Tuxedo, Dinner Jacket, Smoking & Black Tie Terminology Explained

Tuxedo & Black Tie Terminology Explained

Tuxedo Dinner Jacket Dinner Suit Tuxedo Dinner Jacket Dinner Suit Dinner Jacket white dinner jacket Tuxedo off white white velvet dinner jacket White Dinner Jacket Smoking Jacket Vest Waistcoat Waistcoat Pants Trousers Suspenders Braces Suspenders Formal Wear Formal Dress Formal Wear Evening Wear Evening Dress Evening Suits Evening Wear smoking

Terminology of the Black Tie Guide

Because the population of the United States is roughly four and a half times that of the United Kingdom and nearly nine times the population of my own country, Canada, and because of nearly identical American and Canadian vocabulary and spelling, it is only logical for me to write in American English.

Having said that, it is important to me to make the site as accommodating as possible to visitors who are more familiar with British English.  This is a bit of a challenge because formalwear terms can be very different on either side of the Atlantic and in some cases downright contradictory.  And just to add to the confusion, many North Americans prefer original British terminologies over American derivatives.

The following chart of comparative formalwear terminology should help to clear things up.

Dinner Jacket vs.  Tuxedo vs. Dinner Suit

North AmericaGreat BritainContinental EuropeBlack Tie Guide
TuxedoDinner Jacket / Dinner SuitSmokingTuxedo & Dinner Jacket & Dinner Suit
Dinner Jacket
used (incorrectly) to refer specifically to a white dinner jacket or any evening jacket in any other color than black or midnight blue
Tuxedo
used (incorrectly) to refer specifically to a white dinner jacket
Smoking
derived from the smoking jacket, which is a garment that protects evening wear from smoke
used (incorrectly) to refer to any type of Tuxedo, Dinner Jacket of Dinner Suit
we call it what it is
A smoking jacket is just that
a white dinner jacket is just that
a tuxedo is just that.
VestWaistcoatDepends on CountryVest & Waistcoat
PantsTrousersDepends on CountryPants & Trousers
SuspendersBracesDepends on CountrySuspenders & Braces
Formal WearFormal Dress*Depends on CountryFormal Wear
Evening Wear
Evening Dress or Evening SuitsDepends on CountryEvening Wear
*Traditionally, the most formal category of attire is described as formal in North America and dress in Great Britain.
The second most formal category – e.g. traditional business attire – is conversely described as dress in North America and formal in Britain. Therefore a black-tie event calls for a formal shirt in North America and a dress shirt in Britain, even though both words are describing the same garment.
(Note: Some British haberdasher websites have recently begun to use the term “formal” in the American sense of the word, likely to make themselves more accessible to online shoppers from the US.)

Summary
Tuxedo, Dinner Jacket, Smoking & Black Tie Terminology Explained
Article Name
Tuxedo, Dinner Jacket, Smoking & Black Tie Terminology Explained
Description
Learn the difference and similarities between Tuxedo, Dinner Jacket, Smoking, Black Tie, Dinner Suit, Evening Wear, Evening Dress...