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Style in Singapore: A quick guide to wearing a tuxedo

You’re going to the event of the year, and the dress code is Black Tie. Don’t panic, guys! Here’s a quick and simple guide to dressing for a formal event.



Black tie requires a black bowtie, jacket and trousers, a shirt, shoes, and often a cummerbund. To get all six things right start by answering the following questions:

What’s the theme?

Find out what type of event you are going to. How formal is the event? If it’s a black tie charity event you’ll need a classic tux. But if it’s a Hollywood theme party there’s more scope to be experimental. Knowing the nature of party will help you choose the right rig.


Which colour?
Black is the most popular option and the safest one – everyone looks good in a well-fitting black tux. To up the edginess try midnight blue or navy. Navy looks great against every skin tone and won’t look brown under fluorescent lights like poorer quality black fabrics sometimes can.

What type of jacket?  

Tail or no tail? Single- or double-breasted? Tails will usually be stipulated on the invitation, and if this is the case then someone one else has made your sartorial decision for you. Jacket? You can choose double-breasted, usually with a peak lapels, or single-breasted with peak, notch or shawl lapels. Double-breasted jackets suit taller, more athletic men best; but with a single-breasted jacket, the choice of peak, notch or shawl lapel is down to personal preference. When in doubt, go single-breasted with a notch; one or two buttons, never three. It makes less of a statement and is similar to a conventional suit jacket, which looks great on everyone. Black tux lapels are usually finished in black satin. In the heat of the tropics, off-white dinner jackets are an acceptable alternative – with matching satin lapels, of course.

Which trousers?
Your trousers should be tailored perfectly to your natural waist as they don’t feature belt loops. The length of your trousers is crucial; they should meet the heel of the shoe and rest on the third lace-hole. Formal pants should never be cuffed. A matching satin stripe down the outside seam is the formal standard.
Which shirt?
There are various types of shirts to wear with a tuxedo. Usually white, these variations are mainly in the shirt front, which can be different from the rest of the shirt, featuring pleats, Marcella (piqué), button or stud fastening. Collars are either turndown or wing. Choose a classic wing collar shirt and then coordinate cufflinks and studs to express your personal style.


Yes, always wear proper shoes – the sneakers with formal wear look is so nineties! Well-polished black leather-soled lace-ups will do the trick. The simpler the better, so no monk straps!


Finally, which accessories?
Here’s your chance to add a little of your own style to the ensemble. Use a YouTube video to learn how to tie a proper bow tie so at the end of the night you can wear it undone Daniel “007” Craig-style. Wear a cummerbund (pleats up) or a waistcoat, but never both at the same time. There’s been a trend towards colourful ties, but make sure it matches your cummberbund. Be as daring as your personality allows, then find matching cufflinks.

Still confused? Drop by Mohan’s Custom Tailor at Far East Plaza, #02-73 14 Scotts Road for a consultation. Whether you rent one or have it custom made, choose the tux that makes you look good and feel great.


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