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Build Me a Tux

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    Build Me a Tux


    A few of you might remember that Joe did a post about a wedding invite I received. This wedding is for a school friend my wife knows. Well we got the invite and the dress is Black tie. No mention of preferred or optional. So I need a tux. I hardly ever wear a tux, but I refuse to rent something. I will need everything for the out.

    Tux (what collar type, and button count)
    studs and cufflinks (garnet and black)
    Shoes - Will AE Cliftons work?
    Tie or bowtie?

    What am I missing and what are the best options for the above?

    My only suggestion would be to stay away from Men's Wearhouse, especially the shirts they offer. I had trouble finding a tuxedo shirt in the style I liked for a decent price, so I caved and bought a Pronto Uomo and it's one of the worst shirts I have ever purchased. It is thin as toilet paper, impossible to iron and already has a small hole in it after one wash.


      Collar type: Peak or shawl. Not notched. Shawl is the classiest, in my opinion. Button count: One or two... one usually works best with a shawl collar, two with a peak lapel.
      Shirt: Either a winged or fold-down collar is appropriate as long as the shirt has the traditional pleated front. A winged collar looks better with a small-ish bow-tie, while fold-down looks better with a slightly larger bow-tie.
      Studs and cufflinks: Garnet and black sounds fine. All black would be the most conservative option.
      Shoes: Technically, any shoe outside a patent leather, plain-toe oxford or opera slipper is incorrect with a tux. But honestly - no one will notice or care about a tiny amount of brogueing on your shoes. It isn't your wedding. Just make sure you shine the hell out of them before the event.
      With a tuxedo, I don't think there's any question that a bow-tie is the way to go. If you don't want to invest the time into teaching yourself how to tie one, you can probably get away with a cheap pre-tied style.

      As for where to get them: J.Crew is probably the best bet to get a decently high-quality tux in a modern fit. But you might blanch at the $800 price tag, especially if wearing a tux is a once-in-a-blue-moon event for you.

      Here are some much more affordable options:

      You can get a tux shirt at Macy's, as well. Outside of the neck and sleeve length, the fit of the shirt is probably not a major issue since you will be wearing it under a jacket.

      There's also the issue of the cummerbund. I personally dislike them, as they make your tux look less like a tux and more like a performing musician's or waiter's uniform. A well-fitted shawl-collar jacket will look perfectly elegant without any need for a cummerbund.
      Last edited by LesserBlackDog; December 3, 2012, 05:30 PM.


        I should have my MTM tux here this week, will post pics of it and you can see if it's your style.

        Navy with black shawl collar.


          I'm with BenR on virtually everything except I disagree about the shirt needing to be pleated (though I would try to stick with something bibbed). Something like this is more my speed:


            This article seems pretty helpful. I would take some of the recommendations with a grain of salt, but it is pretty decent.


            Technically a wing collar is for a jacket with tails. No one will know that, however.
            "You don't need money to dress better than you do" - Salvatore Romano


              Are you a 42 R? Can I live vicariously through you?

              Midnight blue shawl collar. Do it.


              Wes is a good guy and might give you a discount since there are no bids.

              If you're a 44, please buy this right now:
              Last edited by jonATL; December 3, 2012, 06:17 PM.


                Read these first:


                That's the classic tux. If you're only going to have one I wouldn't vary from their recommendations. Here's what I'd recommend if you're starting from scratch:
                Tux - SuitSupply $469 (side vents, they don't make a ventless):

                Shirt - J Crew (Thomas Mason) currently on sale for $126:
                or Paul Stuart $178:

                Shoes - Alfred Sargent about $240:
                or take a basic black captoe balmoral (like AE Park Ave), put a mirror shine on the toe and buy some silk laces $40:
                AE Clifton has some broguing so it isn't really going to go with a tux, although you will certainly see worse at the wedding.

                Tie & cummerbund - I have a thing for Drake's ties and their yearly sale is usually in January. Grab these if they go 50% off in a month:

                Black onyx studs you can find vintage without much effort.


                  So I bought a tuxedo 5 years ago, the first time I had a black-tie event and I wish I had had a board like this one to consult of the time. Let me tell you about the choices I made and the things I wish I could do over again:

                  - absolutely choose a shawl or peak lapel - I was more used to seeing notched lapels and was talked into a 2 button, notched lapel number which I now regret. Personally, I would go with a shawl if I could do it all over again. I just think it looks sleeker
                  - fit, fit, fit Obviously, this goes without saying, but I bought a tux that's closer to a sack than a trimmer fit. It was also probably a size too big and doesn't fit in the shoulders. There was a Hart Schaffner, Marx that was $300 more, but 1-button and fit better and I decided I couldn't justify the extra splurge for a sometimes item. How I wish I had thought longer term.
                  - Bow tie is absolutely the way to go. I bought a long tie (again, less of a departure from suits I was used to wearing). While I don't think this look is the anathema that the style community does (it can still look good), I think bow ties look *considerably* better. I was surprised how much better I thought I looked in a bow tie.
                  - I'd suggest a standard turned-down collar to the wing. I also like the pique/Marcella front, though small pleats also look night. I'd avoid large pleats.
                  - I done an about-face and am now pro-cummerbund. Most tux shirts take 4 studs right down the middle of the shirt. The top collar button is a regular button as is the bottom button on the shirt. The collar button is covered by your bow-tie. The lowest button can peak out through the break in the jacket above your waist and can look strange when you have black/garnet studs running down the shirt above it. Most people may not notice it, but once it was pointed out to me, I became pro-cummerbund. You could avoid this by going with a waistcoat or by getting a shirt with a covered placket (no studs necessary at all).

                  Product suggestions:
                  - I'd probably get over my shawl lapel bias and (unless I was going MTM) would probably rock the wide lapels of the Suit Supply Tuxedo. It could be your best bang-for-buck out there from a quality perspective (I've been very happy with my Sienna suit). It doesn't list the fit information like they do for their other suits, but the measurements look identical to their Napoli suit, which is generally considered to be trim-fitting.
                  - Another option I'd be thinking about if I didn't want a midnight blue MTM version is the Benjamin tuxedo from eHaberdasher. The owner of eHaberdasher (a general online menswear store) also makes his own Benjamin label suits. They are fully canvassed and have received pretty universal praise over on Styleforum (where he is a regular poster). The measurements suggest that these are fairly slim-fitting as well.
                  - For shirts, I have the slim fit from Brooks Brothers and I've been fairly happy with it - although I still had to get it taken in at the sides. If you want a long tie, they also come with a removable button strip that you can use instead of studs. With the tailoring, the price was similar to the Thomas Mason one from J Crew (which I have no experience with in person). Charles Tyrwhitt has a classic and slim-fit option. Suit supply has pique and pleated front options as well.
                  - Nordstrom offers a basic set of David Donahue studs (I already had cufflinks) that do the trick. Styleforum-approved Kent Wang has a multi-tasking option. That I would consider.

                  I wear Black Park Avenues that I bought from the AE shoe bank.

                  Should I get married, I'd very much consider having a midnight blue one made. But I'm rolling with the one I bought 5 years ago and have gotten a half-dozen wears out of. Even though I may regret some of the choices I made, you can make more informed ones!

                  Edit: I see that Fred got in before I did with the Suit Supply tux recommendation. Think hard on it!
                  Also, I should mention that Put This On has a budget-oriented Black Tie Guide from Kiyoshi Martinez from TheSilentest. It's worth a read.
                  Last edited by redbeardedmike; December 3, 2012, 07:49 PM.


                    Thank you all for the wealth of information. After doing some looking around this is what I would like to get.

                    Tux - I really am liking that TH slim shawl collar above
                    Shirt - CT TuX shirt. I have hd great luck with CT Shirts
                    Studs - black and silver - something classic I can wear more then once
                    Cufflinks - Silver
                    Bowtie - garnet bowtie


                      Bremer, I got mine if you check the post about Dragon Inside


                        Originally posted by shad0w4life View Post
                        Bremer, I got mine if you check the post about Dragon Inside
                        Very nice, but that is a bit spendy for something I might wear once a year.


                          it's about $250 with code of LAUNCH if you missed that part


                            Originally posted by shad0w4life View Post
                            it's about $250 with code of LAUNCH if you missed that part
                            WOW I did miss that. Do you know how long the code is good for?


                              I heard dec 18th but then someone asked so it may end sooner.