Tux It In

By Chandra Orr

March 6, 2009 5 min read


Time for a tuxedo? Let your date's outfit set the tone

Chandra Orr

Creators News Service

It's time to ditch the worn-out denim and ratty old T-shirts. Prom is just around the corner, and you're going to need a hot tux if you plan to make a good impression.

First things first: The gown takes priority.

Your date's dress will, for the most part, dictate the tuxedo you choose. Don't panic. Your gal may be eyeing a bold fuchsia number, but that doesn't mean you'll be stuck with a hot pink vest and tie. Matching ensembles aren't mandatory -- creating a cohesive and complementary look is the goal.

"Find inspiration in your date's style but stay true to your signature look," advised Sinead Kasch, style expert for David's Prom, a division of David's Bridal. "If she's the classic It Girl, find your inner James Bond. If she prefers the fashionable print trend, accent her style by choosing one color in her dress and coordinating with it. If she likes to have fun with fashion, mix it up by adding something from your closet.

"Personal style should be the number one consideration when you're selecting a tuxedo, since this is your day to suit up and shine."


Matching accessories are the classic choice, but forget the cummerbund and bow tie -- they're a bit outdated. Opt instead for a more modern vest and necktie combo, which looks great even after you ditch the jacket to hit the dance floor.

The latest vest and tie combinations are quite stylish, even in the strongest colors and textures of the season. Deep red, coral, cornflower blue and spring green in mix-and-match patterns are hot for spring -- think monochromatic hound's-tooth vests paired with matching striped ties.

If you're looking for something more subdued, try a deeper shade in the same color family as your girl's gown. If she's keen on dazzling purple, for example, look for a necktie and vest in deep plum.

"The easiest solution is to match the accessories to the color of your date's dress, but if matching isn't an option, go for the classic black and white combination," Kasch said.

Neutral neckwear and vest combos go a long way. Ivory, silver or platinum accessories paired with a classic black tux are sure to compliment any gown.

"If the color of the dress isn't exactly what the gentleman prefers, we recommend matching or coordinating the tie and then provide neutral alternatives in the vests such as black, white or silver," said Sam Stogner, vice president of formal wear for Men's Wearhouse. "You should also accessorize the look with a pocket silk and corsage that coordinates with the dress."

Looking to make a really big statement? Try a complete tuxedo in a neutral hue.

"Black is always the strongest color," Stogner said, "but prom students are willing to step out and rent colors such as white, ivory, gray and even chocolate brown."


Between prom and spring weddings, this is a busy time for tuxedo rental shops. To be sure you get the style you want, visit the tuxedo shop as soon as your prom plans are in motion.

"Make a positive impression with your parents and your date and ease your mind -- reserve your prom tuxedo early," Stogner said. "Don't wait till the last minute. We recommend renting at least 30 days in advance."

Generally, you must reserve your tuxedo 14 days in advance to avoid rush fees. Wait any longer and you'll pay extra to get the tux there on time.

Expect to spend at least $60 for the rental, which will include the jacket, pants, shirt, neckwear, vest and jewelry like studs and cufflinks. If you hate shopping, don't worry -- renting a tuxedo is a quick and painless process.

Your first visit to the tuxedo rental shop will likely include a brief consultation, so call ahead and schedule an appointment. A sales associate will help you choose the right tuxedo, select your accessories and do the initial fitting. Expect to put down a small deposit when you sign the rental agreement -- the remainder of the bill will come due closer to prom.

Once you've placed your order, plan to return a few days before prom for a final fitting and, again, don't wait until the last minute. Your tux may require a few minor alterations, and you want to leave plenty of time for the store's on-site tailor to work their magic.

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