A Glossary of Tuxedo Terms and Wedding Tuxedo Styles

Was the senior prom the last time you donned a tux? Not sure what type of tuxedo to choose, or even what’s available? Stay tuned for the tuxedo 411.
Groom in tuxedo with bowtie
Photo by Marta Locklear Photography


Tuxedo, a.k.a. tux
This is by far the most common, most classic tux jacket, and is worn at formal and semiformal events. There are a surprising number of choices to make when picking a classic jacket. You can go single-breasted (with a one- to four-button front) or double-breasted (with a two- to six-button front). There are three types of lapels: peaked, notched, or shawl (see below for more lapel info).

Full dress, a.k.a. tails or tailcoat
This style jacket is cropped in front, with two tails in the back and a two- to six-button front. Generally worn at ultra-formal evening weddings.

Mandarin, a.k.a. Nehru jacket, Mao jacket
This jacket features a stand-up collar with no lapel and is worn with a Mandarin-collared shirt. Hint: This combo provides a sneaky way to avoid wearing a tie.

Cutaway, a.k.a. morning coat
For formal daytime weddings, the groom wears the cutaway coat -- short in the front, long in the back, and tapering from the front waist button to a wide back tail. Cutaway jackets are either black or gray and are worn with matching striped trousers.

Stroller coat
This is a semi-formal suit jacket cut like a tuxedo. Usually charcoal gray or black and typically worn at weddings that take place before 4p.m.


Notched lapel
This lapel features a triangular indention where the lapel joins the collar. This is considered the least formal lapel style.

Shawl collar
This is a smooth, rounded lapel with no notch.

Peaked lapel
This broad, V-shaped lapel points up and out just below the collar line.


If you choose a formal tuxedo, your trousers should match your jacket in style and color. If you'll be in a formal daytime wedding and will wear a stroller coat or cutaway coat, wear gray or gray pinstriped trousers.

Shirt Collars

Wing collar
The most formal choice and the collar style most often worn with tuxedo jackets, this stand-up collar has downward points.

This collar style crosses in front and is fastened with a shiny button.

Mandarin collar, a.k.a. band collar
This collar stands up around the neck and is the most contemporary-style tuxedo shirt. If ties remind you of a hangman's noose, you'll love this option, since you can wear it without a tie.

Spread collar
This resembles a standard button-front shirt but features a wide division between points in front. The wider collar looks great with a Euro tie or a standard necktie tied in a Windsor knot.


As for sleeve cuffs, you have a few options: standard dress-shirt cuffs held together with cuff links; French cuffs, which are folded over and closed with cuff links; and cuffs that close with a button. The choice is yours, but, in general, formal shirts call for cuff links.


Bow tie
The thing to wear with a classic tux. Bow ties come in several colors besides basic black --- white is reserved for super-formal events, and colored bow ties are suitable for any occasion.

You can also wear a classic tie with your tux, to create a more casual -- yet still elegant -- wedding look. Pick a silk tie in silver or blue, which will be dressy enough to stand up to a tux.

Ascot tie
This wide, formal tie is usually patterned, folded over, and fastened with a stickpin or tie tack. Usually reserved for ultra-formal daytime weddings and worn with a cutaway coat and striped gray trousers.

Bolo tie
You go, cowboy! If you're having a Western-themed wedding, live in Santa Fe, or are a working broncobuster, this stringy tie is for you. But if your bride has visions of Breakfast at Tiffany's dancing in her head, think again before breaking out your bolo tie for the wedding, and go instead for something more classic.

Euro tie
This is a hybrid between an ascot tie and a regular, run-of-the-mill necktie. It's a long, square-bottomed tie knotted at the neck and worn with a wing collar or spread collar shirt. The Euro offers a more formal look that's not as all-out as an ascot.


Vests, a.k.a. waistcoats
For an ultra-formal evening wedding, clad yourself in a white tie and waistcoat. Or choose a colored waistcoat instead of a cummerbund for the Four Weddings and a Funeral look, popular in Britain. Vests let men in the wedding party lend a bit of personality to their looks.

These are pleated swatches of fabric worn around the waist when you're not wearing a vest. Usually basic black, but you can choose a colored cummerbund to match the bridesmaid dresses or the wedding colors.

Cuff links
Use these little babies to add a personal touch to your wedding ensemble. If you want outlandish, try a set of magic-eight-ball cuff links. If simple elegance is your style, stick with black cuff links outlined in gold. Who knows? Maybe your bride will give you a set as a gift on the big day.