Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Tuxedo and Dinner Jacket

Tuxedo vs Dinner Jacket

In brief, both a tuxedo and a dinner jacket refer to the same article or collection of clothing categorized as men’s formal evening dress. The terms only differ in places where they originated and are used.

The term “tuxedo” is mainly used in North America, particularly in the United States and Canada. Additionally, “dinner jacket” in North America refers to the white equivalent of the black evening jacket. On the other hand, the same clothing is called a “dinner jacket” in the United Kingdom.

The birthplace of both “tuxedo” and “dinner jacket” is in the United Kingdom. It was first created by a tailor for the royalty as formal evening wear and was designed to be an alternative to the tailcoat, the most formal dress for men. After it was seen, an American copied this style of clothing and introduced it to the other side of the Atlantic.

“Tuxedo” is also known as “tux,” “tuxedo coat” or “tuxedo jacket.” Likewise, “dinner jacket” is also known as the short form of “dinner jacket with trousers.”

Both terms can refer to a single article of clothing (the jacket itself) or the black tie ensemble used in formal and semi-formal occasions. Usually, the terms refer to the ensemble rather than the single article of clothing.

As an article of clothing in a formal outfit, the jacket lapels are often made of satin or silk. The lapels have three distinctive styles: the notched (with a “V” indentation), the peak (with an upward shaped “-V” indentation), and the shawl (with a curved indentation).

The jacket itself is black by traditional standards. However, many social occasions now permit a dark grey jacket or a white jacket to accompany the whole ensemble.

A tuxedo and dinner jacket (as an ensemble) consist of staple items like a pleated, white, dress shirt, black trousers, black evening jacket, and matching black patent leather shoes. Black dress socks are also part of the overall outfit. Additional elements and accessories can include a waistcoat, a black bow tie, cuff links, and shirt studs. Pocket squares, or other customary decoration depending on the occasion, like medals, can be placed on the breast pocket as optional accessories.


1.“Tuxedo” and “dinner jacket” refer to the formal evening jacket worn as part of men’s dress in many formal and semi-formal occasions.
2.The terms are used in different places but pertain to same thing. “Tuxedo” is used in North America while “dinner jacket” is its equivalent in the United Kingdom. Both are terms for the black evening jacket. However, the term “dinner jacket” when used in the United States will pertain to the white jacket rather than the black one.
3.The dinner jacket or dinner suit is the first term to describe the article of clothing. The name is derived for the formality of the dress as well as the venue and time where it is used. It was created in the United Kingdom as an alternative for the formal tailcoat. It is also commissioned for royalty, in particular, for the Prince of Wales. The style was copied by an American and crossed the Atlantic. It was debuted in Tuxedo Park where it got its name.
4.The term “tuxedo” predates before “dinner jacket”.
5.The formal evening jacket has a lapel with a satin or silk finish. The style of the lapel can fall under three classifications – the notched, the peak and the shawl.
6.Additional addition to the jacket is the flap pocket where pocket squares, medals or other similar decorations can be placed.

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  1. Inaccurate in most every way. The writer researched bad sources and is unfamiliar with both history and men’s clothing.

    The Tuxedo was named after “Tuxedo Park” developer, Pierre Lorillard IV, who first wore a short dinner jacket in NY.

    The shorter jacker spread to the UK by Americans near the end of the Guilded Age.

    A “dinner jacket” and tuxedo are NOT interchangeable terms.

    • I was in the menswear trade for 49 years.
      A Tuxedo is a white Jacket for evening wear with a plain back (no vents, usually).
      A Dinner suit is a black single or double breasted jacket with satin (sometimes silk) or corded lapels and trousers with a black satin or braid stitched over the side seams.

      An American wanted to buy a Tuxedo. I put a white Tuxedo on his back. He said, “have you got the whole suit in black”.

      What he really wanted was a Dinner Suit.
      It is the opposite way round in America.

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