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Picking the Perfect Wedding Tuxedo Monday the fourteenth of March, 2016

You’re attending a wedding, and you have already made the decision to go with a tuxedo over a suit. That’s a step in the right direction, but unfortunately the process isn’t done just yet.

Selecting the right tuxedo can be just as difficult as finding the perfect suit, but we have a few rules of thumb that should help you avoid looking like a high-schooler at prom, whether you are the one walking down the aisle or you’re simply there to take in the festivities.


Never Rent

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Think about it like this: Women, the bride in particular, are shelling out thousands of dollars on dresses they may never wear again to look their best at a wedding. Conversely, you are spending $200 on a tuxedo that may very well have last been worn by a 17-year-old in a gymnasium. A quality tuxedo has more utility than just one wedding and is a worthy investment over time. While it may not be everyday work wear, the moments that you do don a tuxedo are generally significant enough to make it worth the cost.

Additionally, the chance of finding a tuxedo in a rental shop that fits well is a losing proposition. There are some rental companies that can get you a more modern garment, but those are the exception, not the rule. Because they are meant to be malleable, many stores stock their racks with boxier cuts.

It goes without saying that you aren’t making alterations on a tuxedo you’ll be wearing for a total of a few hours, so if you go the rental route it guarantees that you’re pretty much stuck with whatever you happen to stumble upon.


Navy v. Black

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There are two fundamental approaches to picking your tuxedos color, and they’re actually very closely related.

The black, one-button peak lapel is the classic model, a staple of chic formalwear for over 100 years. The slightly newer navy shawl collar make is your other best bet, and it actually owes its heritage to the classic black.

In photographs around the turn of the century, black tuxes would show up grey, so the navy derivative came about because it looked black in pictures. Neither is more formal than the other, so as long as you keep your navy deep and tasteful it is really a matter of personal preference.

A more somber occasion still probably calls for black, but the line is hardly clear-cut.


Fit

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Most tuxedos, as mentioned earlier, tend to come in a boxier cut, but this really isn’t the way to go.

You don’t want a billowy shirt or too much give in the shoulders. The ultra slim look is an option with a tux, but depends on your body type and is a little tougher to pull off than a narrow fit, in part because of the accessories and detailing that goes into a tuxedo, like the placket or cummerbund.

The jacket should fit snugly around the shirt collar, and there should be an inch or two of room in the waist; enough for comfort, but not too much so as to look billowy.


A tuxedo doesn’t have the day-to-day utility of a suit, but that doesn’t mean the selection process should be any less deliberate. By following the steps above and understanding the nuances of selecting a tux, you can be sure that when you do break yours out, it’ll be a show-stopper in a sea of ill-fitting formalwear.

Tie Rules 101 Monday the eighteenth of January, 2016

Four-in-hand, Half-Windsor, Full-Windsor – just because you know how to tie these different knots doesn’t mean you are wearing your tie correctly. And no matter how good your suit looks, a bad tie can easily take your outfit from stylish to oafish. While many think that finding the right tie is as simple as not picking a pattern that glaringly clashes with your shirt, there are actually three key factors to consider in selecting the accessory that can make or break your suit.

Tie-to-Collar Ratio

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One of these key elements of tie styling is the proportion of your knot to your collar. In general, a tie knot should be three-quarters the length of your collar point. A spread collar shirt requires a wider knot, while going with something thinner for a point collar is ideal.

Obviously, there are physical factors to consider here as well. To balance you out, if you have a wide neck you’ll want a narrower spread collar, while if your frame is skinnier a wider spread is preferable. Face shape and size are also important aspects to keep in mind with the proportion of your collar and knot, along with the fabric of the tie.

 

Width Proportion

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The cardinal rule here is that the widest point of your tie needs to be roughly equal to the widest point of your suit lapel. This balance is key for a look that seems deliberate and pulled together.

Go for too thin a tie and it’ll seem like you just stumbled out of Williamsburg, but going too wide risks resembling a 1920s gangster.

For reference, George Hahn writes, “A lapel, collar or tie between 2 and 2.5 inches is in skinny territory. Wide is around 3.5 inches…“

These numbers are generally the standard in menswear, and even if you can’t measure exactly it shouldn’t be too hard to see the distinction.

Don’t fret if the ratio isn’t exactly one-to-one, there’s about a 0.25” margin of error, and that slight difference is barely noticeable. 

 

Pattern Matching

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Now this is the tricky one, because there truly is no single correct way to match patterns. In general, there are four styles to keep in mind here: solid-on-solid, solid-on pattern, pattern-on-solid, and pattern-on-pattern.

With solid-on-solid, you have plenty of options. You can go with contrasting colors, creating a bolder relationship between your shirt and tie, or analogous colors (i.e. light pink and red) that fit together more easily. Be wary of shades that are too similar though, you need some dynamism to really make the outfit stand out.

Solid-on-pattern and vice versa are pretty standard for traditional menswear, but there are some keys to pulling them off. You again need to make sure the colors compliment, and generally it is important to anchor at least one element of your pattern to your solid color.

Pattern-on-pattern requires some confidence to pull off, but it is far from impossible. Here, you need to be sure that your patterns are pretty strikingly different. Wearing stripes on top of slightly thinner stripes isn’t what we’re talking about here. Additionally, it makes sense for your tie pattern to be louder than your shirt. After all, the shirt is generally the canvas for the tie to pop. Also, don’t forget to factor the pattern of your suit into the equation.


Getting your tie style down pat will take some time, but these rules should make it simple enough to keep the basics straight. Do not hesitate to contact us to help you out if you are unsure!