Assuming the higher-priced offerings are not realistic (e.g. Brooks Brothers, etc.), there are still several purchase options.
1. Formal dinner with Black Tie specified
2. Good chance most or all will be in black tie or dress uniforms
3. About two such functions a year
4. Funds and time are limited
1. Minimum $60-80 for worst option; can pay up to $150+, depending on store
2. Typically poor quality/cardboardAvailable suit:
1. Pinstripes not good at Black Tie
2. None are black or even charcoal coloredPurchase dinner jacket:
(NOTE: I'd get a good shirt for $50-75 instead of a temporary poor one for $25-30.)
1. Joseph A Bank offerings (current sale, all wool) -
A. Signature dinner jacket (1B, SB, ventless, peak lapels, grosgrain facing) and trousers $450
B. Double breasted jacket with trousers (no cummerbund needed) $220
C. Velvet dinner jacket (SB, 1B, notch lapels) and regular trousers $140
2. Macy's (current sale) -
A. Lauren by Ralph Lauren tuxedo (SB, 2B, all wool, ventless, satin facing) $215
- Two-button is not technically correct for a dinner jacket, but most agree that one "rule" can be broken.
3. Kohl's (yes, Kohl's) -
A. Dinner jacket (SB, 2B, all wool, satin facing) and trousers $145
- No idea of quality. Look past the sappy description, still probably better than rental grade.
- Add their shirt, tie, cummerbund, link and stud set for $29.
4. JCPenney (current sale) -
I vote for purchasing:
A. Dinner jacket (SB, 1B, satin facing, all wool) and trousers $100
1. You will use it more than once and find you can wear it more than you think.
2. Even the cheapest options from JCP and Kohl's are better quality than the low rental grade.
3. Compare rental vs. purchase prices: 1-2 wearings can pay for a purchase.
4. It gives time to shop around for your ideal black tie outfit, no rush to beat the next event.
Some here laugh at the JCPenney, Kohl's, and Macy's options. I still believe they are much better than any rental at a comparable price. When funds are better you can sell them and get what you really want. No one scoffs at a person dressed in his best appropriate attire making the most of his budget. With even a prospect of wearing this dinner jacket more than once, renting would be throwing money away, in my opinion.
(There has been ample discussion of notch vs. peak. I much
prefer peak lapels, but notch lapel dinner jackets have been around about long as peak. There have been worse sins than a notch lapel.)