If you’ve been invited to a formal event, knowing whether you should wear a tuxedo or a morning suit can be difficult. The last thing you want is to wear the wrong type of suit because you don’t understand the correct formal wear etiquette. 

We’ve compiled this guide to help you decide between a tuxedo and a morning suit at your upcoming formal event. This guide will cover the definitions of morning suits and tuxedos, when you should wear them, and a summary of their key differences. 


What is a tuxedo?

A tuxedo is a suit worn to formal black tie events or weddings. The name comes from the Tuxedo Club in New York, where the suit was supposedly first worn in 1886. Tuxedos are sometimes called dinner jackets in the UK. 

Tuxedos traditionally have satin detailing, usually including a satin shawl lapel, satin-covered buttons, and a satin stripe down the trouser leg. However, modern tuxedos might restrict the satin detailing to the tip of the lapel. They’re often paired with a black bowtie, white dress shirt, and black dress shoes. 

When to wear a tuxedo

Because a tuxedo is considered formal evening wear, it should only be worn to formal evening events with a black tie dress code. A tuxedo is not appropriate for a daytime or casual event. 

Check out our complete guide to wedding tuxedos for more information.  


What is a morning suit?

A morning suit is a traditional formalwear that’s worn to daytime events. It’s typically a black or grey single-breasted jacket with peaked lapels. A vest should always be worn with a morning coat. This can be single or double-breasted and is traditionally grey, but more colourful vests are becoming more popular. 

Morning suits are traditionally paired with a dark top hat, a plain-coloured tie, and black oxfords. 

Why is it called a morning suit?

The name morning suit or morning dress stems from the practice of 19th century gentlemen riding a horse in the morning wearing a frock coat with a cutaway front. Because of this, morning suits used to be called ‘cutaway’ coats. 

It’s also sometimes referred to as ‘tails’ due to the distinctive swallowtail at the back of the jacket that falls just below the wearer’s knees.

When to wear a morning suit

Unlike a tuxedo, you should wear morning dress to formal morning or afternoon events. This includes daytime weddings, memorial services, and other formal occasions. Most famously, morning suits are worn at Royal Ascot in the Royal Enclosure.

If you want more guidance on when to wear a morning suit, check out our blog, ‘What is a morning suit and when should you wear one’.


What’s the difference between a morning suit and a tuxedo?

The main difference between a morning suit and a tuxedo is when the suits should be worn. Although both are considered formalwear, tuxedos should only be worn at evening events, while morning suits should be worn at daytime events. 

Morning suits and tuxedos also look very different. Tuxedos are often identified by their unique satin detailing. However, you can easily recognise a morning coat by its characteristic ‘tails’. 


How Phillip Alexander can help

If you’re still unsure whether a tuxedo or a morning suit is the right choice, or if you’re looking for a beautiful, handcrafted garment, we can help. 

Philip Alexander Bespoke Tailors are experts at dressing gentlemen. We’ve been crafting bespoke tailored suits for all formal occasions since 1876. Based in Savile Row in London and Cheshire, we offer a range of tailoring services, including bespoke suits, semi-bespoke ‘made to measure’ suits, and tailored suit hire

Bespoke suits 

If you’re attending a formal event, it’s imperative you look your absolute best. A bespoke tailored suit is an unparalleled, once-in-a-lifetime experience. The result is an individual hand-cut garment, cut from the material of your choice and cut to your required style, whether a tuxedo or morning coat. This process takes several months to complete and involves numerous fittings and revisions to ensure it fits your shape perfectly. 

We’re also experts at crafting bespoke wedding suits to help you stand out from the crown on the big day.  

Made to measure suits 

If you’re looking for a more cost-effective option but still want to look elegant and sophisticated at an upcoming formal event, a made to measure suit is the best option. This service has fewer fittings, ensuring your tuxedo or morning suit can be ready in less than two months. We combine handcraft and machine work to create a high-end tailored suit at a lower price than our bespoke service. However, the result is still a beautiful suit that matches your preferences and fit. 

We also offer made to measure wedding suits which can be a great option if you need a wedding suit in a short time frame.

Luxury tailored suit hire

If you’re not ready to invest in your own suit, luxury tailored suit hire might be the best option. Our hire service includes several fittings to ensure the correct fit and invaluable styling advice from an expert clothier. We also offer luxury wedding suits for hire. These are a great option for an upcoming wedding if you have a limited budget. 

If you’re interested in an elegant and perfectly fitting morning suit or tuxedo made by experienced tailors, contact us today to request an appointment.