A suit is a set of garments made from same cloth and consists of a jacket and trousers. A suit is ideal for formal occasions and is mostly worn at work during the day. A tuxedo (or tux) is a form of dinner jacket, different from a formal suit and more appropriate for semi-formal evening events or black tie events.

Comparison chart

Suit versus Tuxedo comparison chart
Edit this comparison chartSuitTuxedo
Shirts Plain front shirt, long sleeved with full length buttoned. Tuxedo shirts have pleated front and can be worn with cuff links, studs and other similar accessories.
Jacket Lapels May be made of same material as rest of the jacket. Jacket lapels are covered in satin material.
Trousers No satin stripe on outside of pants. Tuxedo pants feature matching satin stripe going down the outer leg of the pants.
Shoes Smart formal shoes like Oxfords, Derbies or smart slip ons. Shiny patent leather shoes only.
Function Suitable for more conservative and formal affairs like business meetings, weddings, funerals. Suitable for semi formal evening events like prom, wedding parties, charity events, award ceremonies.
Man wearing a Tuxedo
Man wearing a Tuxedo

Origin of Suits and Tuxedos

The early 17th century saw a fashion change from elaborate embroidered clothing to simpler clothing of the Regency period which in turn soon gave way to formal wear of the Victorian era. The 19th century introduced the lounge suit. The word suit is derived from French suite meaning following and from some Late Latin derivative form of the Latin verb "sequor" which means "I follow" since garments making up the suit, like jacket, trousers and waistcoat, follow each other and are made from same cloth material.

Henry Poole made an evening jacket for Prince of Wales to be worn on his trip to Sandringham in 1860. James Potter from Tuxedo Park visited the Prince in 1886 and spent a weekend with him. There he had an evening jacket stitched from Henry Poole & Co. Potter's jacket was a hit with his friends from Tuxedo Park Club in New York. They started to sport the jacket and it soon got to be known as the Tux in America.

Differences in Components and Accessories

President Obama and Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi wearing suits.
President Obama and Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi wearing suits.

Suits are available in many variations based on design, cut, cloth like a two and three piece, or single and double breasted etc. Traditionally they are worn with a collared shirt and necktie. If the wearer is outdoors, a hat could also be worn. A two piece suit has a jacket and trousers while a three piece would have a waist coat in addition. A suit can be stitched or bought ready to wear. Suits are sold in three ways:

A tuxedo essentially consists of the following components a jacket made of silk and contains satin facings on the peak lapels, trousers had silk braids which matched with the lapels, cummerbund or low cut waist coat in black, pleated front white dress shirt, a bow tie in black, dress sock in formal black, shoes in patented polished leather and black in color.

Differences in Style and Stitching

Suits have self faced lapels which are collars that match the material of the suit. The lapel has an indentation similar to notched lapel of tuxedo. There can be two to four buttons on a suit jacket. Button can be made of any material and are not cloth covered. Most formal suits are in black, dark gray, navy blue or brown. Some can have pinstripes. The trousers (pants) may or may not have cuffs. There are belt loops for a thin dress belt and pants are made of the same jacket material. Some suits come with matching vest. The shirt worn with the suit is a basic men’s dress shirt with or without cuff links. Mostly a tie is worn with the suit though a bow tie can also be opted for. Formal leather shoes have to be worn but they need not necessarily be patent leather.

The satin lapel with matching satin stripe on trouser makes a tux different from a suit. The lapels are styled in three different ways, notched, shawl and peak. While the notched lapel has a V indentation and peak lapel has upward shaped v indentation the shawl lapel has none and is usually curved. Traditionally tuxedo jackets are one button jackets though current styles showcase two or three buttons too. Buttons in tuxedos are covered with cloth. The pants have no belt loops and no cuffs. Cummerbund or suspenders are part of the attire. Shirts to be worn can be either pleated or not but studs or cuff links are necessary. Shoes should be of patent leather. Bowtie is matched with a cummerbund while necktie matches the vest. Tuxedos are usually black, dark gray or white jacket with black trousers.

Video Explaining the Differences

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"Suit vs Tuxedo." Diffen.com. Diffen LLC, n.d. Web. 16 Feb 2019. < >