Sale: Jos. A. Bank Formal Wear 50-70% Off

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Jos. A. Bank is offering 50% off all merchandise purchased online until March 4.  Even better, selected items are discounted by up to 70% including numerous styles of tuxedos and formal accessories.

I’m taking advantage of this opportunity to finally purchase a white dinner jacket.  (Even with shipping to Canada and duty and taxes, the total comes out to only $200.)  I’ve been really happy with the Signature peak lapel tuxedo I bought from them previously so I expect that the quality and fit of this jacket will be just as good.  The only drawback is the jacket’s centre vent but that can easily be closed by a local tailor.

Also noteworthy is that fact that JAB has brought back their plaid dinner jackets, albeit with a twist.  When I first created The Black Tie Guide back in 2006 I used some found images of the haberdasher’s smart Red Stewart and Blackwatch wool cashmere jackets with black grosgrain shawl collars.  Many readers inquired about  how they could purchase these models one but unfortunately they were no longer available for sale by that time.

Now the jackets have returned but in a less elegant incarnation, likely a victim of cost cutting. The fabric has been downgraded to superfine wool and the shawl collar has been replaced with satin notched lapels.  It’s still a tempting offer though, considering that such jackets are only intended for less formal occasions and that they are currently on sale at half price.

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Postscript: Not Such a Bargain

March 13, 2012

The jacket arrived yesterday and I want to note one very important caveat for anyone else considering a Jos. A Bank tuxedo jacket:  They’re huge.  I’m talking 1980s huge with boxy cut, extended length and linebacker shoulders (or for sci-fi fans, Romulan shoulders).

Some of these things I should have noticed when trying on my partner’s JAB tuxedo jacket as a reference, while others were deceptively minimized by the jacket’s black colour.  For my part, I should have realized how baggy the fit was and ordered one size smaller. (If I had asked my partner to check how it fit me in the back it would have been especially apparent it was too large, even though it was my usual jacket size.)  But even if I had done so the overall cut would still have been a baggy one requiring not just the waist to be taken in (as is standard for relatively fit men with most off-the-rack suits) but also the sleeves.  And while the extended shoulders are passable on a black jacket in a dark setting and the long length isn’t particularly noticeable against matching trousers, the high contrast of a white jacket in these same conditions exaggerates these already exaggerated features.  The visual result is disproportionately wide shoulders and a long waist / short legs.

Despite all this, I’ve been dying for a white dinner jacket for years and this one is not only a perfect off-white but also an amazing deal for 100% wool.  Furthermore, I don’t want the hassle and additional shipping costs that would be involved in returning the jacket.  So I visited my neighbourhood tailor today to find out the cost of correcting the flaws.   Not surprisingly he will essentially have to rebuild the coat and the resulting expense means the overall cost of the jacket is approaching its regular retail price.  However I take solace in the fact that unlike a full-price version of the jacket, the one I end up with will be smartly styled and perfectly fitted.

The jacket will be ready sometime in April (after an interim fitting later this month) and I’ll report back then with the results.

March 19, 2012

One more thing for potential buyers: be aware that the actual shawl shape (shown in my photo above) is not the same as the advertised shawl shape (shown below).

The advertised shape is much more typical for a shawl collar and much more flattering as it tapers towards the waist suggesting a V-shaped torso.  Yet another correction to add to my tailor’s already long list.

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The Final Results

May 6, 2012

See the results of the alterations in my May 6 post.

7 Comments

  1. A. R.

    Looked over there for a new jacket, but was instead assaulted by images of a tailcoat with notch lapels. Why do designers insist on ruining formal wear with the pedestrian notch?

    Reply
  2. Jordan

    I want to know what the appeal of a notch is. The break in the collar creates a sense of emptiness that isn’t filled elsewhere. The peak and shawl both function with a purpose ie; peak draws attention to the face and depending on how wide can broaden the shoulders and shawl to create the ornate look of a well drapped individual.

    The notch does nothing, why is it even made?

    Reply
    1. Peter Marshall

      I believe the most common reason for the rise of the notch lapel on tuxedos is the declining familiarity with peaked and shawl lapels. As tuxedos become rarer young men want to stick with the suit styles they know and consequently tuxedo retailers make more sales by catering to their ignorance than trying to overcome it.

      Reply
  3. Karl

    Quick question. Do you feel the fabric on the Jos A Bank Signature tuxedo was too “shiney”, compared to the Traveler? Know the Signature is suppose to be a better fabrc, but I had a hard time seeing much of a difference between the finish on the jacket and the lapel. Worred it will not photograph well due to the shine. Ordered it today, but am having second thoughts.

    Reply
    1. Peter Marshall

      I don’t know what the Traveler looks like but I certainly don’t find the Signature to be too shiny. You can see how it photographs at http://www.blacktieguide.com/Classic/Defining_Classic/MBA_formal_2009_edit2.JPG – it’s the one on the right.

      Reply
  4. maria

    how can I contact your store I need to know if you have plaid tuxedos

    Reply
    1. Peter Marshall

      I don’t have a store (unless you know something I don’t!)

      Reply

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