When to Wear a White Tuxedo

by Cassandra Cochrun

White tuxedos are much less commonly seen than black tuxedos, but if you're willing to look a little different, you'll need to know when to wear one. White tuxedos are meant to look cooler in hot weather, so they're perfect for the tropics. However, outside the tropics, white tuxedos are only appropriate choices between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Use caution, though, because if you wear a white tuxedo at the wrong time, you may end up looking like a waiter.

Occasions

The most common event men think about wearing a white tuxedo to is a wedding, but most weddings do not call for white tuxedos. If the wedding is on a beach or somewhere very hot, white is perfectly acceptable, but otherwise, black is more appropriate.

White tuxedos are much more common at high school proms. At proms, white creates a feeling of whimsy and innocence, and creates separation between young men and older men, who always seem to be wearing black. A white tuxedo is suitable for a prom except when your date is wearing white.

White tuxedos are great for formal events that are taking place in extremely hot weather, such as an outdoor event at a country club, or a dinner on an upscale cruise. For those occasions when black just seems too ordinary, white tuxedos are a fine substitute.

Finally, on the rare occasion that you receive an invitation to an event that specifies "white tie," you should wear a white tuxedo. White-tie events are similar to black-tie events, but are even more formal. White-tie events were made famous in Europe, where men wore white tuxedos complete with tails, top hats, and gloves. At most white-tie events, the top hat and gloves are optional, but the white tuxedo is a must.

How to Wear

White tuxedos are not as flexible as black tuxedos when you're planning what to wear with one. If you're wearing a regular-length jacket (one that hits you at the bottom of the waist), the overall look will be less formal. If you're wearing white trousers, you'll need to wear a white dress shirt, white vest and white tie. You may also wear a white dress shirt and black or gray pants, with a vest and tie to match. If you're wearing a white tuxedo to a white-tie event, you'll want the jacket to have tails. In this case, wear either a white dress shirt, white vest or cummerbund and white tie, or wear a white dress shirt, black vest or cummerbund and black tie. Either of these looks is extremely formal and appropriate for white-tie occasions.