Tuxedo shirt styles are painstakingly detailed, and there are different options to consider before purchasing. You’ll save time and money by getting the right tuxedo shirt for your needs and we can help you with that.
First of all, when it comes to weighing your tuxedo shirt options, you need to have your endgame in mind. There are many different types of tuxedo shirts, so it really comes down to how casual or formal, modern or traditional you want your look to be. Learn what to look for in a men’s tuxedo shirt, and find the perfect shirt for your outfit.
We know that in today’s hectic work life it’s hard to find time to learn the difference between piqué and pleated bib shirts. The good news is, a lot of choosing a tux shirt is about personal preference. Knowing the finer points just helps to better align what you want with what you’re wearing.
We created a little cheat sheet for the busy guys here, but we also have a whole guide for the ones who want to become an expert.
For the Busy Ones: The Cheat Sheet
A Quick Q&A:
Q: Should I wear cufflinks?
Q: Does the shirt need to have french cuffs for cufflinks?
A: Usually yes. All french cuffs do require cufflinks or silk knots, like the ones that come included with this shirt.
Q: Should I wear button studs?
A: Only if you’re wearing a bow tie, but they’re not required. However, do make sure that they work with your tuxedo shirt’s placket.
Q: Does my shirt need to have be pleated or does it have to have a wing tip collar to wear with my tux?
A: No, but pleated shirts and wing tips make for a polished, classic look.
Q: How should a tuxedo shirt fit?
A: Two fingers should fit comfortably between your neck and the shirt collar. The sleeves should end at your wrist. And you shouldn’t have a lot of leftover fabric in the waist when it’s tucked in.
and now, moving on to the detailed guide:
Tuxedo Shirt Collar Styles
The collar of a tuxedo shirt can’t be overlooked, because your shirt collar frames your face, and people tend to glance toward faces, so you know, the collar is quite important. Read on to get a better idea of the different types of collars:
This is the most common type of collar, and also the most versatile one. They work well with suits and tuxedos, and both bow ties and neckties. Spread collars also come in a variety of points and angles – from the forward point collar with a narrow spread, to the cutaway collar with a wide spread.
WING TIP COLLAR SHIRT:
The Wing Tip collar gets its name from the fold-out collar points that look like wings. It’s the most formal collar option, designed to be worn with a bow tie and tuxedo. If you are going for a more laid-back look, this one is not the right choice. Don’t wear a wing tip collar shirt with a suit or a necktie.
BAND- AND CLUB SHIRT COLLARS:
A band collar shirt is designed to be worn without a neckwear, which makes it automatically a casual look. Band collars are on the trendier and the bit more edgier side of the tuxedo shirt spectrum. Only wear one with a tuxedo if you are confident in your style, and the event isn’t super formal.
Club collars and button downs are casual. In fact, they are too casual to be worn with a tuxedo. You should save these types of collars for a casual event where you would want to wear your suit to.
Tuxedo Shirt Bib
Some dress shirts have a rectangular panel running down the front of the shirt. This is called a bib and it doubles your shirt’s chest fabric, ensuring that anything visible under your tuxedo jacket is bright white and not see-through. Please do not wear bob-front shirts with a suit and a necktie. Keep this shirt formal with a tuxedo and a bow tie.
PLEATED TUXEDO SHIRT BIB:
Pleated bibs feature vertical pleats that run up both sides of the button placket, and are a traditional detail on tuxedo shirts. A modern, narrow pleat can add a sophisticated twist to an otherwise very traditional look.
RUFFLED TUXEDO SHIRT BIB:
The ruffled tuxedo shirt is a great way to adding personality to your outfit. This shirt shows that you are way ahead of the curve, that your fashion game is very strong and full of personality, and that you are on an entirely different level of style than everyone else.
This is a very minimalistic choice, no bib tuxedo shirts are sleek, modern and simple. If the above mentioned bib shirt feels too proper for your style, then this shirt is perfect for you. If you are worried about missing texture on a no bib shirt, there are other ways to add that to your look (for example: use a tie different type of bow tie).
PIQUÉ TUXEDO SHIRT BIB:
Piqué bibs are made from stiff fabric, which is usually woven with a dimpled pattern, and they are considered slightly more formal than pleated bibs. The piqué weave was originally invented for white tie events, but you have probably worn a polo shirt that had a piqué collar.
SOMETHING TO KNOW:
If your shirt has a chest pocket, it is not a tuxedo shirt. Don’t ever wear it with one.
Tuxedo Shirt Plackets
If you are not super informed about formal shirt designs, you might not know that the placket is the center strip of fabric where a shirt’s buttonholes are situated. Same with different types of collars, you also have different options when it comes to your placket.
This is a style you usually can’t go wrong with. The front placket style is the most common type of placket styles. Here, the fabric is folded over and sewn with a fused interlining for a classic and clean look.
TUXEDO PLACKET (PLAIN FRONT):
This style looks a lot like the below summarized french front, but the top four buttons are removable and exchangeable for tuxedo studs. Please, let this style live up to it’s name, and only wear it with tuxedos. It should never be worn under a suit jacket.
NO PLACKET (FRENCH FRONT):
French front shirts don’t have that folded-over strip of fabric along the buttons. Going placket-less gives your shirt a clearer, more minimalist feel, making it an ideal choice for both formal and casual shirts.
COVERED PLACKET (FLY FRONT):
The covered placket is a formal, modern style of placket in which an extra piece of fabric covers up the buttons on your shirt.
Tuxedo Shirt Cuffs
If your tuxedo jacket is fitted the right way, your shirt cuff will peak out from underneath. Show the other party guests that your perfect fit wasn’t just a coincidence, and put on some thought into your choice of cuff that represent your style and your personality.
The french cuff is a formal shirt cuff that are rolled back and held in place by cufflinks. If you are getting married or if you are going to an event that requires a tuxedo, formal french cuffs will elevate your entire look. Besides, you should take any chance you get to add some stunning cufflinks to your look.
Barrel cuffs don’t require cufflinks, instead they are held closed by regular buttons. However, most barrel cuff dress shirts have modified buttonholes that can also accommodate cufflinks, which would bring up the shirt to tux code.
Tuxedo Shirt Fabrics
Sure, the tuxedo shirt fabric is only a small detail, but don’t sweat the small stuff. Fabric is very crucial when it comes to sweating.
Cotton is a breathable material, which makes it perfect for dress shirts and tuxedo shirts. There is nothing more comfortable, and more classic than a crisp cotton shirt to contrast texture against a wool tuxedo jacket.
Some dress shirts are made out of polyester, which adds durability and wrinkle resistance, but polyester also reduces breathability. That pretty much means that those types of shirt get very sweaty. You might spend a couple of minutes ironing cotton shirt, but at least you can dance the night away in it.
Silk would be the high-end alternative to cotton; Silk is an amazing fabric that is hypoallergenic, it regulates the body temperature and on top of it all it feels extremely smooth and soft against the skin. However, a great quality silk shirt can be very costly.
From cuff to collar, there are many different ways to make a tuxedo shirt your own, simply by adding accessories.
Button studs led your outfit a more formal feel and look. They are only for tuxedo shirts, and are designed to fit into the buttonholes of the shirt placket. Button studs are usually in the colors, silver, brass, gold or black and if you are wearing them with a metallic cufflink you are elevating your look by a whole lot.
Every man should learn how to wear cufflinks. It’s a very simple task, but cufflinks allow you to add personality to your formal outfit. it is okay to have some fun with your cufflinks, but if you are trying to show off your serious side, stick to a metallic style, or keep them minimal with silk knots.
Collar stays hide in a small pocket on the underside of your shirt collar, keeping the edges looking sharp. They also weigh the collar down, making it less likely the edge of your tuxedo jacket will creep up awkwardly under your shirt collar.
Some collar stays are made of precious materials, which seems a bit over-the-top, considering the goal here is for them not to be visible. A heavy plastic stay usually works just as well. The only thing I would like to point out is that you should always get a shirt with removable color stays, so that you can take them out before you are ironing and starching your shirt.
BOW TIE VS. NECKTIE
Bow ties are a tuxedo staple; they are the traditional approach to the question of formal wear. However, not every event has a strict dress code, and modern style means a lot more wiggle room for you own creative personal expression. That means, that you can wear neckties with tuxedos also.
But dress codes and formality are not the only things that you have to consider when dressing up. The style of your tuxedo shirt can help you steer into the right direction of neckwear. Please, don’t wear a necktie with a wing tip collar, and likewise, avoid wearing neckties with pleated or bibbed shirts. Wing tips and bibs are the bow tie’s hometown. And this might go without saying, but just to point it out and to be clear: never wear a neck tie with button studs.
Covering your Waist
One of the traditional rules of a formal dress code is that all the working parts of your entire look must be covered or dresses (this includes the intersection of your shirt and pant waist). While this traditional rule has become more of a guideline than an actual “to-do”, we still find the rule’s offspring in formalwear: vest and cummerbunds.
The cummerbund was originally invented to cover up the awkward shirt bunching that tends to happen around your waistband. Often, when people think and talk about the cummerbund, the word “old-fashioned” comes to mind, and we won’t go out of our way to recommend you wear one. But if you must wear one, match it with your tuxedo. Don’t go crazy with the colors. Keep it solid and simple.
Like a cummerbund, you will usually only wear a low-cut vest (also known as waistcoat) at black tie events. Low-cut vests are viewed as more formal than a typical suit vest. They are also cut lower (hence the name) in the front than a vest you would wear with a suit. The reason for that is to make it possible for you to show off your tux shirt’s bib, studs, and pleats.
If you are looking for a more modern, fashion forward look, ditch the vest and the cummerbund and go bare.
Tuxedo Shirt Colors
Does a tuxedo shirt have to be white? That depends on where you’re wearing it.
There are no hard rules that say you must wear a white shirt at all times when you are wearing a tuxedo, but it is easily the most popular, traditional way to go. It is, however, the only way to go if the event is on the more formal side of the spectrum. So i guess, there is one rule after all lol.
We have seen it before and I am sure you have too. Tuxedos with colored shirt styles, like light pink and light blue. But the white tuxedo shirt’s biggest competition comes from the black shirt. Pairing a black shirt with a tuxedo is a relatively new trend, and it is more casual than the white shirt. So if you are looking to wear a black shirt or any other colored shirt make sure you double check the dress code before you make your final decision on a colored shirt, and never wear one to a black tie event.
Once you have picked your favorite tuxedo shirt style, you will need to make sure that it fits the right way. Here is what to look for:
A good body fit means keeping extra fabric in the waist to a minimum, and enough length for the shirt to stay tucked in. The shirt body size is tied to the neck size of the shirt. Generally, a slim fit shirt will provide a good, tailored fit without requiring too many alterations, but keep your body type in mind. A modern fit or regular fit shirt gives you a bit more room around your waist area to make you feel more comfortable.
Your sleeves should end right at the wrist break. If your sleeves reach your lower thumb knuckles, they are too long. If they do not reach the outer wrist bone, they are too short. Shirt sleeves that end at the wrist leave just enough cuff to peak out from under the tuxedo jacket sleeves. And just just like the body of the shirt, the width of the shirt sleeves are proportionate to the shirt’s neck size. However, you can always get the shirts altered if they don’t fit you the way you want them to.
With the top shirt button fastened, you should be able to comfortably fit one or two fingers between your neck and the collar band of the shirt. If you are the kind of guy who always wears his shirt unbuttoned at the top, this might feel a little tight at first, but the alternative is a sloppy collar and a saggy tie. If every part of your shirt fits well but the collar is just a bit too tight, you could always use a collar extender (this is a small accessory that hides behind your neckwear and adds about half an inch to your collar)