Black Tie Affair

With New Years Eve coming up in just over a week, many folks out there may be reaching into the backs of their closets and dusting off the old tuxedo.  I myself will be needing to do this in late January for a benefit dinner I’ll be attending.  Except, when I reach into my closet, I won’t find a tuxedo… because I don’t own one.  So time to step up my game.  I’ll be purchasing my tuxedo soon.  When buying a tux, which isn’t any surprise, it’s best to stick with tradition: Black tux, white shirt, patent leather shoes.  While I’d love to be the guy who can pull off a dashing midnight blue tuxedo, or some skull and crossbones embroidered slippers, I know I can’t.  And I really shouldn’t, this being my only tuxedo in my arsenal.  Over the past month or so, I’ve been doing plenty of research so I can make the best decision when purchasing my tux.  So if anyone out there is looking to buy a tuxedo soon, let this be your buying guide.  The first thing on my mind with the tuxedo was the lapel.  You can’t go wrong with any style: peak, notch, or shawl.  Just make sure the lapel is a more formal fabric, such as satin or grosgain.  The material on the buttons should also be the same as the material on that lapel.  The jacket closure should only have one or two buttons… never more.  One additional note on the jacket: this is the only time ventless would be permissible.  A ventless tuxedo jacket is as traditional as it gets.  That being said, a double vent is fine too, which is what I’ll be going with (because ventless, personally, is just horrible).  Also, don’t be that dude with a pre-tied bow tie.  It’s just not cool.  Get a real one, and tie it yourself.  After that, keep things just as you would with any suit: properly fitted to give a clean silhouette.  GQ has a great tux buying guide, as well.  While I wouldn’t agree with everything they mention, they get paid for this so know it’s still great advice.

Looking your best is always fun.  The formality of black tie obviously calls for looking your best.  Stick to proper guidelines, and really common sense, and you’ll look perfect.



4 responses

  1. Actually you can go wrong with the lapel. Don’t buy a notch lapel, it will make you look like a waiter. After I read that in Esquire’s Handbook of Style it really made sense. Next time you’re at a black tie event you will really notice it. I went with a peaked lapel, but have found that I prefer the shawl now.

  2. Phil- that’s a good point you bring up that I didn’t think of… I’m actually leaning towards the shawl myself, as well. But avoiding the waiter look is definitely a must.

  3. I’ve been looking for a reason to buy a tux for about the past 6 months but to no avail. The few suits i do have barely see any action as it is, i can’t think of any reason why i need need to wear a tux. Good luck on your search, keep us posted.

    My vote is for peak lapels.

  4. Danny, check out local thrift/Goodwill/Habitat stores. I found an awesome 3-piece tux for $7.50 and therefore didn’t feel bad about not having a formal event on the horizon.

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