JACKET: It must be black or midnight blue with a satin or grosgrain lapel. It should have a peaked collar and one or two buttons. It also must fit you in the shoulder like a regular suit; you shouldn’t look like a skinny 15-year-old borrowing Daddy’s tux.
TROUSERS: The trousers should have a single braid of satin or grosgrain (the person selling you the tux will know what that is) at the outer seam that matches the lapel fabric. They should also have a clean break with no cuffs, and they can be either pleated or flat front.
SHIRT: The shirt must be a white point-collar dress shirt with studs and matching cuff links, and about 1 inch of the cuff should show when your arms are hanging at your sides. That means no powder-blue, ruffled shirt, and no substituting your work button-down in a pinch.
SHOES: The shoes should be black, shiny lace-ups, and they should be worn with black socks. This is not the time to get cute with funky socks like you’re some droll English guy on a BBC America show.
ACCESSORIES: Wear a black satin or grosgrain bow tie. Oh, and learn how to tie a bow tie. No, really — it’s a major turn on for women because it demonstrates that you’re detail oriented, that you can use your hands, and that you’re not completely helpless. These days a cummerbund is optional, but if you do wear one, remember that it’s worn with the pleats facing up, not down. And leave colored, “festive” bow tie and cummerbund sets for kids going to prom. Oh, and since I hate vests with tuxedos, I’m going to tell you not to wear a vest.
NEXT: THE TUXEDOS