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A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO EVENING WEAR ( SECOND EDITION)



 

Assembling Your Wardrobe
Buying Basics
Major Retailers
Supplemental Retailers
Custom Tailoring
White Tie Investments




 

LEGEND & NOTES

Information compiled
February 2011.
·
Prices are listed in the retailer's national currency and exclude shipping and applicable taxes or duties.
·

The globe symbol indicates that international shipping is available.


 

 

 

► Formal Supplements

(Ben Silver)


One-stop shopping at major formalwear retailers may be convenient but it is also limiting.  For the widest variety of options be sure to also check out supplemental vendors who specialize in hard-to-find items.

And don't forget that if you spot an especially handsome garment in any of the Guide's illustrations you can hover your mouse over it to find out the maker's name.



► British Retailers

morningsuit 


www.dinner-suit.co.uk is a blog that covers current formalwear specials being offered by selected UK retailers.



Formalwear Conglomerates

 

President Tuxedo

 

Did you know that the majority of brand name formalwear lines are manufactured by just a handful of companies?  After Six, FLOW (a merger of Lord West and Formal One) and FCGI (Fabian Couture Group International) are some of the few corporations that own the formalwear licensing rights for designers such Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein and Perry Ellis. 

 

To view an extensive sampling of these companies' offerings, visit mytuxedocatalog.com by wholesaler Paul Morrell.   (Use the "Manufacturer" sort feature.)






























Support The Guide

 


If you order from any of the retailers listed here please let them know how you found them!

Luxury Garment Care from The Hanger Project              Noeud Papillon ad

 

National and Online Formalwear Retailers



Price Categories


Budget Retailers: Tuxedos under $400


Surprisingly it is possible to find quality dinner suits for under US$400 or even $300 particularly if one is willing to shop online since many virtual retailers offer brand name products for $200 to $300 off the regular price.  Obviously online shopping precludes personal attention, the ability to try on garments before purchasing and a return process can be time-consuming and somewhat costly. 


If choosing to shop in this price range it would be wise to stick to recognized brands and examine product descriptions closely because tuxedos under $300 are frequently constructed of thin, ill-fitting polyester blends and often include jackets that are available only in contemporary styles. 


The same guidelines apply to buying formal wear through eBay auctions where there are some tremendous bargains to be had on new and vintage apparel.


Mid-Market Retailers: $400 - $800


Generally speaking, stores in this price range offer a wide selection of quality brand names or house brands ranging from polyester blends to super 150 wools.  Retailers at the lower end of the price range tend to offer mostly modern styles but there are also some classic styles available for those who know what brands to look for.  Staff will only be semi-knowledgeable regarding proper black tie but then again the same goes for most higher-priced retailers these days.


National department stores and mid-market men's stores are also good options in this price range.  Note that such retailers often offer more selection in store than online.


Quality Retailers: $800 - $1,500


Upscale menswear retailers such as Brooks Brothers, Ralph Lauren and Hickey Freeman offer private brands made from high quality wools that are usually super 100s or higher.  Catering to a more worldly and affluent clientele, they tend to stock a wider selection of classic styles.  These stores also offer very personalized customer service from salespersons that are more knowledgeable about formalwear than their department store counterparts.  The drawback for those who rely on internet shopping is that such retailers tend to offer much more a limited selection online than they do in-store.


Premium Retailers: $1,500 - $4,500


$1,500 will buy a dinner suit of outstanding quality but the value for money begins to plummet after $2,000 as at that point you are essentially just paying for a label’s marketing prestige.  Shoppers in this tax bracket should seriously consider bespoke tailoring.  Instead of settling for what is available on the rack they can get exactly the color, cut and features they desire, not to mention a flawless fit.


Used Formalwear


Formalwear renters will often sell formal rental tuxedos at significant discounts.  However, in the Guide’s experience these suits are usually constructed of industrial-strength material and show signs of significant wear.  No matter how big the discount, no purchase is ever a good deal if you can never bring yourself to actually wear it.

 


Sample Ensemble Costs


Of course, you can’t go to a black-tie gala dressed in only a tuxedo so here are two examples of complete ensembles drawn from opposite ends of the price spectrum.


Sample Budget-Level Ensemble (US$)


All items are from Buy4LessTuxedo.com unless otherwise noted.

  $179 2-button peak-lapel wool tuxedo by Joseph Abboud “Black Tie” (overstock.com)
  $34 100% cotton pleated turndown-collar shirt by Neil Allyn “Dalby”
  $35

100% silk satin cummerbund

  $27 100% silk satin self-tie bow tie by Christoforo Cardi
  $110 genuine patent leather lace-up shoes by Brentano
  $8 black and gold colored cufflinks and stud set
  $18 60% silk over-the-calf dress socks (Jos. A. Bank)
  $30 100% silk button-on formal braces
  $12 silk pocket square
  $453  

 

Tip: Young men on a budget can give their existing dress shoes a high-gloss polish and defer the footwear purchase until later. 


Sample Premium Ensemble (US$)


  $4,010 tuxedo by Versace
  $830 turndown-collar tuxedo shirt by Dior Homme
  $295 silk cummerbund by Yves Saint Laurent
  $255 silk bow tie by Yves Saint Laurent
  $1,025 patent-leather-and-crocodile shoes by A. Testoni
  $1,095 sterling silver & diamond cufflinks by David Yurman
  $365 onyx and silver stud set by Brooks Brothers
  $55 silk formal socks by A Suitable Wardrobe
  $300 silk braces by Ralph Lauren
  $145 silk pocket square by Yves Saint Laurent
  $9,210  

Tip: Established executives on a spending spree can triple their outlay by throwing in a Bulgari white-gold Protocole XXL watch for $21,900 and a Brioni evening coat with silk collar and mink lining for $6,000.


Sample Retailers


Once you’ve established your budget somewhere between these two extremes, you might want to check out some of the following retailers that cater to your price range.  The dollar amounts next to each company’s name indicate their price range for wool tuxedos.   


  Overstock.com: $94 - $317
TuxedosOnline.com: $100 - $350 (US and Canada shipping only)
  MyOwnTuxedo.com: $39 - $150 used, $150 - $650 new
  The Wizard of Aahs (eBay): $120 - $390
Buy4LessTuxedo.com: $139 - $1,195
  Uniformalwearhouse.com: $145 - $300
Men's Wearhouse: $150 - $500 online
  eTuxedo.com: $150 - $1,595
  FineTuxedos.com: $170 - $525
  TuxedosDirect.com: $250 - $495
  Tuxedos Direct: $250 - $495
  ExecStyle.com $270 - $ 750
Macy's: $285 - $795 online
DavidsFormalwear.com: $295 - $595
  SuitYourself.com: $397 - $1,257
  Jos. A. Bank: $550 - $950 regular / $275 - $475 sale
  Brooks Brothers: $798 - $1,600
Ben Silver: $1,330
Hickey Freeman: $1,495 online
Ralph Lauren: $1,495 online
   

Eveningsuit by Brigden’s £117 - £330

Ede & Ravenscroft £395
Oliver Brown £455

 

 
Protect your formal investments with luxury hangers from Kirby Allison's Hanger Project'

 

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