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Alternatives to the Classic Black Tuxedo

The black tuxedo is to menswear what the little black dress is to womenswear. However, like all fashion, we’re always ready for a fresh new twist on an old classic. Whether you want to wear a tuxedo for a black tie event or whether you’re looking for a tuxedo to attend semi-formal event in, there are lots of ways you can mix up this classic look by just adjusting color and details.

Black and white are paired together in many classic color schemes. While a black tuxedo is usually paired with a white shirt, you can mix up the look by adding black or white detail where it isn’t usually found. For example, you can wear a black tuxedo with a white satin lapel. Then accentuate the look with a white shirt and a black bow tie, or soften the look by wearing a colored shirt and bow tie.

For a different look, you could wear a white tuxedo with a black satin lapel which is somewhat of a reversal of the traditional black tuxedo and white shirt color scheme. For summer events and occasions that don’t have the black tie dress code, a white tuxedo makes a refreshing choice. It has a clean, crisp look and being white, feels cooler to wear in the summer sun than a black tuxedo.

If you need a tuxedo that is suitable for a formal occasion but are bored with the standard choice of black, then a very popular alternative you could consider is the dark grey tux. Dark grey has the sophisticated, smart feel of a black tux and, being those few shades lighter, can flatter the silhouette of the wearer. Dark grey also compliments a wide range of colors if you don’t want to wear a white shirt. For example, it goes particularly well with light blue.

Light grey is another popular choice. Like white, a light grey tuxedo lends itself well to daytime weddings and semi-formal events. It has the advantage over a white tuxedo because light grey is smart enough to be worn through the afternoon and into an evening event. A light grey tuxedo can be paired with the classic white shirt and bow tie, or for a look that is a bit different, you can pair it with a colored shirt. Light grey goes with anything; you can team it with dark colors for a sleek look or pair it with light colors for great summer style.

Another good color choice is a dark blue tuxedo. Like dark grey, it is suitable as an alternative to the black tux for formal events but makes a pleasant change from the usual neutral colors. Wear a dark blue tuxedo with a white shirt and bow tie for just a subtle twist on the classic formal look. Dark blue is not as versatile for pairing with other colors as grey shades are. For example, dark blue goes well with light or bright blue shirts but doesn’t go so well with red shirts.

If you want to depart from the typical formal colors and want to make a bold statement, why not try a bright color? Bright red is an eye catching but grown up color that will help you to stand out from the crowd. You can pair a red tuxedo with a white shirt and then complete the look with either a black or red bow tie.

If you aren’t sure you can pull off bright red but still want to wear a warmer color, you could try a dark red color of tuxedo. A shade such as burgundy is warm and would be perfect for festive, winter events. Dark red tuxedos go well with white shirt and bow ties or wear it with a dark grey or black shirt for a modern but smart twist.

Accessories such as shoes and cufflinks always complete the look. Complete your style with smart black tux shoes, or create a more casual look with shoes of a different color. Cufflinks go with most shirts but for the most impact, match the tone of your tuxedo color. For example, wear gold cufflinks with a red tuxedo as these colors are both warm, or silver cufflinks with a blue tuxedo as these colors are both cool.

Of course, there is one question that we haven’t yet answered: bow tie or long tie? Traditionally and according to dress code, tuxedos should always be accompanied by a bow tie. If you don’t want to wear a black bow tie, you can get bow ties in a variety of colors and patterns to either match or contrast with your tuxedo and shirt colors.

However, a long tie does add a sense of formality to the look and can provide a way for you to easily change your look throughout the day. For example, you could attend a wedding in a dark grey tuxedo with a long tie. Then for the afternoon or evening function, you could switch things up by changing the long tie for a bow tie.

We hope we have given you some ideas here for how you can add a twist to your tuxedo outfit. Sometimes, the traditional black tuxedo with a white shirt and black bow tie will be the best option for the event you’re planning to attend. However, if the event allows, don’t be afraid to try out new options. You can make the most of wearing colors that suit you the best and that reflect your personal style. As we’ve shown here, just a simple color change – even just picking a contrasting lapel color – can make a big impact.