Several customers recently asked for guidance on replacing their old tuxedos. No one seems to know what the rules are, and there are dozens of options…so here are a few simple guidelines to consider if you find yourself needing to rent/buy a tuxedo for a formal event this Spring/summer:
Most classic: Single breasted, notch with one button.
If you are renting or buying a ready-made tuxedo, your lapels will have a shiny satin finish. If you are considering a custom tuxedo, you should consider a black gros-grain finish on your lapels.
My second coat option would be the peak lapel. Still a classic. (The other options are shawl collar…not my favorite…or double breasted…a classic but only looks good when buttoned…and that’s just not that comfortable…unbuttoning every time you sit down, etc.)
Your button options will be 2 button or 1 button. I prefer 1 button…clean and simple are your goal. 1B is cleaner.
I continue to advocate besom pockets…the most classic…but flaps like one finds on suits are fine. Similarly, I opt for a non-vented jacket back…it’s the cleanest look…and the most classic. If you are renting, or buying off-the-rack, you won’t have many choices…probably single or non-vented…but with custom, you can style your own tuxedo venting.
Pants are simple…pleated are my first choice…because…you tend to sit a lot when wearing a tuxedo…dinners, weddings, etc. and pleated pants are just flat out more comfortable (see April 11 blog). Having said that, if you much prefer flat-front trousers, they are fine.
As far as the vest/tie goes, the rule is that if one is attending a formal affair at which someone is being honored…man of the year, wedding, etc….all male guests are supposed to blend into the background to allow the guest of honor to be the Peacock…everyone else should be a sea of penguins…
To that point, for the formal affair at which one is being honored, you have but one choice in color of your vest/tie…black…you can add a small pattern on pattern…or a small hint of silver, etc…but the basic tie/vest should be a black ground…many, many guys violate this tenet…but these are the rules…
On the other hand, if you are attending a fundraising gala, for example, or a New Year’s Eve gala, or a grand opening gala, these are events to which you come sporting whatever color floats your boat. Oftentimes, the male will choose a color to complement his date’s dress.
So…these are my guidelines and advice…sage or not…
Vinnie Rua- Founder, Christopher’s Custom