Renting And Buying Basics For Mens Tuxedos  

Unless you're exchanging vows on a beach in Kauai, your best Bermuda shorts won't make the cut -- you'll need formalwear in which to greet your bride. If you have season tickets to the opera, you may already be a tuxedo owner, all set to look snazzy on your big day. But otherwise, the question is whether to rent or buy.

Money is the main factor in your decision. Renting will cost about 10% to 30% of the price of a new tuxedo; the average price for a decent tux is between $300 and $500. If you attend three or four formal events per year, buying a tux may be worthwhile. Plus, a good tux is an investment -- you can wear it for years. But if you'd rather slather your body in hot tar than wear a coat and tie a couple of times a year, go for the rental. It's not a big hassle, and you won't be stuck with thin lapels when extra-wide ones come back in style.

Also, if you look toward Howard Hughes as your anti-germ model, you may want to go for your very own, sanitized tux. Rentals are used by who knows how many men, not all of whom share your high hygiene standards. Of course, rental tuxes are cleaned between each use (another cost to factor into your decision), but if you really can't stand the thought of another sweating-buckets nervous groom donning your tuxedo, buying may be for you.

Rental-minded types should keep the following tidbits in mind when choosing a wedding ensemble:

Choose a formalwear store that has updated their inventory regularly since 1976. (If you see powder blue and ruffles, run.)

A good formalwear dealer will know how to measure you properly (inseam, waist, jacket size) and give you a fitting in advance of the wedding.

The dealer should also listen to you. If you're of the fashionable persuasion and want a dark blue, 5-button mandarin collar tux, but the dealer's praising a silver tux with tails, you'll know you've come to the wrong shop. Politely say thanks but no thanks and vamoose on out of there.

The store should be able to supply you with all the accessories you'll need: bow tie, cummerbund, cufflinks, suspenders, even shoes.

Finally, have all your groomsmen get their monkey suits at the same shop, so you'll be wearing matching duds. Even though they may live in various parts of the country, reserve their tuxedos at least three months in advance and you'll be set.


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