Custom Tailored Tuxedo vs. Custom Tailored Suit for a Wedding

tux vs suit
Wedding season is around the corner, and inevitably your mailbox is flooding with save the dates and elaborate wedding invitations. Whether you’re a guest or maybe even the groom, one of the biggest questions that you’ll face is whether it’s appropriate to wear a tuxedo or a suit to the wedding.

To start, it’s important to know the difference between a tuxedo and a suit. Satin lapels and a satin stripe down the side of the slacks are the distinguishing characteristics of a tuxedo.  Typically, traditional tuxedos are black, white, or even midnight navy. Suits offer more of a variety in color and pattern.

When trying to figure out which option is best, consider these three things: Time, venue and the bride’s gown.


The general rule of thumb for weddings is the later the ceremony, the more formal the event and ultimately the attire.  A wedding is considered to be formal when the ceremony is conducted at 6:00pm or later.  Tuxedos are the most appropriate attire for this kind of event.

A wedding is considered to be semi-formal when the ceremony is conducted during the day (before 6:00PM.)  For this type of ceremony, it is more common for the groom and the attending guests to wear a suit rather than a tuxedo.


Whether you’re getting married in downtown Chicago or have a destination wedding in the Caribbean, its important to consider whether a suit or tuxedo is most appropriate.

Typically, a suit is the best bet for an outdoor wedding.  The more casual the location is, (i.e. beach, park) the more casual the attire.  Don’t be afraid to wear bright colors and bold patterns.

Indoor (i.e. church, ballroom) weddings are generally considered to be more formal and tuxedos are more likely to be appropriate.  If the venue is formal but the ceremony is earlier in the day, a suit is most likely the better choice.  Stick with a darker color and more traditional suit for this type of event.

 Bride’s gown (For Grooms Only)

The length of the bride’s gown is the easiest way to tell whether you should wear a tuxedo or a suit. If she is planning on wearing a short wedding dress, then a tuxedo is much too formal and a suit is the better option.  If she is wearing a long gown, then refer to the two categories above to make your decision.

Sonny BalaniCustom Tailored Tuxedo vs. Custom Tailored Suit for a Wedding
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Custom Suit vs. Off-The-Rack Suit

There are three main factors that separate an off-the-rack suit from a custom suit and they are fit, construction and customization.

1.) Fit

Off-the-rack suits are cut from a generic pattern that is made to “fit” the masses.  Obviously, not all of our body types are the same and the most important aspect of a jacket is having the correct shoulder structure.  Usually, patterns run in basic shoulder, chest and length sizes.  One of the issues most people face is that a 40R jacket likely won’t fit the same on someone who is 5’6” versus someone who is 6’.

When purchasing a custom suit, the first thing a tailor identifies is your personal shoulder structure along with taking a very specific set of measurements.  From these measurements, a suit pattern is created and then the suit fabric is cut based upon your established pattern.  This process is called bespoke, which allows the suit to fit and mold to your body properly.

2.) Customization

When deliberating between a bespoke and off-the-rack suit, one huge difference is the capability of customization.  The bespoke process allows you to have complete control over the final design and look of your suit.  It gives you the opportunity to design the cut of your suit, the lapel width, the pocket style and even the buttonhole stitching color.  When purchasing an off-the-rack suit, what you see is what you get.  You have zero capabilities to design the look of your suit, and ultimately you are stuck with whatever is available for better or worse.

3.) Construction

The canvas of a suit is usually one of the most significant ways to distinguish a custom suit from an off-the-rack suit.  Canvas is the skeleton of the jacket and it provides the signature structure and drape of a suit jacket.  All off-the-rack suits fuse/glue the canvas to the suit fabric.  The problem with this is that over time, the glue will come undone from dry cleaning and you will begin to notice bubbling and rippling in the lapel.  Fusing also seriously compromises the drape of the jacket.  When a suit is bespoke, the canvas is hand sewn into the jacket allowing the drape to flow properly and eliminating any potential for rippling.

Sonny BalaniCustom Suit vs. Off-The-Rack Suit
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