Apologies. I thought I was done writing about tuxedos in the last post, but alas, this latest piece of content has inspired me to write more! The white jacket variation of the formal tuxedo came into inception in the 1930’s as a warm weather alternative to the dark-colored fabrics that had become the de facto choice for evening wear at the time. While dinner suit fabrics have become considerably lighter in weight since then, the white colored tuxedo has retained its popularity as a comfortable alternative to the contemporary tuxedo. And remember, the white jacket is merely an alternative to the black tuxedo. Black and midnight blue tuxedos can be worn year round, without any impairment to the wearer’s style or dignity. White is merely a choice, albeit a great one!
Style and Fabric
While I would personally opt for a single breasted white tuxedo should the need arise, both single and double breasted jackets are considered appropriate and offer their respective style advantages. The single breasted jacket allows the wearer to wear it open, whereas a double breasted jacket should remain buttoned at all times. Because of the ‘casual elegant’ nature of the white tuxedo, shawl lapels are the preferred choice as it is more congruent with the relaxed vibe that a white tuxedo generates.
While it would be thought that ‘white’ tuxedos would be available in pure white, off whites are considered a more practical choice given susceptibility of pure white to stains. Additionally, an off white lends to the ‘casual’ or ‘understated’ elegance that a tuxedo provides. It underscores the clean, yet elegant look that a pure white tuxedo would have difficulty accomplishing.
Lapels and Buttons
Contrary to a contemporary tuxedo, the white alternative should be worn with ‘self-lapels’ indicating that the lapels are made of the same fabric as the rest of the jacket. Buttons for the front of the jacket and the jacket cuffs can be made with silk, satin or grosgrain finishing, just as is the case with contemporary jackets.
Warm weather trousers follow the same rules as classic trousers including their black or midnight-blue coloring and wool material. However, because these trousers will be cut for the summer season, they should be constructed from a lighter weight fabric.
The classic pleated tuxedo shirt is typically worn with a white tuxedo.
While the jacket can be white or off-white, the bowtie itself should be a distinct black!
For the white tuxedo, the waistcoat has made way for the cummerbund, given that it covers less space and hence makes the entire outfit more breathable. It is worn only with single-breasted jackets as it would add an unnecessary layer to a double breasted tux. As with the year-round option, the cummerbund is typically made of black silk in a grosgrain or satin finish.
While a year round tuxedo can be worn with classic oxford lace-ups or pump shoes with a grosgrain / satin finish, the white tuxedo is best suited with a pair of pump shoes as it complements the trendy nature of the outfit.
So, for now (hopefully), that’s a wrap on tuxedo wear! As always, please feel free to chime in with suggestions or comments.