Own a tuxedo

One of my mentor’s in the men’s fashion world once told me, ‘When you own a tux, you get invited to the best parties.’ Do I have statical data to prove this? No. But just like in every aspect of your life, (the day you bought a smart phone for example), you have to spend money to make money…or step up your style, to feel more stylish.

We are in the thick of wedding season…from January to April, wedding planners and accountants are some of the busiest people. In an industry where decisions are predominantly made by women, it’s no wonder the gentlemen involved need some guidance.

I know some may find it ridiculous to own a tuxedo, thinking that’s reserved for the closets of politicians, athletes and celebrities (wait, most of them borrow…).

Let’s do some number crunching though. Remember the ‘cost per wear’ equation I’ve talked about? (cost of an item divided by the number of times you will wear it) If you spend at least $100 every time you rent a tux and you’ve done this a handful of times (let’s exclude your high school prom), you will have gotten your money’s worth. In addition, there comes a point in one’s life where you’re not thrilled to wear clothing that someone else just returned (and quite possibly puked in or…). So, you’re renting something, that doesn’t fit quite right, that someone else just sweated in and it’s not Halloween. Something to think about.

A few pointers on tuxedos and tuxedo shirts. I’ve been working with a bunch of bridal parties lately, so this is the Q & A I get most often:

What type of collar? Wing Tip or Classic, either is acceptable. (Bow ties usually look best on a Wing Tip collar and a Four-In-Hand Knot on a Classic collar.) If you’re going to be wearing a cumber bun and/or vest, then go for the bow-tie, it fits with the formal tone.

Should my wardrobe choice depend on the time of the ceremony? The ‘rule’ is that before 6 PM, you should not wear a tux but instead a suit or morning coat. I say go with whatever you are feeling and with what fits the vibe of the wedding. It’s a smart idea to check with another attendee beforehand. Looking sharp is cool, looking better than the groom, not cool.

Pocket Squares: Yes! A tux is the epitome of classiness, so stick with white and a simple straight fold, not some crazy colored ruffled option.

Can I wear my tux shirt with anything other than a tuxedo? Yes! A more versatile approach is to get a custom shirt without pleats (on the front). The first four buttons (where the studs go) are removable, so wearing the shirt as a dress shirt, extends the life of it. (You need white shirts to be in regular rotation—hanging in your closet and not being worn results in it turning yellow, really.)

For you fair-skinned fellas, opt for a dark navy tuxedo. (less harsh on your skin tone…& it’s different)

Shoes: Keep it simple. No need for wing tips or elaborate decorations—just plain black shoes, patent leather optional.

Photo: GQ.com

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2 Responses to Own a tuxedo

  1. Donovan says:

    I have always owned a tuexdo since I was 14. I worked at a country club so it was the uniform of choice. Since I already had everything else, the jacket was the last step. A friend of mine Chris gave me one that he had outgrown (it was a Loro Piana he had made in Italy), so I had it altered to fit me; and then the girls came out fo the woodwoork. I was invited to attend cotillions and dances.
    When I got to high school we moved and I had grown a bit so tuexdo #2 was required. I found a tuxedo shop that was going out of business so I bought three and used them over the next 15 years.
    I then went without for a few years and recently (two years ago) bought a Loro Piana from J. Hilburn. Once again I got invited to attend political events, chamber of commerce receptions, weddings, ect. So I think the main thing is that not only that you own one but people know that about you. This should put you on the short list of people to invite to important functions.
    Buy the best that you can afford and have it tailored to fit you. Make sure that you also have at least one tuxedo shirt with French cuffs and a cufflink & stud set.

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