As party season approaches, thoughts are turning to the occasion-ready outfits we’ll be rocking as we sip champagne and snack on canapés. This year, more than ever, many of us will be looking to make a strong style statement as we do the party rounds, and what better way than to pull out all the stops with a dashing, black-tie-appropriate tuxedo?
More formal than your run-of-the-mill two-piece suit, and commonly worn for black-tie galas, parties, balls and events after 6pm, “a tuxedo is most often distinguished by beautiful satin faced lapels, jets and satin-covered buttons of the jacket, usually with a satin side stripe down the trouser,” says Daisy Knatchbull, founder of Savile Row tailor The Deck, which specialises in bespoke suits for women. “They are most often seen as a single-breasted jacket with a peak lapel and one button fastening.”
“The main fabric is usually a barathea weave made from wool, sometimes mohair,” adds Kimberley Lawton, founder of Lawton Ltd, another female-focused tailor. “A tuxedo can be single- or double-breasted, commonly black or midnight blue. It’s typically paired with a white dress shirt, worn with cufflinks and shirt studs instead of buttons, and a matching bow tie.”
That said, these rules are much less set in stone when it comes to womenswear, leaving you free to experiment with different colours, fabrics and silhouettes. “A burgundy, emerald, or sapphire suit wouldn’t offend anyone,” suggests Lawton. “With texture, you could try velvets. With leg lines, flares or wide legs would work. And you don’t even need to wear a shirt, which would enhance the female form and add a touch of sex appeal.” Knatchbull, meanwhile, recommends “a beautiful silk shirt, camisole or bodysuit to keep your tuxedo looking soft and feminine, topped with a pair of killer heels and good accessories.”
And whether you opt for bespoke or ready-to-wear, there are some key factors that should be considered when choosing your tux. Tailoring, for example, should be first and foremost in your mind when shopping: “go for a strong shoulder, nipped-in waist, single button fastening and slanted pockets,” says Knatchbull. “This will draw the eye to the centre to make you appear longer and slimmer. Make sure the jacket sits below the crotch and the trousers sit at the smallest point of the hips to elongate both top and bottom”.
“A tuxedo should take a closer fit than a business suit for a more elegant silhouette,” advises Lawton. “If you have previously purchased business suits from a specific tailoring house or ready-to-wear store and have been happy with the fit, then invest in a tuxedo from this preferred provider as they will have refined the cut and fit to your liking.”
Elsewhere, considerations should be made in terms of budget and styling, as this is a style that won’t get as much wear as your little black party dress might. “As it will be worn so infrequently, choose timeless style details to ensure that it will be a faithful and relevant wardrobe staple for years to come,” says Lawton. “Consider your budget, and justify either a bespoke or a ready-to-wear tuxedo based on how many black tie invites you’re likely to receive.”
“Often midnight blue is a better option than black as it feels warmer and lifts the complexion,” adds Knatchbull. “Having jetted pockets instead of flaps is often a nice option to keep the sleek silhouette, and ensure the buttonholes are working – it’s often the sign of a well-made suit!”
With all that said, here’s our pick of the best tuxedos for women to make a statement this party season…
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