11 Steps to Renting the Right Tuxedo

If you have an event coming up that requires a tuxedo, the first question you will probably ask yourself is: should I rent or buy? In order to answer that question you must decide how often you will need a tuxedo. Our recommendation is, if you foresee yourself wearing a tuxedo on more than 4 occasions in the recent future, purchase it. You should be able to buy a tuxedo at a reasonable price that will (hopefully) still fit and still be in style for a few years. Otherwise, renting is your best option. Renting a tuxedo guarantees that you will be on top of the current trends and your tux will fit. So, if you’ve decided that renting is the best option for you, here are the steps you will want to take to rent the perfect tux!

Finding a Rental Shop

1. Consider geography. If you’re renting tuxedos for a wedding, it is likely that your groomsmen live in different areas. Therefore, it’s essential to rent from a shop with several outposts. With multiple locations you can inquire about picking up a tux in one city and dropping off at another. Plus, you may be able to get a discount (depending on the size of the wedding party) if you’re all renting from the same store. If you’re renting a single tuxedo, you also may want to consider location. Will you have the time (and money) to drive to a town that is 30 minutes away to pick up your tuxedo before the event?

2. Ask for recommendations. Like tuxedos, all tuxedo shops are not the same. Look for one with a good selection, good service, and good knowledge. Ask for recommendations from friends, especially former grooms and groomsmen, for a top-quality store.

3. Shop around & compare prices. Call or visit different shops in your area. Ask about their selection and sizing (how large/small do their tuxedos go?).  Get a price quote, along with the return policy details (when does the tuxedo have to be returned? what are the conditions in case of damage?). Once you have all the information, choose a shop and give them the basic information about your event.

Knowing the Basics

4. Figure out your timeline. Always reserve your tuxedo/s as early as possible. In most cases, reserving it 2-4 weeks in advance will do, but in the case of a prom or a wedding, you should reserve a tux 1-3 months in advance. Prom season is hectic and the popular styles and sizes fly off the shelves. Weddings, on the other hand, require a lot of planning: measurements for all those in the wedding party (even those who are out of town) will need to be taken before the tuxedos can be reserved, so plan ahead, especially during wedding season.

5. Figure out your budget. In terms of budget, you should expect to pay anywhere between $50 for a conventional tuxedo to $200 for top-notch designer formalwear. Also, keep in mind that rental prices vary depending on how long you expect to rent the tux for.

Deciding What to Wear

6. Dress for the occasion. What type of occasion are you attending and what is appropriate for that occasion. Is it a black-tie affair? Should you dress conservatively or can you choose something  more stylish? Is it at night or during the day? What color is your date/the bridal party wearing? Is there a theme? Inform yourself; find out the dress code and ask around to see what others will be wearing to the occasion.

7. Know the components of a tuxedo. A tuxedo is a complete outfit that includes a jacket, trousers, a bow tie, and, often, a cummerbund. Tuxedo shops can also provide a shirt and shoes. Vests are a popular alternative to a cummerbund. Here is an overview of the different parts of a tuxedo:

Jacket: The jacket is the most unique part of a tuxedo. Most tuxedo jackets feature satin lapels and a boutonniere hole. There are multiple styles of jacket including a regular jacket, a tailcoat, a cutaway coat or a long jacket. You can choose between a single-, double- or triple-breasted jacket. You can have a regular collar with peak or notch lapels, a shawl collar or even a mandarin collar. Jackets usually have between 1 and 4 buttons.  Some jackets are loose-fit while others offer a slim-cut style.

Trousers: Formal trousers feature a black satin stripe or braid along the outside seams. Because they don’t feature belt loops, tuxedo trousers have adjustable tabs on either side. You may also wear suspenders. Also remember that formal pants should never be cuffed.

Shirts: You can wear three basic types of shirts with a tuxedo: wing collar, turndown collar and mandarin collar. A wing collar is found in the traditional shirt and is typically coupled with a bow tie, while turndown collars are worn with long ties.

Shoes: Formal shoes are made from shiny patent leather. Choose between opera slippers (the most formal option), loafers or oxfords. Most shops also offer spectator-style and matte leather shoes.

Vest, cummerbund, bow tie, and accessories: A traditional tuxedo is worn with a bow tie and a vest or cummerbund. A cummerbund is a pleated sash worn around the waist. Its pleats should always be facing up and should match the bow tie. Depending on the occasion, you can accessorize your tuxedo with a hat and a four-piece stud set.

Colors: In terms of colors, a traditional tuxedo comes in black or white, but you can also find a variety of gray, silver and ivory tuxedos, and some that are even available in trendy colors.

Reserving Your Tuxedo

8. Look through the rental books. At this point, you should have a good idea of the type of tuxedo you’re looking for. The next step is to go to your chosen shop and find it. Most tuxedo shops will have rental books for your to look through. Find the tuxedo that best matches your idea.

9. Talk to an expert. The people working at the shop are there to help you. They have dealt with many different customers for many different occasions and can usually help guide you if you have questions.  Bring a picture of what you’re looking for, to show them. They might have exactly what you’re looking for, or they might suggest something completely different. It’s up to you to judge and pick out the tuxedo you prefer.

10. Get measured. The shop workers will take your measurements. Make sure you don’t wear anything bulky. Be prepared to try on jackets and shoes. Also, if you gain or lose weight, call or visit the rental shop. They will advise you about getting new measurements taken, if necessary.

11. Reserve your tuxedo. Once you have decided what tuxedo you are getting and have had your measurements taken, all that’s left is to reserve the tuxedo. Some tuxedo shops will take a deposit, while others ask for full payment prior to the reservation. Make sure you find out when you can pick it up and when it should be dropped off. It’s as simple as that!