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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 14, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 50
Tux talk - A man's guide to dressing for the big day
Arts & Entertainment
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Tux talk - A man's guide to dressing for the big day

by Gary M. Kramer - Special to the SGN

You're getting married! Congratulations! (Or, it's about time!) Now, if you want to get hitched without a hitch, here are some tips for looking your best.

BUY OR RENT?
For guys, when it comes to getting married, it's all about the tux. Grooms can - and should - make a special effort to look their best in a properly fitting tuxedo.

Sure, you can rent a 'penguin suit' at a formalwear shop, but rented tuxes (with barrel sleeves and adjustable pants that are made to be dry-cleaned daily) can cost $175 and almost always look cheap. You can own a fitted tux with a proper split sleeve for as little as $250. That way you'll be covered not only for your own wedding, but also when your friends and relatives get married and request black tie.

But if you do prefer to rent, Men's Wearhouse (various locations) has some good options. Grooms and members of the wedding party can get measured in one store, pick up their tux in another, and drop it off at a third.

Teresa Krakowiak, a Men's Wearhouse store operations manager, encourages grooms to rent tuxes, stating that 'you need at least three events a year to justify buying the full package,' which can cost $700 to $1,000 and includes jacket, pants, tie, shirt, vest, shoes, cuffs, and studs. Rentals range from $130 to $180 (or, for members with Men's Wearhouse Perfect Fit discount, $100 to $150).

Another benefit to renting, Krakowiak says, 'is that everyone will have the identical style.' If the groom is wearing a two-button, notch-lapel tux - the most traditional tux to purchase or rent, she advises - and the best man is doing a three-button peak, is that OK? Also, when it comes to pants, pleat vs. flat front should be a personal preference. But one would also want the groomsmen to be uniform in appearance.

WHAT TIME IS IT?
Krakowiak suggests that grooms should also let the venue indicate the style. And the time of the wedding indicates what should be worn as well. A morning suit - charcoal jacket with striped pants - is for weddings before noon; a tux is appropriate at any time; and white tie (tails) are appropriate only in the evening. A white tux is fine for summer, but often it is a cultural choice. She also recommends that grooms take an extra shirt, in case they perspire or spill something.

Even if you rent, you can do things to make the tux your own, Krakowiak says. The accessories - from cufflinks to suspenders and shoes - can jazz up the tux. Links can be stylish, but be careful not to overstyle. Subtlety is the key - less is more. Shoes are traditionally black-patent, but high-polished leather is acceptable as long as it's not a wingtip. And while cummerbunds are never 'wrong,' it is important to ask, 'Does it look good?' If you wear one, black is traditional, and white and red are OK seasonally, but color cummerbunds are rare and not a good idea.

The only 'trend' Krakowiak follows is 'It should fit.'

Whatever your style, the importance of wearing a proper-fitting tux cannot be denied. It will make you look great in your wedding photos. (And think how sexy you will feel taking it off when you start your honeymoon.)

ADDITIONAL TIPS
o A one-button, peak-lapel, flat-front tux is the current style, but a two-button notch lapel is more elegant and special.

o Midnight blue/navy is rare for a tux and not really appropriate for a wedding, though some tuxedo specialists suggest dark blue is better than black for flash photos. 'It's blacker than black.'

o White tie (tails) should be worn only at an extremely dressy event, and with a wing collar.

o The wedding suit should be plain unless you're a movie star - then it can be a striped tuxedo jacket.

o A French placket is a good design detail to hide buttons.

o Custom bow ties that men tie themselves are best. If it looks a little messy, that's OK - it adds character.

o Bigger does not equal better. You want something that fits your frame.

o Flat-front pants are best, unless you are 300 pounds and want to look like an exotic dancer.

o Go for elegance over embellishment and glitz - don't try to use flash to compensate for true style.

o Have fun with suspenders or cummerbund/tie sets that can be hot and bold.

o If you are a guest at a black-tie wedding, don't 'peacock' and outdress the guest of honor. Wear a laid-down collar, French cuff shirt, real knot tie, nice studs/cuffs, flat-front pants, and a single- or double-vented jacket.

o Plan your tux rental or purchase two months before the wedding.

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