Prom: noun – A formal dance, especially one held by a high school or college class at the end of an academic year.
Origin: 1890–95, Americanism; short for promenade
Tuxedo: noun – A man’s jacket for semiformal evening dress, traditionally of black or dark-blue color and characteristically having satin or grosgrain facing on the lapels.
Origin: 1890–95, Americanism; short for Tuxedo coat, after country club at Tuxedo Park, N.Y.
It’s time for prom and you’ve been tasked with renting the perfect tuxedo to compliment your date. Seems simple enough. How hard could it be? Well, there’s good news and bad news.
There’s actually a lot to consider when picking out the perfect tuxedo to compliment your date. Renting a tuxedo is easy. Renting the perfect tuxedo is a little harder. It means knowing the answers to questions most prom-age guys don’t ask.
What the above definition for prom leaves out is that a prom just isn’t a dance. It’s an important rite-of-passage for young men and women. It’s a memorable life event that will likely stay with you your whole life.
Likewise, the definition of tuxedo leaves some things out. Your choices are far more varied now than the definition suggests. While traditional formal wear is more limited in variety, proms don’t require traditional formal wear. Your options are wide open, encompassing classic, modern, fashion, novelty tuxedos and even suits. More variety means you can get what you’re looking for. It also means there’s more decisions to make.
The Good News: Formal wear is what we do for a living. We’ve thought ahead for you and are happy to guide you through every step to make the process of renting the perfect tuxedo as easy-peasy as possible.
The primary physical difference between a tuxedo and a suit is the presence of satin, as the definition above suggests. Tuxedos have satin facing on the lapels, buttons, pocket trim, and a satin side stripe down the leg of the trousers. Suits don’t incorporate any satin and usually have either plastic buttons or buttons faced with the same fabric as the coat (aka self buttons.)
But more than the physical difference, it’s important to note that a tuxedo sends a different message than a suit does.
A prom tuxedo sends the message that you’re wearing something specifically for this memorable occasion and you would look out of place anywhere else. It commemorates the event in a way that a suit can’t. You can certainly look incredibly dapper in a suit, but you can wear a suit anywhere, any day, regardless of whether you typically do or not. A tuxedo is a special ensemble that you only wear for special occasions. That’s the point of it, and the reason we prefer tuxedos over suits for proms.
Do my accessories have to match my date’s prom dress?
Well, if you want to play it smart, you definitely want your accessories to match. The question here is what they should match: the rest of your tuxedo, or your date’s dress? There is usually only one right answer to this question. The problem is, only one person knows that answer. Your date. But if she doesn’t have an opinion either way, here’s some fodder for your case, whichever way you’re leaning.
To Match the Dress:
The current trend of matching your date’s prom dress is a fairly modern one and it serves as a way for a couple to look and feel like a matching set. The sentiment is visually and emotionally appealing to most prom couples. And it’s also a way for your date to claim you as hers. And that’s not a bad thing. But because of that, one thing you definitely want to avoid is going with a colorful vest/cummerbund and tie combo that is a different color from your date’s. That could send the message that you’re with someone else, and that’s bad for obvious reasons.
To Match the Tuxedo:
Traditionally speaking, men wear accessories that match the tuxedo they are wearing. The timeless look of course is known as Black Tie, which pairs a black bow tie and cummerbund (or low-cut vest) with a black tuxedo, but the same principle applies for any color tuxedo. Whether you’re wearing a black, grey, tan, silver, brown, white, ivory, or other colored tuxedo, matching accessories is a great look. It’s not only masculine, it’s also pretty chivalrous. Here’s why. When your accessories match your tuxedo, they don’t particularly stand out. That means that your accessories don’t draw attention away from your date. Good formal wear is all about accentuating your best features, and in this context, your best feature is her.
Should I wear a bow tie or a long tie?
For proms, this is a fairly subjective question, based on your personal taste. Both options are acceptable for proms. But if you’re asking our opinion, and you are, here’s our take on some things to weigh out.
These are often the favorite for Proms, since they feel formal but not too formal – much like a prom is a formal event, but not too formal. A good thing about wearing a long tie is that many formal affairs you’ll attend in life will require a bow tie. Prom is a good chance to mix that up a little. The downside is that it makes your tuxedo look more like a suit. Also, it bisects the white “V” that is made by the shirt when the coat is closed. That “V” is important because it emphasizes broad shoulders and a narrow waist, for your most masculine look.
From a sartorial standpoint, these are always going to be your best look. Traditionally the bow tie is the only correct neckwear to accompany a tuxedo. Long ties tend to make your tuxedo look more like a suit, and that kills some of the commemorative effect of a tuxedo. Also, the bow tie preserves the white “V” and draws attention to your face, instead of your naval. It’s also more traditional. And you can still splash some fun into your outfit with basically every color and pattern known to man. We like them both, especially for proms, but if we had to pick either a bow or a long tie, we would opt for a bow tie.
The fit is a relatively new consideration in the world of rental formal wear. For years and years, the industry provided only standardized classic cut garments. Then around 5 years ago, modern cut tuxedos began to be more popular. And withing the past 2 years, slim fit tuxedos have made a big splash on the scene.
The reason for different tuxedo fits is that not everyone is built the same way. We people-folks come in all shapes and sizes. When trying to get a tuxedo to fit you well, the first question you have to answer is what size you wear. The people at your local store can help you there. But once you know what size you need, consider the fit of different garments.
- Classic cut garments will give you a fuller fit. There’s more material there and accommodates all sizes of people, but it wouln’t give you that fitted look.
- Modern cut garments are trimmer than classic cut. For your money, this is a good option for everyone. It’s trimmer. The silhouette is updated, but the garment shouldn’t hug you too closely.
- Slim cut garments are as the name suggests. They are cut to hug the wearer closer around the ribs. These are absolutely the best option for smaller guys, or guys that like a fitted look. They don’t compare to bespoke made garments, but they’re the closest thing the rental industry has to offer. These may not be available in plus sizes.
Hopefully this guide has been helpful in clearing up any uncertainty and narrowing down options for any indecisive prom-goers this year. While the size and the style of tuxedo you get for your prom is important, don’t forget the most important thing. Prom is supposed to be fun. Whatever you do, and whatever you wear, make sure it adds to your evening and helps you make those long lasting memories that will make you smile years down the road.
Don’t see what you’re looking for? Check out our Complete Listing of all our Prom Tuxedos and Prom Suits!
If you want to take it all in and decide for yourself, check out our Entire Catalog of Tuxedos and Suits!
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