Over the Thanksgiving holiday, Stardust Celebrations provided the tuxedos for a large formal affair. It was a debutante ball and we did both the formal tails/tie look as well as the more familiar dinner jacket.
The formal tails and tie is most appropriate for evening occasions requiring “white tie” or “full dress”. Examples of such occasions include a ball, cotillion, state dinner, or coronation. We have also seen very formal weddings at which the wedding party wore white tie and the guest dress code was the less formal “black tie”. The white tie dress code includes a black jacket with tails, white pique vest and bow tie, plain white or pique front shirt with a wing collar and black tuxedo trousers.
A very formal daytime event requires a jacket called a “cutaway” or “stroller”. This is a very specific look that includes the cutaway jacket with tails, grey vest, white wing collar shirt, a cravat, and grey striped trousers.
“Black tie” is the most familiar tuxedo look and it is actually semi-formal. It is the black tuxedo dinner jacket with tuxedo trousers. These are paired with either a vest or cummerbund and a bow tie. The more traditional look is black and white. Modern approaches to the semi-formal look include substituting a long tie for the bow tie, lay-down collar on the shirt, and the addition of color.
There are trials and tribulations with any tuxedo rental. As a vendor, we try to minimize these with our clients. It’s important to remember that the tuxedos are RENTALS. This means they have been worn by others and most likely have had sleeve and pant lengths altered. So, even though measurements are taken for the tuxedos, they still must be tried on and possibly further altered or exchanged. Tuxedos may have loose buttons, malfunctioning waist clips, etc. A good vendor will check for all of these things prior to providing the tuxedo to the customer. Towards the end of the tuxedo “season” — usually after prom season — shirts are ready for replacement. The shirts have been laundered and re-laundered and have shrunk and are no longer true to size.
Fit is extremely important to avoid a “cheap rental” look. The length of the pant should end in the back of the shoe just where the leather ends and the actual heel of the shoe begins. This will allow just the right amount of break in the front of the trouser. Jacket shoulders should not pull tight when arms are raised. We always have the guy pretend he is hugging someone. A loose shirt collar looks just as bad, if not worse, than a tight one and tuxedo trousers are worn at the waist (the level of the belly button), not below the belly! If there is any problem with keeping the pants up (any guy with a beer gut is going to have this problem), suspenders are required.
With the right fit, any guy can have that “suave, debonair, GQ” look, turn the heads of women, and bring tears to his mama’s eyes.