When you hear about a midnight blue tuxedo, you probably think of your dad’s 1970s powder blue tux with ruffles.
Times have changed! Blue tuxedos have made a comeback in a huge way.
Today, it is possible to achieve a highly formal and polished look without wearing a standard black tuxedo.
Blue tuxedos can range in hue and convey different looks. A blue tuxedo is an excellent alternative to traditional black, from a flashy, bright blue to a subdued sophisticated dark blue.
Royal Blue vs. Midnight Blue Tuxedos
If I’m not talking about your father’s baby blue disco tux, what other blue is there? There are multiple shades of blue, and you can find just about each of them represented in formal wear.
In this article, we’ll focus on royal blue and midnight blue. So, what’s the difference?
Royal blue is a rather electrifying, unique shade. Wearing this hue will really separate you from the crowd. It is cheery, where most other tuxedos are somber. Royal blue is definitely a party color.
Midnight blue, on the other hand, is a more sober and subdued shade. Akin to navy blue, this color is more along the lines of a traditional tuxedo color.
Sometimes, it seems dark enough to be black, but the difference is clear when compared. Midnight blue will still stand out among a sea of black suits and tuxedos.
How to Wear a Blue Tuxedo
Congratulations! You’ve picked out your dapper blue tuxedo. But wait, your work isn’t done. Now you need to figure out how you’re going to pull this off.
Shop The Look
The cut of your tuxedo affects your overall look. Just like your dad’s 1970s ruffles, what you do with the fabric of your suit makes a significant difference. So first, consider the fit of your tux.
A slim-fit tuxedo is very modern-looking. It’s slightly tighter than your standard suit; it’s a clean, streamlined look. A regular fit, on the other hand, is more traditional and looks incredibly classic.
And what about your lapels? The most elegant and formal lapel option for tuxedos is peak lapels. These are slightly longer than standard lapels and end in an upward-facing peak.
The second option is a shawl lapel. These have a more laid-back vibe and are reminiscent of a smoking jacket. Notch lapels are also acceptable on a tuxedo jacket but are somewhat less formal.
The tuxedo doesn’t do all the work in creating your look. From accessories to suit essentials, every choice you make will impact your new tuxedo. Likewise, each choice you make will dictate how your tuxedo comes across to others.
Pair it With a White Tuxedo Shirt
You need the right tuxedo shirt to tie your tuxedo jacket and pants together.
You have many options and styles to choose from, but a standard dress shirt is not one of them. That’s because a tuxedo shirt is different from your average business suit shirt.
One traditional look for a tuxedo shirt is a wing collar. A wing collar has very short tips that point out, rather than down, making room to showcase your bow tie. It’s one of the most formal collar options for your tuxedo shirt.
If you are going for a more modern affectation, you can ditch the wing collar and try out a turn-down collar tuxedo shirt.
Turn down collars can be spread or semi-spread. These refer to how wide the points on the collar are and the distance between them for the bow tie.
The details on your tuxedo shirt are essential. Many tuxedo shirts have a standard barrel cuff or for an extra twist of elegance, try out French cuffs. These will really stand out from your everyday business wear.
Another significant difference between a tuxedo shirt and a business dress shirt is the placket. A tuxedo placket is the starched piece of extra fabric down the front of the shirt where you can insert your tuxedo studs in place of buttons.
Plackets can be smooth or pleated for extra style.
A Black Bow Tie is a Must
No matter how lovely the shade of blue is on your tuxedo, your bow tie absolutely needs to be black.
A blue bow tie that perfectly matches your blue tuxedo jacket would look kitschy or as if you are headed off to your senior prom. The black is necessary to temper the blue and ground the colors.
The dress code is called “black-tie” for a reason. It is acceptable to deviate from wearing a black bow tie if your tuxedo is black.
However, you need to reign it back in if your tuxedo is a different color. There are still rules to follow, even if you are bending them a bit.
Black Cummerbund for Extra Style
If you aren’t used to wearing tuxedos, you may not be familiar with the cummerbund. This is an optional part of your tuxedo. It’s a pleated sash worn around your waist, with the pleats facing upwards.
A buckle in the back secures the cummerbund. It can be worn in place of a waistcoat, but never, ever with one. Alternatively, you can go without either.
Again, you don’t want to match colors with your blue tuxedo jacket. A black cummerbund is a much more mature appearance.
The black on the cummerbund is also vital to help break up the blue in your tuxedo. You don’t want to be overwhelmed by blue, but to have just a touch of it.
Suspenders to Rock a Blue Tuxedo
Here’s a hard and fast rule for tuxedo pants: don’t ever wear a belt. In fact, your tuxedo pants shouldn’t even have belt loops.
If your pants feel a little loose around your waist, now is a great time to break out the suspenders.
Heck, break them out even if your pants fit you just fine. They are a very dapper-looking touch to any tuxedo. In addition, they add a hidden dash of fun when you take off your tuxedo jacket.
Just as with the other accessories, black is a great choice to go with your blue tuxedo, though not required. White suspenders against your white tuxedo shirt look very elegant and classy.
Solid colors aren’t your only option with suspenders. There’s no rule against patterned suspenders, as long as they complement your blue tuxedo. Paisley or polka dots, for example, can provide a contemporary twist to your formal wear.
No matter what color you opt for, suspenders never fail to look chic. And don’t feel you have to ditch them in favor of the cummerbund!
A cummerbund isn’t a belt, so it’s perfectly acceptable to wear both together. Just remember that the cummerbund goes over the suspenders.
Appropriate Formal Footwear
Loafers and formal slippers are the most desirable and formal choices to wear with your blue tuxedo.
If the weather is cooperative (in other words, dry), velvet is an amazing choice of material for your shoes. Patent leather is also an excellent formal material.
Your loafers or formal slippers can be black, but it is also acceptable to opt for dark blue here.
If loafers aren’t your thing, Oxford shoes make an excellent second choice for your footwear. They are also formal and look very stylish. Patent leather would be ideal, with leather being another good option.
Finally, derby shoes would be acceptable, though slightly less formal than the first two options. Just be sure that they don’t have any broguing on them, which lowers their formality level.
While you are required to ditch the socks if you are wearing formal slippers or loafers, not so with the other two shoe selections. Thus, you need to wear black dress socks with all other formal footwear.
Wear a Dress Watch with Your Blue Tuxedo
In this age of smartphones, watches can feel like an endangered species. This is such a shame because they are so much more stylish and refined than a smartphone in your back pocket.
So instead, consider upgrading your blue tuxedo with a proper dress watch and leave the phone at home.
A dress watch is a suave touch to any formal outfit. It may harken back to an older, simpler time, but it also speaks volumes about your elegance.
The watch you wear with your tuxedo should be very simple and minimalistic. A plain black leather band is the dressiest look for your watch. The face should be unembellished, just plain and modest.
You don’t want to draw attention to your watch; it should be unassuming and almost unnoticeable. Ideally, it will slide seamlessly under your shirt sleeve, only peeking out as you move your arm.
Match the Cufflinks and Button Studs
Another excellent reason to wear French cuffs on your tuxedo shirt, aside from how classy they look, is that they give you another opportunity to accessorize.
Cufflinks come in many forms, but you’ll want to be sure that you match them to the button studs on your tuxedo shirt.
Picking button studs and cufflinks to complement your blue tuxedo can be a great way to show off a little of your personal taste.
When wearing a blue tuxedo, however, remember that you don’t want to have any accessories that are too flashy.
Black button studs and cufflinks are best, preferably set in a metal base material such as silver, platinum, or stainless steel. Pearl is also an attractive option. Subdued is the keyword.
Separating the Blue Tuxedo
I’ve mentioned several times already about the use of black accessories to break up your blue tuxedo.
However, there’s another way to achieve that effect. Your blue tuxedo does not need to be a full blue tuxedo. All you have to do is remove the pants.
Please don’t panic; I’m not advocating for going pant-less. You can separate your blue tuxedo jacket from your blue tuxedo pants and replace them with formal black pants.
Whether you are sporting a royal blue tuxedo or a midnight blue tuxedo, the effect is dramatic. Black pants under a blue tuxedo jacket look impeccably polished and super sophisticated.
An entirely blue tuxedo looks great and is perfectly acceptable to wear to a formal event. But switching up the pants for black ones is a surprise twist that takes your tuxedo to the next level. Nobody saw that coming.
When to Wear a Blue Tuxedo
If you’ve ever received an invitation to an event with a creative black tie dress code, chances are your initial reaction has been, “What the….?”
It’s a tricky term to decode and figure out what your host expects from you and how “creative” you are expected to get.
But these types of events are meant to be fun. The host is still going for elegant but wants something that isn’t as stuffy as a full-on formal event.
You can also wear a blue tuxedo for galas, charity events, or show premieres. Many weddings can also fall under this category, though they aren’t as likely to state this on their invitation.
If you receive an invitation with memorable words like “creative” or “black-tie,” don’t panic. Instead, you can celebrate because you have the perfect outfit in mind – a midnight blue tuxedo or a royal blue tuxedo!
Again, nearly any time you need some wedding attire, you can wear your blue tuxedo, as well. Just be sure that it isn’t a casual wedding and you are in the clear.
How to Wear a Blue Tuxedo FAQs
Still feeling a bit outside your comfort zone? That’s understandable. Black tuxedos are so standard that it can be hard to imagine anything else.
Here’s a roundup of some common questions about blue tuxedos to help ease your worries. Soon, you’ll be running out, eager to get your hands on a blue tuxedo for yourself!
Can I wear a midnight blue tuxedo to a black-tie event?
Yes, you can. Many formal events leave a little wiggle room for creativity, but you want to be sure that creative interpretations are acceptable. If you know that the event is a very formal affair, leave the blue for another time. However, if you know this event is a fun time that welcomes personality, then let yours shine!
Can I wear a waistcoat with a blue tuxedo?
Absolutely! The best option is if your waistcoat matches the tuxedo pants. So if your pants are black, go for a black waistcoat.
In addition, you can look for a three-piece blue tuxedo from the start. Then, you can always switch out the blue waistcoat for a black one down the road.
What’s the best color for suspenders with a blue tuxedo?
Black suspenders are possibly the best option to pair with your blue tuxedo. White is an excellent alternative because they will practically hide alongside your white tuxedo shirt. If you are looking for something a little flashy, you may add subtle patterning to your suspenders. Patterns are a fun way to insert a bit of “you” personality into your formal wear.
Where to buy a high-quality and affordable blue tuxedo?
There are many reputable stores, both in-person and online, from which you can choose. Understandably you’ll want to stay within your budget but also get your money’s worth. Fortunately, I’ve dedicated an entire post about affordable tuxedos that you’ll want to check out.
Can I wear a waistcoat and cummerbund with a blue tuxedo?
No. Under no circumstances, for any color or design of a tuxedo, can a waistcoat and cummerbund ever be worn together. It would be overkill and create a ton of bulk around your waist. So if nothing else, for your own comfort, don’t do this.
Hi, I’m Alex, and I’ve studied and specialized in styling in Rome. Through my writing, I want to help men dress well and learn the purpose and significance of suits and other formal attire. My final goal is to make men more confident in their wardrobe choice and life in general.
I have a pair of formal navy velvet Ralph Lauren slippers and was wondering if they are acceptable to wear with a navy tux/jacket but black pants.
Black slippers will be a better choice if your tuxedo pants are black.
Getting married in a few weeks and cant decide how to rock the socks. do i need to go black socks? Can i do bright pink? Should i go no show socks. I have a black standard leather derby shoe.
I always suggest wearing black socks with tuxedos (even blue ones). That holds even more true now when your dress shoes are also black.
I’m afraid a wing collar shirt is strictly for white-tie events; wearing one will mark you out as a bit of a muppet.
The wingtip collar shirt is totally acceptable for black-tie and black-tie creative events as well, although I agree that it will make your attire more dressy! Thanks for pointing that out.