Women in suits: How to wear a tuxedo

Miss Charlotte Cake wearing her tuxedo. Image by Meagan Kerr.

How to wear a tuxedo? Well, the answer is quite simple really, you just need to put a lady tuxedo on and you’re set!
Marlene Dietrich starring in ‘Morocco’ (1930) was the first time I had ever seen a woman dressed in a tuxedo. There’s this scene where she walks into a nightclub, and she’s simply stunning in this fitted tuxedo suit. As she walks out onto the stage the audience is completely stunned and start yelling profanities at her. Marlene holds her gaze and puffs away on her cigarette almost enjoying the reaction from them. The audience slowly comes around, and begin clapping as she starts to perform in French.

The way she wears that tuxedo makes you fall in love with her. I remember the first time I was watching it, and needing to know more about who this woman was. She was wearing that tuxedo to turn on both women, and men and she appealed to everyone, as it should. Nobody has ever looked better in a tux in my opinion! She was always transgressive, and forward-thinking when it came to fashion. It’s one of the reasons I love her so much.

Other notable women who have tried out this androgynous style include; Princess Diana, Kate Moss, Dita Von Teese, and Chloe Sevigny.

Designer and friend Danielle Gardener from Devel Men and Women helped bring my vision of a tuxedo to life. I was very specific about wanting tailored pants, but still loose fitting as well as a fitted, cropped jacket complete with tails. She absolutely nailed my outfit and I couldn’t be happier with the look.

Here are my tips for wearing a lady tuxedo:

Whether you’re going custom made or altering an existing garment. Make sure it’s tailored to fit your proportions. Sleeve length on the jacket, waist height and cuff length on your pants are all very important for making sure your tuxedo sits and looks perfect. You want to look polished, and sophisticated – not drowning in fabric because the pants and jacket don’t fit you very well. I know I will need to get the pants taken in slightly soon as I’ve lost weight since I had them made.

Lady Tuxedo

This is the most fun. Accessory options are endless with this outfit because everything goes well with black. My favourite so far? Pairing a crisp white shirt/blouse along with sparkly diamonds and a top hat. The first time I wore my lady tuxedo was to a Halloween Ball and I had a long sleeve, white low-cut blouse which I paired with a top hat and diamonds. The second time, I chose a sleeveless white blouse with a bow tie, clear lucite accessories and no hat. There are so many options to change the overall look and I love it. I’m thinking I’ll go with red accessories next time.

The beauty of this lady tuxedo is that I can wear one piece without the other whenever I feel like it. If I want to jazz up and outfit, I can add the jacket. If I want to wear high-waisted black pants (amazing for office wear), then I’ll pair those with a cute top.

The cherry on top of the whole outfit. You’ll need an extra dose of confidence and allure when you rock your tuxedo. This is a bold statement we’re talking about. Especially if it comes complete with beautiful hair, makeup and accessories. Stand up tall, slant that top hat and smile baby.

Bringing femininity into a seemingly masculine outfit is everything to me and I always feel extremely feminine when I wear my tuxedo.

I wore my lady tuxedo to see Art of the Teese by Dita Von Teese recently in Melbourne – it was the perfect outfit to see such a glamorous show.

There you have it, my top tips for wearing a lady tux. Have you ever thought about giving this guy staple a female makeover?

Images by Meagan Kerr.