A penguin suit isn't just fare for a red carpet or a walk down the aisle. Men and women alike can deconstruct the pieces into more casual outfits that belie the formalwear's roots. A tuxedo jacket can top off a woman's jean shorts and T-shirt on a chilly night, while a pair of tuxedo pants can get dressed down with a sweater. Perhaps the most versatile, a tuxedo shirt can be as trendy or casual as you want it to be.
Consider the type of tuxedo shirt when deciding how best to dress it down. It can have a traditional shirt collar, a more formal wingtip collar or a tie-free mandarin collar. The bib can be pleated or not, and in vintage styles may be ruffled. The fabric can be a standard cotton and polyester blend like many dress shirts or a cotton pique or pinwale weave. Cuffs can resemble a standard dress shirt or be longer French cuffs. And when it comes to tuxedo shirt colors, the rainbow's the limit.
The tuxedo shirt comes in cuts for women that make every boardroom meeting a first-class affair. Go minimalist with a white pleated tuxedo blouse and black pants, adding a shock of color in a wool overcoat or leather satchel in a shade such as burgundy or emerald. A ruffled style of shirt is a classic topper for a pencil skirt, while a menswear-cut shirt can be cinched at the waist with a belt. Guys can take a tuxedo shirt into the office -- leave the tie at home and the top button unbuttoned. Add slacks or dark jeans, and roll up the sleeves to keep it even more casual.
A Little Bit Rock and Roll
After the sun goes down the tuxedo shirt can head to a rock and roll den instead of the opera. Here's where you can try some of the more fantastic styles -- ruffles, exaggerated cuffs or stiff bibs look edgy when paired with leather jeans or torn denim. Wear a tank top underneath to unbutton as the night goes on. Look for vintage styles or embellished tux shirts to push the envelope a bit more. Women can add a twist to this style by adding a black bustier under a white tuxedo shirt and finishing off with skinny jeans, a short skirt or even leather shorts.
Trendy Beach Bum
Consider that feeling the morning after a big event when high heels are replaced by flip-flops and your once-perfect 'do is now perfectly rumpled. Ladies can channel the look of borrowing a man's shirt with a casual, untucked tuxedo shirt over a pair of jean shorts. Complete the vibe with leather or embellished sandals and a tote bag, and leave the top and bottom buttons undone for a carefree finish. Guys can rock a morning-on-a-beach look in a tuxedo shirt with khaki shorts and leather sandals.