April 25, 2013

Tuxedo Accessories – Which Goes With What?

Which formal accessory will tie together your tuxedo ensemble?

Which formal accessory will tie together your tuxedo ensemble?

In order to pull off a flawless look at your next big event, you need to know first what tuxedo accessories are appropriate for each level of formality, as well as which ones tie your outfit together better. Men’s formal wear can be a tricky puzzle for the inexperienced gentleman. There are a few rules that apply to the minor fittings that can help you assemble a stunning ensemble.

“Does a bow tie go well with a vest?”

or,

“Are suspenders too old-fashioned?”

These are a few common queries that can frustrate anyone when they are trying to prepare the right tuxedo to complement their personality. Below is a breakdown of a few interchangeable formal wear accessories that will help you prepare the perfect outfit.

1. Cummerbund or Vest:

The purpose of both of these accessories is to cover your waistband, as is customary in formal wear tradition for it to never show. On the one hand, the cummerbund is far more traditional. It is often worn at events where a certain level of formality is expected and is also considered to be increasingly stylish as it enhances the aura of one’s tuxedo. The vest, on the other hand, imitates the fashion best associated with the modern gentleman. You’ll find the tuxedo vest perfect for an event where you are afraid of looking too over-dressed (if there is such a thing).

2. Bow Tie or Necktie:

Once the decision is made on whether to wear a cummerbund or a vest, the next step is to choose which tie to go with it.  Bow ties match with a cummerbund to achieve a polished formal appearance and are inarguably linked.  It should be noted that they always need to coincide with reference to color.  Meanwhile, the idea of pairing a bow tie and vest isn’t as far-fetched as seeing a cummerbund and necktie. Never will you see those two together. The laid back, less formal duo is the combination of the necktie and vest (don’t have to match in color). Some would even call it a business savvy look, which alone tells you that if you’re attending an event with a very strict dress code, you might want to stay away from this look.

3. Belt or Suspenders:

Once again, another question that intrigues many, but is often left unanswered – what should you use to hold up your tuxedo pants? Wearing suspenders is mostly done by an older (and wiser) age of men, truly a standard lost in time, although the accompaniment that it provides a tuxedo looks fairly dapper. Formal suspenders can be worn with a cummerbund or a vest, while conversely, it is a faux pas to wear a belt with a tuxedo. This is one accessory that does not fall into either do or don’t – instead, it is listed in the long list of NEVER.

There’s a lot to consider while you’re shopping for a tuxedo and the accessories definitely play a key role.  Now that you’re aware of how to go about piecing together your attire, you can successfully  figure out what’s best for your personal look.

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  • David Gonzalez

    This guide is just wrong. Leave wacky color schemes for high school prom. Any color other than black makes you look juvenile. (Except for white but only if the ocasion is “white tie” dress code which is extremely rare.) For a proper guide visit blacktieguide.com but I will address the mistakes in this one here.

    First: vests were worn long before cummerbunds. Cummerbunds only came onto the scene because it was used in military formal wear and somebody decided to cross it over. This false notion comes from using the wrong vests. With formal evening wear you wear a low cut vest. Not the high prom-style ones seen mostly. That being said both cummerbunds and (low cut) vests are equally formal. If you don’t want to dress formal then wear a suit.

    Second: Bow toes are the only way to go. If you wear the proper waist covering you will feel very comfortable in a black bow tie.

    Third: When wearing your tux you don’t wear anything to “hold your pants up” by far the most important thing is to have it well fitted and tailored. That being done your pants will stay put by themselvs. However, if you choose to wear suspenders for style reasons go for it. But never wear a belt as your waist will be covered the whole time
    anyway.

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