Men's Formal Wear Glossary

It all began in 1886 when the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, began wearing a short black jacket in place of a formal tailcoat.  An American guest of the prince, a Mr. James Brown Potter, brought the look to the states, where he made a dashing presence at the Tuxedo Club in Tuxedo Falls, New York.  Soon the new style became known as, "What they're wearing to dinner in Tuxedo."  And so the new jacket had a name - THE TUXEDO!

Here are a few formalwear terms to help you make your choice. Click on the picture to see an example of a tuxedo available for rental.

Lapel Styles

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Notch Lapel Peak Lapel Shawl Lapel

Jacket Styles

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Tuxedo   The word generally used to refer to all men's formalwear refers to a suit-length coat with satin lapels available in single or double breasted styles. Traditionally, this style is worn for informal evening weddings, however, this style has now become the modern standard for ceremonies taking place at all hours.

Dinner Jacket   The dinner jacket is a white or ivory coat worn with black formal trousers.  While styling may vary depending on the designer, a traditional dinner jacket will have a shawl collar. The dinner jacket is often worn instead of a tuxedo in warmer and climates.

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Full dress tails   Also known as the tailcoat, this version is short in front and long in back, and is traditionally worn for formal evening weddings (after 6 p.m.) with a white piqué shirt, vest, and bow tie.

Cutaway  The cutaway is a formal daytime tailcoat with very smooth lines and is usually grey or black.  It is often referred to as a "morning coat" and is worn for formal daytime weddings (up to 6 p.m.).

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Stroller  A cousin to the cutaway, this short coat is worn for informal morning and afternoon weddings.  Traditionally, the stroller has the same cut as the tuxedo, but is usually grey rather than black and does not have satin lapels.

Shirt Collars

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Wing Collar
(Also called a wing-tip collar)

Laydown Collar
(Also called a turndown or point collar)


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Bow Tie
The most formal style of tie, the bow tie is normally worn with a wing collar shirt.
Four-In-Hand Tie
Also called a Windsor tie, this style of tie is normally worn with a point collar shirt.
This style of tie is normally worn with a wing-collar shirt, and traditionally with a cutaway jacket.