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Tux 101: Our Formal Guide to Formal Wear

March 29, 2010

If you’re marrying the typical guy, he probably has no clue where to start looking for a tux.  The last time he wore one was probably at his prom.  He most likely got said tux at his local mall, where his mom helped him match his cummerbund to the coral-colored dress swatch his date provided.  Ten years later, preparing for your wedding, he is left with very poor mental resources for tux-shopping, but who can blame him?

Therefore, here is our Formal Guide to Formal Wear:

1.  First, he should figure out whether he will be buying or renting a tux.  Many guys rent, for the simple reason that they won’t wear a tuxedo enough in the future to warrant a purchase (a double standard, because, HELLO! when will 10 lbs. of white tulle and lace ever be appropriate again?).   Plus, for around $150, your guy can rent himself a spiffy designer number.   However, owning a tux has its advantages, namely that there’s no match for a well-tailored garment, and your guy can attend formal events at a moments notice.  If he attends more than one or two black-tie events a year, buying a tux is a worthwhile investment.

2. Whether he rents or buys, a few rules should be followed when choosing the style of tuxedo.  First, make sure it  goes with your dress.  The two of you should look like a pair on your big day.   If you have an elaborate satin dress, he might opt for a cummerbund and formal accoutrements, however, if you’re wearing an understated column, then his should tux should reflect your simplicity.  Similarly, his attire should correlate with the setting of the wedding.  His wardrobe will be different if you are marrying in a cathedral vs. in a tent outside.   Finally, make sure your groom is dressed at least as formally as the invitation specifies.  If your wedding is black tie, your groom should follow suit.

3.  A couple of nuances about wearing a tuxedo.  First, a belt should never be worn with a tux.  If his pants are too big, suspenders are the way to go.  Second, make sure your guy has high, dark socks.   Showing some leg when sitting down is a major formal-wear faux pas.

4.  Notes on a good fit, whether your man is renting or buying: Jacket sleeves should hit the wrist bone, and shirt sleeves should extend about a half inch past the jacket sleeves.  Also, although he may be used to longer pants, tuxedo trousers should brush the top of the shoe.

5. Finally, if he opts to rent, make absolutely sure he has every piece of the outfit when he leaves the shop.  Also, double check the color, style, and sizing  before leaving the store, and make sure all buttons are intact, and that none of the garments are stained or ripped.  You don’t want to wait until an hour before the ceremony to find out his jacket has a frayed hem and there’s red wine on the lapel of his shirt.  (Of course, if this were to happen, you’d have your Mojuba bag to save the day!).  Lastly, if the shirt and jacket require cufflinks, make sure a pair either come with the suit, or that your groom has an appropriate pair of his own.

For more advice on Tuxedos, check out these articles on, or visit GroomGroove.

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