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Suit vs. Tuxedo: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 25, 2023
A suit is a set of matching jacket and trousers, often worn for business; a tuxedo is a formal evening suit with satin or grosgrain lapels.

Key Differences

A suit, typically consisting of a jacket and matching trousers, is a versatile attire appropriate for various occasions, from business meetings to casual outings. In contrast, a tuxedo, often distinguished by its satin or grosgrain lapels, buttons, and stripe on the trousers, is primarily worn for formal evening events.
Suits come in a variety of fabrics, colors, and patterns, catering to everyday wear and semi-formal functions. Tuxedos, on the other hand, are typically found in darker shades like black or midnight blue and are reserved for black-tie events.
While a suit can be paired with a range of shirts, ties, and shoes, a tuxedo is traditionally worn with a white dress shirt, bow tie, and patent leather shoes. The formality of the tuxedo is further emphasized by accessories like cummerbunds or low-cut waistcoats.
Both suits and tuxedos play significant roles in men's fashion. However, while a suit offers flexibility for various occasions, a tuxedo stands out as the epitome of evening elegance and is often the choice for gala events, weddings, and award ceremonies.

Comparison Chart


Versatile, everyday to semi-formal
Strictly formal evening wear


Varying fabrics, colors
Satin/grosgrain lapels, stripe on trousers

Common Accessories

Ties, leather shoes
Bow ties, cummerbunds, patent leather shoes


Business, casual, semi-formal
Black-tie events, gala, weddings


Can vary in formality
Always high in formality

Suit and Tuxedo Definitions


A set of matching jacket and trousers.
He wore a gray suit to the interview.


A suit characterized by satin or grosgrain lapels.
The tuxedo's satin lapels caught the light beautifully.


Clothes worn for a specific purpose.
She put on a diving suit for the underwater exploration.


A formal evening suit for men.
He looked dashing in his black tuxedo.


A petition or complaint in a court of law.
The tenant filed a suit against the landlord.


A jacket of a formal evening suit, often black.
He decided to pair the tuxedo with a bright bow tie.


The act of being suitable or appropriate.
The job seems to suit him well.


Attire worn for black-tie events.
Tuxedos are a must for the annual gala.


One of the four sets in a deck of cards.
He drew a card from the suit of hearts.


Formalwear often chosen for weddings.
The groomsmen will be wearing navy tuxedos.


A set of matching outer garments, especially one consisting of a coat with trousers or a skirt, often worn on formal occasions.


A dress jacket, usually black with satin or grosgrain lapels, worn for formal or semiformal occasions. Also called dinner jacket.


Can a suit be worn without a tie?

Yes, suits can be styled without ties for a more casual look.

When should one wear a tuxedo?

Tuxedos are for formal evening events like black-tie affairs, galas, and weddings.

What occasions are suits typically worn for?

Suits can be worn for business, casual outings, and semi-formal occasions.

What shoes go best with tuxedos?

Traditionally, patent leather shoes are paired with tuxedos.

Do tuxedos always have satin elements?

Most traditional tuxedos have satin or grosgrain lapels, buttons, and a side stripe on trousers.

Can suits be tailored?

Yes, many people get suits tailored for a perfect fit.

What's the difference between a suit jacket and blazer?

Suit jackets are made to match trousers, while blazers are standalone jackets often with more casual details.

How many buttons should a suit have?

Suits can vary, but common styles include one-button, two-button, or three-button designs.

Are tuxedos only black?

While black is most common, tuxedos can also be in shades like midnight blue.

Can a suit jacket be worn with jeans?

Yes, pairing a suit jacket with jeans is a popular casual style.

Are tuxedo shirts different from regular dress shirts?

Yes, tuxedo shirts typically have pleats, winged collars, and may have stud buttons.

Is a tuxedo the same as a dinner jacket?

In American English, "tuxedo" often refers to the whole ensemble, while "dinner jacket" can refer to just the jacket.

Can tuxedos be rented?

Yes, many opt to rent tuxedos, especially for one-time events.

Can suits have patterns?

Yes, suits can come in various patterns like stripes, checks, and herringbone.

Is a bow tie mandatory with a tuxedo?

Traditionally, tuxedos are paired with bow ties, but modern styles might vary.

Are cummerbunds essential with tuxedos?

Not always, but cummerbunds or waistcoats are traditional tuxedo accessories.

Can women wear suits?

Absolutely, women's suits are a popular and stylish choice for various occasions.

Are pocket squares a must with suits?

No, pocket squares are optional but can add a touch of elegance to a suit.

How should a suit fit?

A suit should fit snugly but comfortably, with clean lines and no bunching of fabric.

What color are most suits?

Suits come in a variety of colors, but common ones are black, gray, blue, and brown.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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