Introduction

As far as wardrobe staples go, the tuxedo jacket is a bastion of timeless style, forming the cornerstone of one of the last rigid dress codes we sartorially inclined men must adhere to.

The black tie tuxedo may be the norm when it comes to the majority of formal events, but in recent years it has broken through these stiff barriers and demonstrated itself to be a versatile wardrobe weapon. Capable of working equally well in a more casual setting, the tuxedo jacket is now as comfortable paired with sleek satin striped trousers as it is with well-fitting denim.

Today, we aim to showcase the full range of looks that the tuxedo jacket has to offer, for those men willing to take a more modern approach with this tried and tested black tie favourite.

How To Wear The Tuxedo Jacket: Smart

Before taking the plunge with the jacket in a casual environment, it’s important to understand the more traditional outfits the dinner jacket is primarily associated with:

Men's Tuxedo Jacket Lookbook - Smart

Look One: Traditional Tuxedo

A black tuxedo jacket paired with accompanying trousers is a shining example of sleek, timeless style. The formal attire of choice for style icons from the red carpet to the silver screen, this evening wear coupling is the very definition of debonair.

Break up the dark backdrop of the suit with a crisp white dinner shirt; bib detailing is essential. Accessorise with an ever dapper bow tie and pocket square combination. In previous years a cummerbund would have been de rigueur, however, nowadays it’s a far more optional addition.

Footwear wise, you can’t go wrong with classic black patent leather. Suede slippers are a bolder option but nonetheless one definitely worth considering.

  • Paul Smith London White Bib Front Fitted ShirtPaul Smith London White Bib Front Fitted Shirt
  • Topman Black Self Tie Bow TieTopman Black Self Tie Bow Tie
  • Sandro Wool Tuxedo JacketSandro Wool Tuxedo Jacket
  • Reiss Icarus Plain Silk Pocket Square WhiteReiss Icarus Plain Silk Pocket Square White
  • Sandro Satin-trimmed Wool TrousersSandro Satin-trimmed Wool Trousers
  • Reiss Toronto Double Sole Toe Cap Derby Shoes BlackReiss Toronto Double Sole Toe Cap Derby Shoes Black
Look Two: Tuxedo Talking Point

Mix up this formalwear favourite by opting for a bold coloured version, sharp accessories and dandy-esque footwear selection. A burgundy tuxedo is a solid option, particularly as the tone has enjoyed a meteoric rise in tailoring over the last year.

Keep the shirt nice, simple and, above all, plain white. This provides a neutral canvas to which you can add individuality through your choice of tie. A printed version is both on trend and makes for a great focal point alongside the suit – just be wary not to clash your suit with the tie; it’s all about understanding your basic colour principles.

Add a pocket square and finish off with some velvet slippers.

  • Reiss Dash Satin Stripe Shirt WhiteReiss Dash Satin Stripe Shirt White
  • Asos Skinny Fit Tuxedo Suit Jacket In Burgundy PolywoolAsos Skinny Fit Tuxedo Suit Jacket In Burgundy Polywool
  • Alexander Mcqueen Skull-patterned Woven-silk TieAlexander Mcqueen Skull-patterned Woven-silk Tie
  • Topman Off White Pocket SquareTopman Off White Pocket Square
  • Asos Skinny Fit Tuxedo Suit Trousers In PolywoolAsos Skinny Fit Tuxedo Suit Trousers In Polywool
  • Stubbs & Wootton Velvet SlippersStubbs & Wootton Velvet Slippers
How To Wear The Tuxedo Jacket: Smart-Casual

With the classic formal approach out of the way, it’s time to focus on dressing down your tuxedo jacket. The strong contrast a tux jacket brings to a predominantly casual outfit makes it the immediate focal point. The lookbook below demonstrates a good level of versatility for the use of the tuxedo as a smart-casual option:

Men's Tuxedo Jacket Lookbook - Smart-Casual

Look One: Not-So Canadian Tuxedo

Pair your tuxedo jacket with the ultimate definer of casual wear – denim. The contrast between the sleek blazer and rugged jean is vast, so keep them as smart as possible: dark wash, slim cut, well-fitting denim is the best way to go about this.

Dark indigo is a firm FashionBeans’ favourite and well worth considering here. A simple patterned shirt is a great middleman and keeps the outfit on the right smart-casual balance.

Stylish loafers again reinforces this dressed down aesthetic while a pocket square is an optional accessory to swing it either way – at this point it’s down to personal preference.

  • Allsaints Tokai ShirtAllsaints Tokai Shirt
  • Selected Blazer With Contrast LapelSelected Blazer With Contrast Lapel
  • Levis Broken Raw Rinse 510 Skinny JeansLevis Broken Raw Rinse 510 Skinny Jeans
  • Topman Hudson Tyskatu LoaferTopman Hudson Tyskatu Loafer
Look Two: Not So Black Tie

Introduce colour to what is usually a muted affair with some bold trousers. Look to either contrast or complement the (likely) dark tuxedo jacket, allowing them to become the true focal point. Equally, you could tone the look down with more refined, autumnal inspired hues – think burgundy, camel or olive.

In this instance, we’ve opted to pair the blazer with some slightly more vibrant trousers than you would expect to be found alongside this classic item. A simple t-shirt underneath the blazer is the way forward here – the trousers and the jacket are enough of a statement when the ethos is casual.

Keep the shoes simple; double-monks have enjoyed a moment over the last year and going into 2013 they show no sign of waning.

  • Allsaints Ranger Crew T-shirtAllsaints Ranger Crew T-shirt
  • Topman Black Textured Tux Suit JacketTopman Black Textured Tux Suit Jacket
  • Paul Smith Slim-fit Cotton-twill TrousersPaul Smith Slim-fit Cotton-twill Trousers
  • Grenson Ellery Black Monk BroguesGrenson Ellery Black Monk Brogues
Current Men’s Tuxedo Jackets
  • Derbyshire Black Tailored Fit Shawl Collar Dinner JacketDerbyshire Black Tailored Fit Shawl Collar Dinner Jacket
  • Asos Slim Fit Tuxedo Suit Jacket In WhiteAsos Slim Fit Tuxedo Suit Jacket In White
  • Asos Double Breasted Tuxedo Suit JacketAsos Double Breasted Tuxedo Suit Jacket
  • Austin Reed Slim Fit Navy Tuxedo JacketAustin Reed Slim Fit Navy Tuxedo Jacket
  • Austin Reed Regular Fit Shawl Collar Dress JacketAustin Reed Regular Fit Shawl Collar Dress Jacket
  • Diesel Tux Jacket JemayaDiesel Tux Jacket Jemaya
  • Marc By Marc Jacobs Black Wool Gil Tuxedo BlazerMarc By Marc Jacobs Black Wool Gil Tuxedo Blazer
  • Wolsey 1755 Navy Wool Cashmere Spence Tux BlazerWolsey 1755 Navy Wool Cashmere Spence Tux Blazer
  • Acne Drifter Slim-fit Mohair-blend Tuxedo JacketAcne Drifter Slim-fit Mohair-blend Tuxedo Jacket
Final Word

Even in its habitual setting, the top half of your most ceremonial outfit should reveal more about you as a man than any other ensemble. However you choose to wear your jacket, whether you adhere to tradition or give it a contemporary spin, ensure the essence of black tie remains.

Now, have your say:

  • What is your take on dressing down the tuxedo?
  • How would you style it in a casual manner?
  • How about a more traditional formal take?

Let us know in the comments section…