Dinner jacket/black tie attire opinions

So, for a variety of reasons the time has come for me to grow up and procure for my wardrobe a dinner jacket for formal black tie occasions. I’m looking for something simple and classic–one or two button, single breasted, single vent, silk lapels, single leg stripe, black (real) tie, black cumberbund, and white braces–but everything I’ve found so far off the rack has mostly been overly dandified, kind of cheap-looking, and baggy in places that alteration isn’t going to fix. I’m willing to spend a fair amount of money that something that is good quality and well-fitted–up to and including a tailored suit–but I’m not sure where to look (Los Angeles and San Gabriel Valley region), and all of the friends, co-workers, and friends’ co-workers’ I have thus far surveyed have offered such sage nuggets of advice as, “Avoid all engagements that require a tuxedo,” “Check at the Salvation Army–they have good dead peoples’ clothes,” and “Dude, no woman is worth it, man!” (FTR, I’m not getting married, participating in a marriage ceremony, or especially planning to impress women, although the latter would certainly be a side benefit.)

Any suggestions on where to look?


Have you thought about trying to find a tailor who can make you a suit? it’ll be more expensive, but if you care for it and don’t change your weight too much it’ll be good for years, especially if it’s a classic style. I haven’t experienced the problem you are describing. Finding a classic tux wasn’t that hard for me.

If you wear a DJ often enough to warrant a purchase, get yourself a variety of cummerbunds. I have maroon, white, black, and blue ones, and am on the lookout for a decent green one.

I have, in fact, considered a tailored suit (see above) but don’t know where to look in the area and haven’t gotten any recommendations thus far from people I know. I’ve bought a couple of tailor-made suits in the past (not in LA) and had good and indifferent experience, but generally with suits I don’t have a problem buying off the rack and having it fit well with minor alterations. So far in looking at dinner jackets everything I’ve found so far is kind of cheap and tending more toward the gaudy side or semi-white tie appropriate more appropriate to fashionable weddings than traditional evening dress.


Where are the racks you’re getting these jackets from? Men’s Wearhouse or Nordstrom’s?

I’m not sure what you’re asking. Perhaps that’s because I’ve never had a tux (I’m female).

Are you asking about where to look for a tux off the rack or are you asking how how to find a tailor in the Los Angeles, San Gabriel Valley region? Or are you asking how to find a tailor in general?

I don’t know the answers to any of these questions, but I can take a guess as to how to find a tailor. You could go to your Yellow pages and look under tailor, I suppose. Then call them up and ask if they do tuxes. I’d guess there are not too many people who do and they might be able to tell you who they are. Or look under tuxes and ask if anyone custom tailors. I must be missing something here.

I’ve checked both with disappointing results.

Yes, yes, and yes. The problem with just picking a tailor to make a suit out of the Yellow Pages without any other recommendation is that you’ll spend several hundred dollars without knowing how it will come out. Buying off the rack (which I typically do with suits) is easier because you can examine the suit and make sure the stitching and cut is already of good quality, and just knowing someone who can do alterations; with a tailored suit, it’s placing faith in the tailor to actually have skill. However, all the off-the-rack dinner jackets I’ve seen so far have been of disappointing quality and indifferent fit.


Hmm. So perhaps you could pick several tailors and ask to see their work and ask for recommendations. You’re right in that the quality of tailors varies widely. Tailoring a suit is something that takes a lot of skill and practice and there are several different ways to do it. Hand tailoring (where the lapels are hand-stitched) is rarely done anymore and would cost a fortune. As to tailoring from scratch with fusibles, that really depends on the quality of the materials and the craftsmanship. Asking for samples of the materials (and you could always pick your own materials if it comes down to that) and looking at finished products might help you decide if you’re interested in that particular tailor. And speaking with people who have already gotten something done will tell you if this person is easy to work with. I know it sounds like a lot of work, but I’m guessing this will cost a certain amount of money, so I guess it depends on if it’s worth it to you.

As you noted, the benefit of a tailored suit is that you already know the quality of the materials and whether you like the lapel (easily the most complicated part of the suit). The rest can generally be altered unless you need something lengthened or let out substantially.

Or hopefully, someone will see this thread who knows the perfect tailor to make a tux in your area.

I’m sure you’ll look smashing in it. :slight_smile:

I mean, you say you’re in LA - can’t you just go down to Armani? I honestly have no idea how much an Armani dinner jacket costs, though, so I might be talking out of my ass here.