Choosing a tux isn’t as simple as throwing together a shirt, jacket, pants and a bow tie. There are a lot of things you have to think about – the collar, the shirt, the bow tie, among others – and how they work together to make you look good. And since it is, after all, the penultimate in men’s formal wear, screwing up the tux is also the penultimate faux pas. So know your choices and know which choices will work for you.
Nothing screams formal like a tux jacket, and there’s nothing like the tried and tested traditional penguin suit in black. If you feel like you want to give it a slightly more modern twist, ask your tailor – yes, you should have it tailored – to give you a thinner than usual lapel. A slimmer stance at the lapel area makes you look that much sexier too.
Of course, there’s more to the tux jacket than just plain black. Play around with the lapel by getting a shawl collar instead of the usual lapel to give you a more streamlined but laid back look. You could also ask the tailor to switch up the fabric on the lapel to something like satin, which will give you a shine now in favor with big brands like Ralph Lauren.
Heck, you could change the jacket altogether! Take the rock star road and get yourself a velvet jacket. It’s a lot more daring and takes some balls to pull off, so pair it with a very simple white shirt and black tie to make your job easier. A white tux, while harder to pull off, makes a more stylish statement than traditional black. Maintain the color scheme on the rest of your outfit, though.
Tuxedo shirts have a finer (and often stiffer) quality to them than the old shirts you wear everyday, and there’s no replacing them. But that doesn’t mean you have to just stick to plain vanilla white. Mix it up with a shirt that’s another color – blue or yellow, say – that’s so light, it’s almost white. The slight deviation in color will be perceptible to make you stand out, but not enough to make you clash horribly with everyone else.
If you’re feeling a little anti-establishment, try to find yourself a textured tuxedo shirt in black. It’s harder to find than the proverbial needle in the haystack, but a black shirt with a different texture gives you license to do black-on-black with your tux and tie. You’ll be able to stand out without having anything screaming – a good thing in formal events.
No, a bow tie is not just a bow tie. It could be a big, flamboyant bow tie that makes you look like you have a rafflesia around your neck. On the other end of the spectrum, a bow tie could also be so thin and svelte that it’s part formal wear, part minimalist artwork. But from all the choices, it’s only you and your reflection that’ll decide which bow tie works.
Alternatively, you could skip the bow tie altogether and go with a long, slim tie. Like the velvet tux jacket, it’s a very fashion forward choice, and there should only be one of those in every outfit. If you’re taking the long and slim road, keep all the other pieces classic.
Most people say that there’s very little room to express yourself at the peak of the formal pyramid, but they likely haven’t seen all that the tux has to offer. With all the options you have available, don’t be afraid to ask your tailor for recommendations. After all, he’s the guy you’re paying to make you look good.
Hendrik is the owner and founder of Cheap-Neckties.com – a discount necktie retailer with amazing deals on mens ties and cheap bow ties Hendrik also suggests you read his article on Dress Code and Invitation Terminology
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