In 1984, the band Talking Heads released a concert movie, called "Stop Making Sense." Shot during three live performances at Hollywood's Pantages Theatre, the film became a cult sensation among fans and was wildly acclaimed by critics, receiving a 97 percent fresh rating on the movie review website Rotten Tomatoes.
However, in spite of all the praise, what the film is best known for is the giant suit worn by lead singer David Byrne.
While singing "Girlfriend Is Better," Byrne wears a ridiculously oversize suit, the absurdity being further exacerbated by his skinny frame, providing an unforgettable visual.
Now, keep in mind Byrne is not wearing an unusually large suit; he's just a skinny guy in an oversize suit, like a son tall enough to wear his dad's clothes but coming nowhere close to being able to fill them out.
And that's exactly how it feels to wear a rented suit. No matter how tailored or tight you try to get the guy at the Men's Wearhouse to size you, it always feels as if you are wearing your fat uncle's clothes because you accidentally forgot to pack your blazer for your cousin's wedding.
Not only is the fit less than ideal but also most rented tuxedos or suits have two small, seemingly insignificant flaws that scream, "I am wearing a rented suit."
Flaw No. 1: the pants. Companies that rent suits have to fit various body types without having to carry enough inventory to cover every shape and size that the KFC Double Down has created. As a result, they try to give themselves as much flexibility as possible and make the pants adjustable. Adjustable pants? Nothing makes you feel your best like wearing pants that allow you to let the waist out a bit if you've had one too many pieces of wedding cake.
Flaw No. 2: the cuffs. Weddings are formal occasions. Women blow thousands of dollars on dresses that they likely will wear only once. Everyone is supposed to look his best. Then why is it that the cuffs on the shirts of rented suits are fake? Normal cuffs run about twice the length they should be and then get folded over. However, rented shirts almost always skimp on the material that needs to be folded and just end the shirt at your wrist. The rental companies are doing this for one of two reasons. They either are saving money on the material (which can't be that much) or came to the conclusion that they cannot trust their clients to properly fold the material to create a proper cuff (bingo).
Whether it is the fit, the pants or the cuffs, looking good for your wedding (or any event) and having your groomsmen look good is about feeling good more than anything else. And there is no way you can feel good in a fake suit.
Basketball legend Michael Jordan understands this. The six-time NBA champion is known for his signature shoe, the Air Jordan. But what fans may not know is that Jordan wore a new pair of shoes for every game he ever played. When asked about it, he told reporters that he wanted that good feeling you get when you wear a brand-new pair of shoes for every game.
Of course, we all don't have $100 million endorsement deals with Nike, but the message is the same: If you look good, you will feel good, and the only way to look good is to have something that doesn't make you feel self-conscious.
Luckily, there are alternatives to renting that will make you feel stylish, that will leave you with an actual suit that you can wear again in the future and can even be cheaper than renting.
Specifically, H&M, a Swedish clothing company with more than 200 retail stores in the U.S., Zara, a Spanish clothing company known for its two-week turnaround (Zara claims to be able to go from product design to having the same product available in stores in two weeks, compared with the industry average of six months), and Express, an American clothing company with more than 550 stores in the U.S., all have catalogs that include multiple stylish suits in the $100-$200 range.
Do yourself a favor; take advantage of the progress that has been made in fashion. Stop renting and start feeling good about yourself. You deserve it.