Suit Overkill
June 2, 2009 3:17 PM   Subscribe

Can I wear a tuxedo shirt with a normal suit jacket?

I'm attending a reception being thrown for me in another city, a little while after my actual wedding ceremony. I have a black suit with subtle white pinstripes (from a distance the suit looks black) that I wanted to wear instead of buying a whole new suit, so I bought a black and white tie that looks fairly formal. All I needed now was a different shirt.

I wanted to get a new white shirt to go with it, like a normal office-style shirt but maybe of slightly better material, but ended up picking up a tuxedo shirt (with the vertical pleats) and cufflinks, based on the saleswoman telling me that some people wore tuxedo shirts with normal suit jackets if they wanted to have a get-up that wasn't fully formal, but now I'm wondering if anyone actually does this. I've tried to find some reference on the web to wearing tuxedo shirts with a typical suit jacket but haven't really found much. What's the dapper man's take on this? Am I going to look like a clown with this mix of clothes?

I still have the option to return everything, so I'm not too worried but it'd be nice to have more of a clue about this.
posted by Big Fat Tycoon to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (11 answers total)
I would not do this. If you want a "tuxedo lite" option, I would wear your black suit with a nice white shirt (your intention to get a nicer-than-office-shirt was probably a good one -- definitely a point or spread collar, no buttondowns or oxfords).
posted by rossination at 3:24 PM on June 2, 2009

At best, you'll look eccentric (no shame in that!). But more likely, it'll look like you couldn't afford an actual tuxedo jacket. I think people would assume the latter, given that you're already participating in a tuxy kind of event. They'd probably assume the former if you were out at a bar or a concert or something.

In your position, I'd return the tux shirt, and instead pick up a nice white french-cuff shirt without the tux pleats.
posted by Greg Nog at 3:31 PM on June 2, 2009

I totally agree with rossination. A nice white shirt would be way better than a tuxedo shirt with your regular suit. And it's plenty formal, if that's what you're after.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 3:32 PM on June 2, 2009

My guess is that the saleswoman was trying to get you to buy a more expensive shirt than you otherwise would have. Either that, or she's an idiot.

If I'm picturing this outfit right, I think you'll look silly.
posted by decathecting at 3:36 PM on June 2, 2009

(PS - if you go with a regular French-cuff shirt as a replacement for the tuxedo shirt, you still get to wear the cufflinks, and then you can fantasize about buying other cufflinks to go with that shirt in the future, so it's a pretty rad move all around.)
posted by Greg Nog at 3:43 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

posted by wayofthedodo at 3:46 PM on June 2, 2009

If the reception is before 6 PM, you're better off wearing a regular sack suit (business suit) rather than a tuxedo anyways (I consider it unlikely that you own a morning suit, but not your own tuxedo.)

You don't mention whether your new tie is a bow tie, but if it is, consider that any man who wears a bow tie other than with formal clothes (a regular suit doesn't count as "formal" in this context) is making a statement.
posted by Jahaza at 4:09 PM on June 2, 2009

A black and white tie? I hope you're not talking zebra print.

I'm with everyone else here, the tux shirt under a regular suit jacket will just look crummy.

A standard white shirt will be fine. (Even a very cheap, yet fresh pressed shirt will look better than your tux shirt.)

How formal is this event? Is it black tie? If so you're in need of a tux. Not many ways to substitute that. I think monochrome business attire looks pretty bad, and you shouldn't try to approximate a "tux look" with a business suit if you can avoid it.

If it's a dress up event, but casual atmosphere you could even show up sans tie. (Indeed, it is always better to wear no tie rather than an ugly one.) Then again, no tie with a dark pin stripe suit can be it's own problem.
posted by wfrgms at 4:26 PM on June 2, 2009

Thanks for the answers thus far -- I was already leaning to returning it and wondered why I deviated from my script, but this just confirms it.

As for the tie, it's not a bow tie, it's the uh.. "normal" tie? It's not zebra print, it's just got sort of geometric silver, white and black patterns that at least in my opinion look decent with a non-tuxedo white shirt (I've already tested this out with all the people that matter, anyhow).
posted by Big Fat Tycoon at 4:50 PM on June 2, 2009

Return the ruffled shirt.

No one I know at any of the black tie events I've been to recently has worn a tuxedo with a ruffled white shirt.

What they have done is either (1) worn a black suit with a white shirt with french cuff links and a solid black tie or a bow tie; or (2) worn an actual tuxedo with a white shirt with french cuff links and a solid black tie or a bow tie.

I suppose if you were trying to be adventurous or fashion forward and have a confident sense of fashion you could pull something like this off, but from your post that doesn't sound like who you are (please don't take that as an insult; I intend it merely as a statement of fact.)
posted by dfriedman at 5:34 PM on June 2, 2009

I think that a nice white, grey or black shirt will probably look great. I'd keep the tux shirt if it wasn't stupidly expensive, and if you can pull off the dinner shirt and jeans look.
posted by dantodd at 11:03 PM on June 2, 2009

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