You may be most comfortable in jeans and a t-shirt, but on prom night, you’re going to have to dress in formal attire. Girls have the luxury (or curse, depending on how you look at it) of picking out their own style of gown in the color of their choice, but guys have significantly fewer options. Traditionally, prom attire for guys means one thing: a tuxedo.
If you’ve never worn one, picking one out for your big night can be a little intimidating. But, with a little know-how and some of the confidence you showed when you asked your date to go with you, you’ll soon have the best tuxedo for prom night.
For starters, you’ll need to get fitted by someone who knows how a tuxedo should properly fit. This usually means a tailor, a salesperson in a menswear store or men’s department of a department store, or an experienced employee in a tuxedo rental shop.
They’ll take your measurements with a tape measure first, and then give you pants and jackets to try on. Generally, a tuxedo should be fitted but comfortable. Baggy pants and loose jackets might be stylish and acceptable for everyday wear, but a tuxedo should fit your body.
Many prom-goers rent tuxedos. Since a tuxedo isn’t something you wear very often, and since you may still be growing, investing several hundred dollars in something you’re going to wear only one or two times doesn’t really make a lot of sense. Renting a quality tuxedo will cost roughly eighty to one hundred dollars plus a deposit, usually around twenty bucks, and you won’t have to worry if it will be too tight the next time you want to wear it.
Another upside to renting a tux is that you don’t have to clean it before you return it. And, many rental shops will sell you cleaning insurance for a very small fee, which means even if you spill spaghetti sauce all over yourself while you’re wearing the rented tux, you won’t have to pay extra to have it cleaned.
Once you’ve been measured, there’s the style of your tuxedo to consider. Although tuxedos may not look all that different from one to the next, there are some variations. Mostly, you’ll want to think about what kind of jacket you’ll want. A traditional tuxedo jacket fits like a suit jacket or sport coat, and this is what most prom-goers choose.
If you want to be different and even more formal, you can choose a longer cut-away jacket or even tails. There are also different styles of the lapel, from the classic notch lapel to the wider peak lapel to the smooth, tapered shawl lapel. Try on different styles to figure out which one you like the best.
Black is the traditional color for tuxedoes, and many men feel most comfortable with black. It’s a flattering color on almost everyone, it creates a smooth body line to make you look slim and fit, and if you spill a little something on it, it’s practically invisible.
But, if you’re a more flashy dresser or want to stand out a bit on prom night, tuxedoes do come in other colors. White is usually worn for daytime formal events, but you may want to ask the salesperson or store employee for other color suggestions.
Check out your shirt options as well. White is by far the most popular color for a tuxedo shirt. While most shirts have pleats down the front for a more formal look, you can get tuxedo shirts without the pleats. This yields a clean look and maybe more comfortable on a hot evening. Non-black tuxedoes can look good with a pale-colored shirt. And for an unforgettable 70s look, some tuxedo rental shops might even carry ruffled shirts.
Once you’ve got your tuxedo and shirt picked out, it’s time to consider your tie and cummerbund options. The cummerbund fits over the waist of the pants and basically comes in one style. But there are several choices in ties, with the two basic styles being the bow and straight. A bowtie is most traditional, while a straight tie is a bit more contemporary.
It also creates a longer line and maybe more flattering for larger men. Black is the most common color for ties and cummerbunds, but there are numerous colors and patterns available. You might even consider matching the color of your tie and cummerbund to your date’s dress. To do this, ask her for a swatch of the fabric before you order your tuxedo.
Many prom-goers choose to have a vest with their tuxedo. While it is optional, a vest does give you a classic, sophisticated look. And, if you’re looking to add a splash of color to a black tuxedo, a vest is a good way to do it.
Woody Allen may have made the suit and sneakers look acceptable, but when it comes to getting dressed in formal wear, black dress shoes are the way to go. Many tuxedo rental places will also rent you a pair of shiny black dress shoes, but if you prefer to have your own, simple is best.
You may be able to get away with shoes that are a little more adventurous, like snakeskin or a classic pair of boots, but when in doubt, go with a plain black lace-up. Don’t forget to pick up a pair or two of black dress socks.
There are a few accessories that go with a tuxedo, and you’ll probably want to have at least a few. Almost all tuxedo shirts have French cuffs, which means you’ll need cuff links to keep them closed. Shirt studs will not only keep your shirt closed, but they’ll also give you a more polished look, especially if you’re wearing a bowtie and the front of your shirt isn’t covered. Top hats and even canes can be fashionable with a tuxedo, especially if you have a whimsical personality to match the look.
When renting or purchasing a tuxedo, it’s very important to give yourself enough time to do it right. Don’t wait until the last minute to find formal wear. Usually, a month in advance is enough time. That way, you can get your measurements taken professionally, try different styles on to find which one you like best, and get any necessary alterations taken care of.
It will also give the store time to order the tux in your size if they don’t have it in stock. Also, be sure to ask any questions you have about the tuxedo at this time; it’s harder to make changes to your order a day before the event.
Almost anyone may look good in a tuxedo, but your attitude has to match for you to really be able to pull off the formal look. Remember: these are gentlemen’s clothes. Acting in a polite and confident manner will make your tuxedo seem like the proper attire for you, rather than a rented suit.
After the big night, you’ll need to do a few things with regard to your tuxedo. If you rented it, you’ll want to gather up all of the pieces and return it to the rental store. This includes shoes and any accessories you may have chosen.
Returning your tuxedo late can result in forfeiture of your deposit money. If you own your tuxedo, take it to the dry cleaners to be washed, pressed, and properly hung on hangers so it’s ready the next time you need formalwear.Returning your