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Tuxedos sit in the top echelons of menswear dressing. Given the sheen, fabrics, silhouettes, and cuts, they’ve always been a quintessential staple for black-tie events, red carpet showing, and the occasional dinner date. While the rules of tuxedo dressing are not as flexible as we would like them to be, a classic suit offers one the sartorial freedom to play with different elements of style. The main difference between the two is that they cater to different social settings.

So, here’s a quick guide to new and updated rules of tuxedo and board-room dressing.

The essential tuxedo suit 
Textured Tuxedo Suit by SS Homme
Textured tuxedo suit by SS Homme

1. In comparison to a staple suit, a tuxedo boasts a satin lapel with rounder edges and cuts. While they’re primarily meant for weddings, black-tie events, and red-carpet ceremonies, the key to mastering tuxedo style is colourplay and texture. While the black lapel will be a constant, and the best way to play around with it would be to indulge in colours like white (think of the Le Smoking jacket), navy, or if you can pull it off, burgundy.  

How to work with colours and details
Try texture-play while maintaining the classic silhouette of a tuxedo

2. Rule two would be to indulge in textures and prints. At first, the idea of a tuxedo having prints might seem absurd, but if played well, it can enhance the rest of the silhouette well. We’ve always loved paisley. Monogram pin-stripes too. Or something as simple as border detailing. In case, this is a bit out of your comfort zone, indulge in staple colours like navy and black, whichever you look best in. This will help you feel confident about what you’re wearing yet allow you to embrace a few stand-out details. 

Rose Pink Suede Tuxedo Jacked by SS Homme
Rose pink suede tuxedo jacket by SS Homme

3. Then there’s colours. We picked out a rose pink tuxedo with lapel detailing as an example. The unconventional pastel shade of pink acted as a base for the sheeny satin lapel, and if you ask us, will look great on men who are willing to go beyond the de riguer. 

4. If textures or bold shades aren’t something you fancy, then focus on detailing. Suit belts and lapel enhancements make for great details. These are features of bespoke treatments, extremely premium and diverse. If we had to pick, a double breasted suit, velvet detailing along the sleeves, a peaked lapel or a simple cuff enhancement, would be our top choices for modern-day tuxedo dressing.

Fuss-free boardroom dressing rules
Business express – classic and clean navy suit with a stand-out tie

5. When it comes to boardroom dressing, the first and most impactful image that comes to mind is a navy pin-striped blazer. Sharp, corporate and bold. Second to this, would be windowpane. And the third, would be the inside out – wearing a printed shirt under a simple blazer. The best colours to go for would be – black, navy, darker shades of brown and a corporate staple, grey.  While doing so, do make it a point to indulge in anti-microbial fabrics, an essential for business travellers this summer.

Business casual – keeping it light yet professional 
Colour play, accessorising and comfort are pillars of business casual dressing

7. Business casual is simply about working with a formal silhouette that belongs to the corporate world and working it down. Instead of trousers, opt for chinos. Instead of cotton, try linen. It isn’t unconventional to sport business casuals to a boardroom meeting.

8. Dressing today also revolves around everything worn around the suit than the suit itself. Be it your pocket square, collar-bar or timepiece. The best colours and shades here would be beige, grey and navy, and worn with patterns of windowpane, tattersall or even houndstooth, on a Friday.  

All images: Courtesy Shutterstock & SS Homme 

Mikhail Gomes
Senior Features Writer
A watch aficionado, Gomes also enjoys learning about fine whiskies, and one day hopes to establish his own menswear label. At Lifestyle Asia India, he writes on watches, menswear, auto and tech.