Getting the perfect fit is as simple as getting your tuxedo measurements right. Find your tux sizes and learn how to measure for a tuxedo with our guide.
Whether you’re renting a tux for the first time or the fifteenth, or buying a tuxedo to cover you for the next decade, you’re probably going to need to take tuxedo measurements (or have them taken). But the more you understand how those measurements translate into tuxedo sizes, the better that tux is going to look and fit. And nobody buys or rents a tuxedo to look so-so.
This guide is a one-stop resource for achieving a better tuxedo fit. From our step-by-step guide on how to measure for a tuxedo to our proprietary tuxedo size calculator, we’re giving you the tools to take your tux measurements into your own hands.
Table of Contents
How Tuxedo Sizes Work
Before you measure for a tux, you’ll need to be able to read and understand tuxedo sizes. This will only take a moment to learn, but the knowledge will last a lifetime. #themoreyouknow
Tuxedo jacket size labels will include a number (typically between 34 and 52) and a letter (or two). The numbers are the chest size of the jacket—not the chest measurement, which is different—and tux jackets are usually offered in even sizes.
Most tuxedo jackets come in short (S), regular (R), and long (L) lengths, and some brands (like us!) offer extra short (XS) and extra long (XL) lengths as well. These lengths tend to correspond with your overall height.
TUXEDO PANT SIZES
The first number on a tuxedo pant label is the waist size, and if there is a second number, that’s the length size (AKA the inseam). When it comes to tux pants, you’ll often be provided with a waist size only. That’s because with traditional formalwear, you often have the pants hemmed to your exact desired length. More often than not, waist sizes tend to come in even sizing (32, 34, 36, etc.). If your tux pants have a predetermined inseam length, it will typically be an even size as well.
FORMALWEAR VS. CASUAL SIZING
Suit pants fit tighter in the waist and longer in the inseam than casual pants in the same sizes. Read on to learn why.
Casual pants, like denim and chinos, usually have a little more stretch in the waist than tuxedo pants. That means your tux pants, which have less give, will likely need to be a larger size than your normal denim size.
The fabrics used for tux pants won’t bunch up as much as casual fabrics. That means if your 30 length (inseam) jeans are just right, the same size in a tuxedo pant will feel too long.
BRAND TO BRAND SIZING
Sizing from brand to brand is usually comparable, but it can vary—think +/- a size or length. For example, if you have a 42L tux jacket that fits you perfectly, a 42L in another brand could be too tight or too short. This is especially important to keep it in mind if you shop online, because ordering the tag size may not equate to an identical fit.
This also means a sales associate (or online size predictor) could provide a sizing recommendation that differs from what you’d normally expect. Just make sure it isn’t difficult or expensive to exchange sizes if you find the sizing to be different than you expected.
How Should a Tux Fit?
It really comes down to personal preference, but here’s a little background if this is your first time wearing a tuxedo.
CLASSIC, REGULAR, SLIM, & SKINNY FITS
As we mentioned, the way each brand designs the cut of their tuxedos can vary, but you can make these standard definitions can tell you what to expect from classic, regular, slim and skinny fit tuxedos.
A “classic” fit will be more generous in size. Rather than a contoured cut, you’ll find the waist of the jacket and leg of the pants are cut without much tapering. Don’t expect an ’80s or ’90s vibe—most brands offer a modern version of the classic fit that’s just a little more generous in the seat and thigh of the pants, and in the arms of the jacket. You can expect the same from a “regular” fit.
Skinny fit will contour your body closely, and won’t leave you with much extra fabric—literally no wiggle room—in the jacket or pants. If you’re going for an IG influencer look, skinny fit probably checks all the boxes. It’s just not that practical if you need to, say… squat down to pick your sunglasses up off the ground.
Slim fit offers the best of both worlds: a contoured cut that looks fitted, but with just enough room to shake your groove thang. It’s timeless—a safe fit choice if you’re purchasing your tux. The jacket waist will be somewhat tapered, and the arm holes will feel neither baggy nor tight. And the leg of the pant will taper down to your shoe, creating a slimming effect.
TUXEDOS AND YOUR BODY TYPE
Every body type is unique, and for some of us, it can be difficult to find the right fit with some of the most accessible brands. If you have a super-athletic build, a tall and thin frame, or you’re shorter with a broad build, you’ll likely get the best results from custom, tailor-made garments. That can get expensive, and off-the-rack will rarely give you the results you’re looking for. Instead, buy or rent suit (or tux) separates, and talk to your tailor about the best ways to adjust the fit of the garments you own.
CUSTOM TUXEDOS VS. OFF-THE-RACK
Buying a tux off the rack means you’ll get the “standard drop”—the difference between the chest size of your jacket minus the waist size of your pant. The standard drop is 6, which means if you wear a size 40 jacket, the pants will be a size 34 waist (40 – 34 = 6). Not everyone fits neatly into this standard drop, so if that’s you, consider having a tuxedo custom made, shop for (or rent) separates, or plan on taking your off-the-rack garment to a tailor for fine-tuning.
What can a tailor adjust?
If you rent a tuxedo, you’ll probably be limited to temporary sleeve length or pant length hem adjustments. If you own the tux, you have more options, but there are some parts of a tuxedo you shouldn’t touch.
Do not take your tux in for these alterations:
→ Jacket Shoulders
→ Jacket Chest
→ Jacket Body Length
If the tuxedo seems to be your size but something’s just a little off, do tailor:
→ Jacket Sleeve Length
→ Pant Length Hem
→ Jacket Waist
→ Pant Waist
→ Pant Taper
When in doubt, ask your tailor what’s realistic, and manage your expectations accordingly.
Find Your Tuxedo Sizes
TRY ON TUXEDO IN-STORE
Trying on tuxedo separates can help you find your sizes, provided you know how to spot a good fit versus a bad one. Wear a dress shirt and dress shoes, and try on as many jackets and pants as you need until you find the right fit. This method does require you to head into a store, but you won’t necessarily need to have your measurements taken.
Pay attention to whether each garment is a slim or classic fit. As we mentioned above, the definition of these terms can vary from brand to brand, but it helps to know whether the tuxedo jacket that fit you well was designed for a tailored fit or a relaxed fit.
Finally, email yourself the sizes so you don’t forget—the jacket chest size, jacket length, pant waist size, and, if applicable, inseam length.
HOW TO MEASURE FOR A TUXEDO
We know what you’re about to say—something along the lines of “I’ll mess it up and end up with a bad fit.” This would be a valid concern, but what you may not realize is that the days of asking a friend to measure you for a suit are numbered. Proprietary fit and sizing technology has come a long way, making it easier than ever to find your suit sizes.
TUXEDO FIT & SIZING TECHNOLOGY
It’s asking a lot to have you measure yourself for a tuxedo at home, or to send you to tailor or menswear store to get your measurements taken. And if we’re being honest, neither method always results in a great fit.
Instead, we ask for basic information that you probably already know: your height, weight, body shape, and shoe size. If you know anything about your fit preferences (slim, classic, etc.) or formalwear sizes—like your dress shirt or pant size—we’ll factor that in, too. If not, that’s fine. Then, we use data from hundreds of thousands of customers to calculate the most probable sizes for your perfect fit. (Don’t worry, it’s anonymous.) Check it out here:
Ready to try it? Click below to find your tuxedo sizes.
OR, USE A TAPE MEASURE
If the old way has worked for you before, or these measurements are required to rent a tux from a brick and mortar tux shop, you’ll need to be accurate. We recommend the buddy system to make sure you get this right. Below are the most common measurements you’ll need to take and how to take them.
Measure around the fullest part of your neck, but don’t measure too tightly—a finger or two should fit between the measuring tape and your neck.
Wearing a shirt that fits you well helps with this measurement, as you’re pretty much just measuring the distance between armhole seams across your back.
Keeping your shoulders relaxed and arms down at your sides, hold the measuring tape at the edge of your shoulder, at the armhole. Measure straight down to the wrist, just where it meets your hand.
Chest Underarm Measurement
Wrap the measuring tape under your arms, measuring around the widest part of your chest. As tempting as it is, don’t puff out your chest or flex.
Chest Overarm Measurement
Measure around the widest part of your chest, but this time, wrap the tape measure all the way around your arms. Again, try to stay relaxed for this measurement.
Wrap the measuring tape around your waist, just above your hips, where dress pants would normally sit. If you’re wearing jeans or casual pants, aim for just above the waist of the pant, but don’t go over the top, where a belt would sit.
Measure from the top of your waistband, straight down to the ground. You can either subtract 1″-2″ from the total measurement, or eyeball the spot where your pants hit your shoe. If you tend to wear your pants with a larger break (more pant fabric gathered on the shoe), just subtract 1″-2″ from the total waist-to-floor measurement.
Bonus: Inseam Measurement
Most suiting brands won’t request an inseam measurement, but they’ll usually take one during a fitting. Wear pants that fit you well, without a lot of loose fabric. Then, measure the inside seam of your pant leg, from the highest point to the edge of your dress shoes. Don’t measure to the end of the pants you’re wearing.
As you take your measurements, keep in mind that these raw numbers don’t always translate into garment sizes. For example, your waist measurement may be 31”, but that doesn’t mean you’re a size 31 waist.
GET YOUR TUXEDO MEASUREMENTS TAKEN
There are benefits to stopping into a store for measurements. For example, if the brand you’re buying or renting from doesn’t offer sizing or fit technology, or you’re not sure you can accurately measure yourself, you should have a professional take your tuxedo measurements. Whenever possible, go to the same store you’re buying or renting from—commissioned sales associates tend to get annoyed when they’re making zero dollars off you, which can lead to mixed fit results.
TIPS FOR GETTING FITTED FOR A TUX
1. Wear a dress shirt and dress shoes.
Getting fitted is all about precision, so the better your outfit reflects what you’ll actually be wearing with the tux, the better the fit you’ll get.
2. Communicate your preferences (or bring a photo).
Whether you want a form-fit or room to move, you probably have your own ideas about what looks good and fits correctly, so speak up. If you prefer, show the pros a photo of a celeb wearing a tux the way you like it.
3. Also, listen to the pros.
If they’re making a recommendation, there’s probably a good reason—maybe they know something about the fit of their tuxedos that you don’t. Just know that they want you to look good and feel right.
Tuxedos by The Black Tux
The old way of taking measurements for a tuxedo can be a hassle, and it doesn’t always result in a good fit. After more tux horror stories than we care to revisit, we knew it was time to make the experience of renting or buying a tux online more reliable.
Using a combination of data science, machine learning, and formalwear expertise, we developed a better way to measure for a tuxedo that doesn’t require a tape measure. Just answer a few simple questions to find your sizes now.