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Articles of Professional Advice

The Tuxedo...Nothing else causes a man to look and feel like such a VIP. Perhaps that is why it has become the attire of choice when celebrating life's special occasions.

When deciding on formalwear, be sure to keep in mind the long-term significance of your choice. While your wedding day itself will come and go, your photos and video will provide a lifetime of memories of your special day. You'll share them with friends and family, and eventually, even children and grandchildren. They provide a permanent record of the "look" and "style" of your wedding. Therefore, the best choice is one that will not look "dated" several years down the road.

"Novelty" cummerbunds and bow ties in multi-colored patterns or busy prints, which were popular a few years ago, have been replaced by more classic styles. One such look is a simple vest (or cummerbund and tie) in classic black for the groomsmen. A good way to give the groom his proper distinction is to have him wear a vest and tie in ivory or white, depending on the bride's dress.

Keeping things simple, and being careful not to overstate bold colors, provides a timeless look.

Choosing "classic" styles also allows a couple to complete their formalwear choices earlier in the planning process. One of the most common reasons they may postpone choosing the tuxedos is that many brides are under the impression that they should have all their other colors picked out so they can coordinate groomsmen's accessories.

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On the contrary, the men should serve as "the canvas," allowing the ladies' attire to become "the painting" by featuring the wedding colors. Remember that less is more, and a simplistic style will create the most elegant look.

Ideally, the bride and groom should visit the formalwear shop together. Be sure to choose a shop that offers a consultation. A formalwear professional will address your specific needs and allow you to ask important questions. This is much more likely to yield the desired results than simply looking through a catalogue. Also, don't assume that one tuxedo will be "better" than another based on a designer name. Although there are several great formalwear designers, the tuxedos themselves are often produced by the same manufacturer.

Try to choose a store that is located near where the wedding will take place. This will allow out-of-town guests to be accommodated, and any last minute adjustments to be made. Keep in mind how heavy the contents of the garment bag can be so that for anyone returning the tuxes for out of town guests it is considerate to choose a store where parking is not a hassle and they be at the door. Many formalwear shops offer promotions to wedding parties, so be sure to ask about any available discounts. Stores supplied by large wholesalers will most likely offer the best promotions as well as provide a larger inventory that is more frequently replaced with newer garments. It makes sense to deal with a tuxedo shop that has been serving the community for many years and has a good reputation. Many such stores are managed and operated by the owners, and are therefore personally committed to your satisfaction. Choose a formalwear professional you feel comfortable dealing with and a shop that best "suits" (pun intended) your needs!

Article written by Anthony J. Commisso of Tuxego was first published in the Advice From Experts section of the former Complete Wedding Guide website and has since been edited to appear in many wedding publications on expert formalwear advice.


1. Do go with him to pick out the tuxedos

You are getting married and there are so many things to plan. Many brides feel they can save time and send the groom to do the tuxedos. After all, he didn’t go with you to pick out your gown, certainly, he should be able to do this one thing on his own, Correct? Think Again! Never send a man to do something that requires a woman’s touch. You remember going to weddings where the colors clashed or the styles didn’t match and the men looked ridiculous. I can almost guarantee you in those cases the bride sent the groom out on his own, with a tiny little fabric swatch and a few instructions. She was hoping he would come back to delight her. Only she discovers on her wedding day, or too few days before, that the groom and the guys look like clowns. From my years of experience in the industry I know that some part time sales clerk in some mall shop is only going to offer whatever advice the groom wants to hear, even if it is not good advice. This way the clerk is happy to get the quick order and the groom is happy because somebody agreed with him and he got his one job done and over with.

2. Do Consider ALL the costs when choosing a tux shop

For most brides, the first inclination in searching for a formalwear provider is to browse the internet, call around for prices, and base her decision on which one gives the cheapest price and the most bonus prizes. Don’t get me wrong, getting a great price and some nifty gifts is terrific, but to base your decision simply on that alone may mean some serious hidden costs you don’t realize until your wedding day, or the day you view the photographer’s proofs. For the most part, all tux shops these days offer some sort of promotion or discount price, but there are much more important criteria to rely on when placing your trust in the person who is going to have such a significant part in the memories of your special day. Who was it that said “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.” Besides, while there really isn’t that big a difference in prices, there is a big difference in service

3. Don’t put the tuxedos to the bottom of the things to do list

Meet with your formalwear provider as early in the planning process as any of your other wedding professionals, your florist, your photographer, etc. Your formalwear provider should help you coordinate your style and color selections along with everything else. It will take more time than you can imagine to get all of the groomsmen in for their measurements, and the earlier you start planning the more time you have to make any necessary adjustments or changes to ensure the best possible service

4. Don't be rushed into giving a deposit to formalwear shops at Bridal Show

It is never wise to buy before you have enough knowledge to know exactly what you are getting. An ethical business should be willing to honor any promotion in their shop rather than try to lock you into a blind buy at a show. When they ask you for a deposit at a show they are more interested in getting your money than you getting the proper look for your special day. A reputable and respectable business will always provide you with valuable service, selection and promotions everyday of the week. Going to bridal shows is a good idea to gather information and to briefly meet wedding professionals. However you should visit them in the store before you make any final decisions.

5. Do choose a formalwear shop that is close to the location of your ceremony for several different reasons

A. In this day and age, it is quite common for many of the groomsmen and attendants to be traveling great distances. They send their measurements and arrive only one day or even just hours before the wedding. It is very important to have a second fitting to insure a proper fit. Thus, you don’t want to find yourself having to travel great distances if any last minute changes are needed.

B. We would suggest finding a shop that is along points of travel for your entire party, IE near interstate exchanges and airports depending on how and where they are coming from.

C. One person to consider in the whole process is the nice fellow or lady who graciously agrees to return the groom’s tuxedo, and in many cases the tuxes for the whole wedding party. Say the wedding gets over late on a Saturday and many of the guys are scrambling to get on the road or to the airport Sunday. One person (often one of the bride’s family members) will bear the responsibility of returning everything. For this reason, you want to choose a shop conveniently located for him or her, and especially for the benefit of this person avoid using stores located in “the Mall”. Imagine carrying several garment bags filled with tuxedo coat, pants, shirt, tie, vest, shoes, etc? I’ve been doing it for a long time and I know that I probably couldn’t carry more than 2 or 3 for any great distance. So forget about carrying 8 or 12 tuxes all the way across the lot from some distant parking spot, trekking through the Mall to the store, and let’s hope it’s not up a flight of stairs. 

6. Do proceed with caution when a store claims infallibility under the guise that all the tuxedos they rent are “in stock”

Some owners will mislead prospective customers into believing that because they have some inventory, that they are somehow more reliable. They will tell you to avoid companies that sub-rent merchandise. Just because they claim that “everything” is in-stock doesn’t necessarily mean that it is “in-house”. Questions to ask them are What about when the merchandise is out at the dry cleaners? What about when they truly own only one size in many styles and someone else is wearing it? Worse yet someone didn’t bring it back from the weekend prior, what does that tux shop do in those cases? They try to call a wholesaler that sub-rents tuxedos and the tux shop has to hope they can get it to fill in the “hole” they have created in your wedding. However, in spite of the fact that wholesalers have extensive inventories, they will reserve stock for their best clients, those, who instead of owning stock, sub-rent all their merchandise from a wholesaler. Hence, the wholesaler might not service the so-called in-stock guy. The easiest way to sort through the good ones from the bad is to ask them if they ever have to sub-rent to fill orders if they say “no”, they are deceiving you. Ask them how many pieces they own of each individual style and how many in each size. They definitely do not have nearly the selection and quantity of those who sub-rent.

7. Do choose a formalwear provider who offers you a personal consultation by appointment

Find a provider that is going to take the time necessary to present the many options available in formalwear and who will consult you on making informed decisions. This is another reason to avoid those big box corporate mall stores, who will leave you with a catalogue while they bounce around from couple to couple trying to collect orders. For the best in service, work only with an owner-operator Formalwear Specialist that is an on premise owner who is going to be available to help you choose your styles and who will be there when your wedding day comes.

8. Don't worry about your Groomsmen coming from out of town

If you have groomsmen coming from out of town, it is not necessary for them to travel to your formalwear shop, or for it to be part of a national chain, for them to be measured. Your groomsmen can get complimentary measurements at most any formalwear store as an industry courtesy. Keep in mind though it is exactly that, a courtesy on the part of the shop. Have your guys ask nicely and be respectful of the person’s time and cooperation.

9. Don’t go to a “shop” where formalwear is a sideline

Do make sure you choose a dedicated formalwear store. You want the most professional help for the most special day in your life, don’t you? Then why go to a place that does formalwear as a sideline? If you pick out the tuxes at some men’s store, imagine what could happen to your groomsmen when they go there to get measured. While they are there to get a tux, some other customer walks in to spend all sorts of money, hundreds or even thousands on suits, shirts and other accessories. Now who do you think is going to get the quicker, friendlier or prompter service from a salesman on commission, your guy renting a single tuxedo or the guy dropping wads of dough?

  • Go to a men’s store to buy a nice suit or sweater. 
  • Go to a tailor to get custom made clothes or expert alterations. 
  • Go to a dry cleaner to have your clothes cleaned. 
  • Go to a bridal shop to get the perfect wedding dress and service. 
  • Go to a professional formalwear shop to get the best and most thorough service for your Special event tuxedos.

10. Don’t go crazy trying to visit every tux shop in Person

It is a good idea as with all things, to do preliminary research. Before visiting shops read reviews on theknot.com, weddingwire.com and weddingchannel.com. Evaluate the level of knowledge and commitment to service of the providers before making wasted trips to different stores. Here is a good outline for qualifying a tux shop. How comfortable are you with the people answering your questions? Can they demonstrate a proven track record of success? Ask him, or her, to evaluate their level of the service. Ask how the shop is supplied, and how often the quality of the merchandise is updated. Ask how long they have been in business, and how long do they plan to remain in business. Ask if they have testimonial letters, thank you cards, or even pictures of weddings they have done. Now, a good formalwear provider will certainly be proud to show you such, but don’t stop there. Ask them about any negative experiences and what they did to rectify the situation. If they tell you they don’t have any, then I would ask again.” how long they have been in business?

11. Don’t Necesarily Be Swayed By “Designer Names”

Many retailers especially the "behemoth ones" are trying to convince you that designer names, such as Vera Wang is the reason you should pay more to rent your tuxedo. What many people do not realize is that in many cases, the goods made for different designers, both common and the more obscure, are often manufactured side by side by the same company using the same offshore plant. I am here to tell you while some designers and formalwear houses have different levels of merchandise in most cases it is just a matter of licensing the name. At one time several labels in the tuxedo trade, i.e. Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Joseph Abboud, Lord West and few others were made by the same company but were or are offered by different retailers. Joseph Abboud went from one to the next until he could get a foothold now he and his name are owned by a big box store. In another example, there was a time when Lauren by Ralph Lauren and Chaps by Ralph Lauren were manufactured by two different companies from two different countries. Tommy Hilfiger didn't make his own garments. His name was licensed out to Hart, Schafner & Marx a long standing clothing manufacturer that made your grandfather and your great-grandfather's suits. They also made Andy Hilfiger's Pepe jeans. It is important not to assume because you’ve heard of it that it is necessarily better. A lot happens in the "Schmatta"‡ business behind the scenes that is never transparent to the consumer. A manufacturer can put the money into the ads and not the construction. It also happens that some shops will offer you knock off looks that are not the same quality. The best thing you can do is seek out the help of a qualified specialist who can answer any questions about any desires. ‡("Schmatta"- Literally means rags in Yiddish, but historically is an endearing reference to the garment manufacturing industry amongst those who built and work in it when most if came from Manhattan.

12. Do Enjoy The Experience!

I know if every Bride and Groom follows this guideline in choosing their tuxedo shop, works with a true professional that takes pride in the way the wedding photos will look, gets great advice and service, then this will be one aspect of the wedding where you won’t have to sweat about all the small details.

Best Wishes & Cheers to you!!!!!
Anthony Commisso