consequently detract from the visual appeal that a tuxedo is supposed to generate.
While cummerbunds have largely gone out of vogue with the introduction of the trouser waistband, a cummerbund can still look extremely elegant on a man strutting a tuxedo.
Suggested options for shoes when wearing a tuxedo are classic black laceups or black pumps with finishing on the shoe (in this case grosgrain) that match the facing of the jacket lapels.
So, at least for now, that’s a wrap for tuxedo wear! As always, comments and suggestions are welcome!