Prom Tuxedos

Written by Serena Berger
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While many young women think of prom as the most exciting night of the year and spend hours planning what to wear and how to do their hair, many young men look forward to the event with trepidation. You don’t want to mess anything up by wearing or doing the wrong thing, but this whole dressing up deal doesn’t sound like your idea of a good time. A little help finding a tux and putting together an outfit that you really like may be all you need, however, to get into the spirit of fun with your friends or romance with your girl.

Most young men choose to rent a tuxedo for the prom, as opposed to buying one. Even if you’re not going to get any taller, it’s likely that your body will change enough over the next few years that you won’t want to invest in a tuxedo at 16 or 17. Renting is less expensive, and still gives you the chance to find a tuxedo that suits your personality and your date’s style.

Renting Prom Tuxedos

You should rent your prom tuxedo from a formal-wear shop. Make sure the store includes some tailoring in their rental prices. At the very least, they should hem the pants to the right length, even if there isn’t any tailoring service done on your jacket. And if there is no tailoring for jackets, make certain that you can try on the exact style and size that you’re going to be renting. Expect that the tux will fit you comfortably, and go somewhere else if you can’t find one that does!

If the thought of spending hours in the store trying on different combinations of tuxedos makes you feel a little itchy, there are some great online options. You can find an online formal-wear store that has a virtual model. You should be able to select all of the different components of a tux and combine them however you want on the model to see if the vest you like goes with the jacket you favor.

Of course, a virtual model online probably won’t give you an accurate picture of how your accessories will look. Small accessories, such as cufflinks and studs, can make the difference between a tux that looks like it was rented and one that looks like it was tailor-made for you. Accessories like these may stay with you for years to come, so they are a good present to ask for from a family member. You may also want to borrow a pair from your dad or grandfather, as they have probably accumulated a substantial collection over the years.

Accessorizing Your Tux

Even if you choose a very traditional prom tuxedo, you’ll have a lot of choices to make about accessories. You can wear a traditional style of shirts: laydown collar, wing collar, or mandarin collar. All of these are relatively simple white shirts; the basic difference is the type of tie that you would wear with each (a normal tie, a bowtie, and no tie, respectively). You have some choice, too, in whether to get a flat front, wide pleats, medium pleats, or narrow pleats. This is simply a matter of personal taste.

If you and your date like the idea of being kind of casual, cool, and different, pair a totally informal shirt with your prom tuxedo. Anything from a favorite t-shirt to a Hawaiian shirt might be just the thing to make you more comfortable and the envy of all your friends. Or you could split the difference and go with a relatively nice button-down shirt in anything from cotton to silk. You won’t look quite like anyone else, but you won’t shock your date’s parents, either. Generally speaking, you should talk to your date about a decision like this, unless you are absolutely certain that she’d love it if you showed up to pick her up with a black rose for a corsage and a Coheed and Cambria tour shirt under your jacket.

Speaking of dates, it is not uncommon for a date to want you to match her dress with some element of your tux, typically the vest or cummerbund and bowtie. If you are going to do this, try to get her to come with you or cut you a swatch of the fabric from her dress. A green that does not match the green of her dress is more likely to clash than a simple black tux that doesn’t specifically match her dress, but doesn’t clash either. Shopping for “a green vest” without any more specific information is a terrible idea. Your date will understand if you say that your priority is looking perfect right next to her, so you don’t want to take the chance of clashing if you can’t see her dress beforehand.


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