Anybody got a tux?

Ok, I have a closet full of blue jeans and black shirts with a couple of button downs for dress occasions. Naturally, I want to round out this wardrobe with a tux.:dubious: Considering that I know absolutely nothing about formal wear, can anybody offer some pointers? What should I look for? What price point should I shoot for (I’m buying for the occasional formal event, weddings and plain old night on the town)? Are there brands to these things? Any hints on style (besides passing on that purple polyester one with the wide lapels)? If I go with black for now, do I just need a white jacket come summer?

Yep, I’m clueless. Any help is appreciated.

I own one, but it was a hand-me-down from my grandfather that I had re-fitted to me.

My suggestion would be to go into a real men’s clothing/tailor shop and ask them these questions. If it’s a quality establishment they’ll be able to answer those questions well and honestly. They’re also up on the latest fashions.

I own one, but it was a bargain deal of a lifetime from a wedding shop that was going out of business. A grey tux with tails, top hat, cane and shoes. The whole bit cost me $50. I’ve never worn it out in public, but I have it if the need comes up. If you really have to have one though, you can’t go wrong with a standard black tux which never has and never will go out of style. If you want to make a statement, rent or buy a wild vest.

I’ve rented the basic black number many times for about $100 so I would say that if you can imagine yourself wearing it more than one time, that would be your price limit to make it cost worthy. The vest is the biggest style accessory for a tux and those are cheap to tailor the tux to the occasion. Unless you are like Crunchy Frog and have the Tux From Hell.

Just remember, if you get an outfit with a cummerbund, the pleats – unlike aluminum siding – go up.

I own 5 formal suits. Probubly more than the average guy, but I love dressing up. I own…

a 1940’s black dinner jacket and pants (what you would recognize as a tuxedo)

a white formal jacket (for those tropical casino outings!)

a black tail-coat for those white-tie affairs

a swallowtail coat for morning tea or a day at Ascot

a victorean frock coat, for balls and when dining with Sherlock Holmes.

oh,wait…SIX “tuxedoes” if by tuxedo we mean formal wear then you can count my scottish formal kilt ansemble.

So, I have some knowledge of this subject and a great love for formal men’s clothing.

The average american man will rent a tux on his wedding day, and the day of his children’s wedding. Fie on that! Who wants to be average? You can get by nicely with a classic Black Dinner Jacket for most cocktail parties, or New Year’s eve parties. PLEASE do not EVER wear a RED clip-on tie and matching cummerbund. They are the universal symbol of clueless-ness.

Avoid the cheap satin lapels and single ribbon trimmed pants. The slightly higher cost of ‘grograin’ or ‘file’ material for lapels and pants-trim will be offset by the timeless appeal.

Be careful of tuxedo rental shop sales. They usually unload the cheap stuff that is dated or fit only for lounge bands.

A tailor will give the best results, but do not be afraid to haunt the resale or second-hand stores. I’ve gotten some very high quality goods that way.

Look for classic styling and timeless lines. That way your tuxedo will not look odd or geeky.

100% cotton shirts and for the love of humanity, learn to tie a bow tie! it’s not hard and it gives your wife something to untie after a couple of martinis.

cuff-links and studs. Unique. Men’s jewellry should strive to be all the same metal, all gold or all silver, if possible. The less the better.

I have to get back to work but I’ll search for some more info later on. Good Question!

I have one. Cost me about $450 or so for the Millenium Eve party.

Jacket (no tails)
2 sets of pants (I wear these to work sometimes)
Cummerbund (Gold)
Bow Tie (Gold)
Cuff Links
Lapel Pin
White Froofy shirt

For most men, the ideal thing is probably to buy a quality, black tuxedo or smoking (to our European readers). This will serve you well at semi-formal evening gatherings, which is 99% of the parties you’ll attend.

Your ability to choose styles and brands will depend on where you live, but in general, I might recommend the current Canali three-button, notch lapel tuxedo. It is available for about $600-700. If I were you, I’d pair that will a black vest and long tie and bowtie (for variety!) and a 100% cotton pique white Zegna tuxedo shirt. The Zegna has a standard point collar, which will appear slightly more relaxed and dressed-down than a wing collar shirt. Top the whole thing off with a (very slightly) off-white silk Brioni pocket square, and you’ll be better dressed than 99% of the crowd.

For shoes, patent leather captoes or opera slippers are to be recommended. Opera slippers with a grosgrain detail are to die for, but then you’re entering sartorial high waters.

The Canali tux is a classic cut, suitable for men of most shapes and sizes, and has lovely grosgrain lapels. It is also most similar to a suit in cut and shape, and I think that this allows men most familiarity and comfort. Similarly, the Zegna pique shirt is comfortable and familiar. The total outfit should run you about $800-900, which is the same as renting 6-7 times. And you’ll look 100% better.

My second semi-formal outfit looked something like the above. I’ve since bought a hand-sewn Battistoni tuxedo, but unless you’re going to be hitting the nightly benefit circuit or have a long-standing admiration for Edward, Duke of Windsor, I don’t recommend that.

Warm Regards,

PS: BTW, I was at a wedding this year, wearing my Battistoni, when a young woman approached me and said, “What a marvelous tuxedo! Where did you rent it?” Some compliment, that!

Thanks all, especially BMalion and Bjorn240 for the detailed responses.

You beat me to my follow-up question. I’ll give the used menswear shops a call.

I live in Austin, Texas. Austin isn’t known for formality, but I’m sure that I’ll find something. Regarding footwear, I planned to just go with basic boots. This might be sacrelege elswhere, but I can get away with it in Texas, right?

Right! The most fun I’ve had in public while wearing formal wear was when my wife and I stopped at a Fifties-style burger joint on the way to a wedding. Sure, we looked great at the wedding, but everyone looked when we were at Fran’s!

Wrong! :wink:

Seriously, the fashion-police love to give forth with rules, rules and more rules. “This goes with that, but never this…” “Belt and shoes must ALWAYS match…” The unwritten rule of male fashion is “If you can pull it off, go for it.” But that’s a big IF.

I personally think that cowboy boots with a tuxedo are only acceptable if you are actually a real-life cowboy riding a horse while at the same time in a formal setting, very unlikely. Are you dressing up or going to a costume party? Would you wear dress shoes to work in the garden?

There is a long answer as to why casual clothing and play-clothes have gradually become accepted into the more dressy environs of society, I don’t have time just yet to go into detail. However, since you enjoy wearing a tuxedo, why spoil the effect by wearing inappropriate footwear? Go the distance! It’s fun and the more you read about men’s fashion the more you will appreciate the work you put into being a gentleman who is well-dressed for the occasion.