[Catch up on the previous post: “Wear a Tux Like a Leading Man”]
Continuing our formal wear coverage....
When it comes to black tie events, the classic tuxedo reigns supreme.
First of all, it’s a uniform. Uniforms are meant to be goof proof – the whole thing is already perfected for you. As long as you assemble yourself faithfully to proper point-by-point guidelines, there’s no way you can make a wrong turn. Plus there’s no denying that a man looks smashing in a uniform.
Another reason to go for the classic is that it exudes good manners. Like all uniforms, a properly worn tuxedo, as much as it sets you apart, is also meant for blending in. In this case, why? Why to gracefully allow your date – and all the ladies in attendance – to showcase their exquisite dresses. See any photos of these stars taken with their dates and you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about. A gentleman never attempts to one-up his date by fighting for fashion attention.
If you really must strut your stuff, it’s allowed, within tasteful reason – just make sure you own your shit 100% without a single shred of doubt (fine examples here). But for the rest of you who want a sure shot at looking pitch-perfect with zero risk, you can achieve so much with the classic tuxedo. Oh, and trust me: no one will mistake you for boring – ever.
A few notables who hit it perfectly at this year’s Oscars are Bradley Cooper (in Tom Ford), Eddie Redmayne (in Alexander McQueen), and Justin Theroux (in Salvatore Ferragamo). They kept it as classic as can be in a single-button peaked lapel style, but couldn’t have been more dashing.
This, however, doesn’t mean you can go to a local rent-a-tux and get any classic number and think it’s okay, because that will prove to be a disaster. Primarily, rentals will most often be too boxy (in order to accommodate more body types). Please – wear a tux, not a box. Not only is the boxy style awful-looking, it’s also very dated (see what I mean here). What you need is a classic tuxedo that says modern, contemporary, and for that, the proper fit is key.
Watch especially that the jacket’s shoulders don’t extend past the natural shoulder line, the sleeve length is cropped enough to show some shirt cuff, and the body is immaculately tailored to hug the figure. The trousers are sleek and slender with sharp creases, with minimal break at the hem so that it flows neatly onto the shoes. The plain-front turndown collar shirt is clean and simple, taking over the old-school winged version as the new modern classic.
There’s always room for variations in keeping with the classic style. Bradley Cooper chose a trim vest and simple black studs for a graceful multi-dimensional look. Eddie Redmayne wore velvet slippers for a dose of sole-ful English propriety rarely seen on this side of the Atlantic. Justin Theroux wrapped on a cummerbund, a classic formal wear furnishing that’s fast becoming a rarity.
That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less. Stick with the classics for an effortless, sure-fire way to guarantee your spot as man of the hour – every time.
Next up, to round out our three-part tuxedo examination: “Tuxedo Dos and Don’ts”