Skip to content, or skip to search.

Tuxedo Lexicon

Picking out a tux can be a dizzying task-especially for the gentleman who prefers pajamas to partywear. So the groom can talk the talk, here are a few key terms.


Full Dress
The maximum degree of formality: evening events only and must include a white tie and tailcoat.

Tailcoat (Also: Tails) Buttons at the waist but cuts away at the legs so that there are two strips of cloth hanging down. A similar style is a morning coat (or cutaway), which tapers from the front button to the back tail and is worn at daytime weddings.

Tuxedo
A matching formal coat and pants, defined by the satin stripe down the leg and accompanied by a bow tie and cummerbund or waistcoat. These coats can be double-breasted (good for skinny types) or single-breasted (for the robust).

Collars
A lay-down collar is the fold-down collar typical of a button-down. A mandarin collar stands up around the neck and has no folds. A wing tip is a mandarin with two tiny triangles that fold down on each end near the throat.

Ascot
A wide tie that goes around the neck like a scarf, then folds over the top. Reminiscent of a nineteenth-century British gentleman.

Cummerbund
A piece of cloth that wraps around your waist, worn with the pleats pointing upward. Should match your bow tie.

Waistcoat
Another term for a vest. Considered a fractional step down in formality from a cummerbund. Should coordinate in color or pattern with the bow tie. Also commonly worn with a traditional tie.

Buttons
Single-breasted tuxedos have one, two, or three buttons. Adding a button makes the coat higher set, so the taller you are, the more buttons you can get away with.

Notched Lapel
Gets wider from button to shoulder and has a notch near the top. Usually worn with a black bow tie and cummerbund. Very traditional.

Shawl Lapel A rounded lapel that runs without a break from the top button all the way around the neck and back down the front. Usually worn with a lay-down-collar shirt and a cravat. Very fashion-forward.

Peaked Lapel
The lapel sweeps upward from the button and becomes wider until it ends in a point near the shoulder. Very Count Dracula.

From the Spring 2005 New York Wedding Guide

SEND UPDATES

Spot an error in a listing or want to suggest an update? Contact us.

New York Weddings Event
Advertising
Order the Weddings Issue Today

Cover of New York Magazine's Summer 2014 Wedding issue

Order This Issue