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6 RULES FOR A PERFECTLY FITTED TUXEDO
BLACK TIE EVENT? DON'T PANIC, WE'VE GOT YOU COVERED!
When the invitation to attend a swanky black tie social event comes your way, two thoughts spring to mind immediately. The first is, “great, this looks like fun.” The second, inevitably, is “Black tie? I need a tuxedo!” Again, two things to pay heed to straight away. Firstly, don’t be tempted to borrow one from a relative as it’s guaranteed to fit incorrectly, and secondly, don’t panic. Read on for some excellent rules on buying the perfectly fitted tuxedo.
1. Buy, don’t hire
First things first, make the decision to buy a tuxedo rather than hiring one. Yes, you’ll pay more for an outright purchase – though as these examples from Dobell show, some suits are available for under £100 – but then you have it for the long-term and even if it only gets an annual airing every Christmas, it’s a worthy investment.
2. Get your true measurements
Tuxedos are not sized generically as S, M, L and XL - so a little extra attention is required when buying one as the wrong dimensions are more unforgiving compared to casualwear. It pays to get measured properly, either in a store by an assistant or at home if ordering online. The following measurements should be taken: Collar, Chest, Waist, Inside Leg, Sleeve, Outside Leg, and Jacket Length.
3. Jacket Fitting
The ideal fit is a close one, says this article on The Art of Manliness. But it shouldn’t pinch at all, and when you move your body no area should feel tight – either across the shoulder blades, the biceps, the elbows and wrists. The shoulder fit is key. If it’s too small there will be a line of tension down the centre and a X-shaped stretch crease at the front when you button it up.
4. Jacket Length
A tuxedo jacket is not an overcoat, and wearing one that is too long is bordering on the criminal in terms of menswear etiquette. Ideally, the jacket should be long enough just to cover your backside. Any lower and the jacket will look baggy. If it finishes halfway down the wearer’s thigh it will only serve to make your legs look stumpy. Men of short height need to pay particular attention here.
5. Sleeve Length
"Fact" says Primer Magazine. "Most men don’t wear a proper fitting suit jacket. Too big here, too small there. We’ll help you get it right." Their advice on jacket sleeves is that the sleeve should show half an inch of cuff but not so tight that ‘it pulls at your shirt or restricts motion’. Or so much room that your arm moves around too loosely.
6. Trouser Fitting
Again, formal trousers are worn differently to jeans. They’re placed higher on the waist, for starters, and the length is crucial too. Get this wrong and you’ll look daft. The general rule of thumb is that if you can see too much sock showing whilst standing, the trousers are too short. If they’re finishing lower than the laces on your shoes then they’re too long and the trousers will just look crumpled lower down. And if you’re treading on the material, then they’re obviously way too long! They should just sit nicely on the upper of your shoe and kiss the first lace eyes.
Those are the basics covered. There’s plenty more ground to cover when it comes to style – do you go for a single or double-breasted jacket? A cummerbund? Trousers with single or double pleat? Much of this is down to personal choice but do your homework thoroughly and know this... there is nothing more striking than a man in a perfectly fitted tuxedo.