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Suit or Tux Rental for Prom?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Well, it looks like I'm going to do it -- ask the question about prom again. I know there are numerous threads on here discussing this, I've read them, but I just want to get some answers for my personal situation.

 

I'm 18, a senior in high school, live in rural Iowa, and am new to the game of style. Sadly, there are no nearby men's clothing stores, or at least any good men's clothing stores. This makes building a new wardrobe somewhat difficult. With prom coming up in the future, I decided it might be worth it to get my wardrobe started with a good suit and some other staples. I have a suit, one of those cheap $100 mall suits. A tailor might be able to save it.

 

So, my question is, would it be a good idea to get a good suit now, or just rent a tux? I'm going to college for pre-med, so I'm guessing suits will be required in my future. I've stopped growing upwards, and I'm a runner so I'm fairly thin. My whole family is on the slimmer side, and I plan to continue running and doing strength training throughout my life so I hope I don't get a whole lot bigger. That was just running through my mind, because I am a bit worried about getting a suit now and later on down the road out growing it.

 

Anyways, this is what I was thinking of doing. I'll be in Des Moines this following week for tournament basketball, and while there I'll have the opportunity to visit some of their men's clothing stores. There is a Brooks Brothers outlet, and then two others I've found called Badowers and Mr. B Clothing, which are part of the Midwest Clothiers family. What I'm hoping to do is visit these stores and get all my measurements and fitting information, as well as any guidance they can give me. I'll look at what they have, but from what I've seen on their websites, it will probably fall outside of my price range. I was thinking of taking the measurements I got, and looking at what eHaberdasher has (good idea? bad idea?) I also hope to get fitted in some different Allen Edmond shoes, and get an idea idea of how the different lasts fit me.

 

As of right now, my date isn't very concerned about matching of her dress to the colors of my outfit, and I'm hoping it stays this way. With that in mind, this is sort of what I have in mind for my outfit:

 

-- Navy suit (I'll see what the Des Moines stores have in my size, otherwise eHaberdasher like I said)

-- Dress shirt (Not 100% sure on color; Now thinking a nice light blue)

-- Tie (Again, not 100% sure on color; Burgundy is the current choice, but I'm playing with the idea of a yellow)

-- Allen Edmond Fifth Avenues or Park Avenues (I was thinking brown, but for my first pair of good dress shoes should I just get black?)

-- Pocket square? (Not sure about this, if I did one would this be a good thing to match with my date?)

 

I'm probably forgetting something, this is mostly off the top of my head. I would really appreciate your thoughts and comments, and any constructive criticism you might have.

 

On a side note, I've really enjoyed browsing through the forums and getting a sense of the community. I'm quite excited to start gaining more knowledge about men's clothing and to start dressing better myself.

 

EDIT: I guess I should add, I was thinking of looking for a more slim cut suit. Nothing absolutely crazy, but I just prefer the slimmer cut, as I am a slimmer guy.


Edited by NWIAz3n - 3/2/14 at 10:09am
post #2 of 17
In general do everything you planned as far as research goes. If you see a suit which enthuses you, buy it. As far as colors go, wear the colors that make you HAPPY! You are the boss, it's YOUR Prom! Be yourself and enjoy with your sweetheart and classmates this unique occasion! Have (sober) fun, dressed as best you can with what you really like!
post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the reply! Right now, it's looking like either SuitSupply or eHaberdasher will be getting my business once I get my measurements. I will of course look at what the shops in Des Moines have to offer, and if something tickles my fancy and is in my price range, then I will definitely consider purchasing it.

 

I think I've set upon getting black shoes since they will be my first pair. I'm currently scouring the marketplace here and eBay in search of a good deal. As far as shirt and tie go, I'm considering going with a nice light blue shirt with a burgundy tie. Simple, but I think it would look very good. Of course, I'll need to get the suit before I make any final decisions.

post #4 of 17

Whatever you decide to do, just know that what you end up purchasing now you'll probably end up partially regretting the purchase four years down the road. I say this not because you haven't done your homework, but as you go from being a senior in high school to a senior in college, your tastes will evolve and change (as will your body shape). 

 

This is also important to keep in mind because you most likely won't need a suit for anything pre-med related until you go on the interview trail 4 years from now. If you join a frat, you may need formalwear sooner than that, but otherwise, you'll want to treat yourself to a new suit when you start med school interviews as opposed to dusting off the one you bought when you were a senior in high school. (Take it from me, I would know...look at my screen name!)

 

Honestly, if you were buying something specifically for prom that might be used later down the road, I'd go with a white dress shirt. Probably every guy there will be wearing a white dress shirt. Not sure if that's an area you want to be different. As for the suit, I think you're headed down the right road to get something decent.

 

I'm originally from Nebraska, and I know Iowa well--even went to college there for a year. As far as I know, Des Moines doesn't have an Allen Edmonds store. But if you were limited solely to purchasing a suit and shoes from stores physically located in Des Moines, I'd check out Express Men for suits and Cole Haan for shoes (DO NOT even set foot in Aldo). I realize these are brands that get trashed on SF a lot, but bear in mind I'm mentioning these places only because they might be your best options. Suitsupply is an excellent choice if you go that route.

 

Btw, the advice you'll get from the Des Moines suit salesmen at Midwest Clothiers will probably very out of date and you'll end up with something oversized and you'll look like you borrowed your suit from your dad. Always keep that in mind when getting fitted for a suit. Like I said, you've done your homework and you know what you want, so don't let those guys try to tell you pleated pants are in style!

 

Just out of curiosity, were do you plan on going to college?

 

Best of luck!

post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the well thought out reply! You make a valid point about my tastes and body shape changing in the next four years. Hopefully cross country and track help ward off the freshman fifteen, but that's beside the point. It's also a good point that I will probably want a new suit come time for med school interviews. A nice white dress shirt is something I can agree with investing in, it's a wardrobe staple. I was just thinking with the light blue shirt, then I could go with either a burgundy or maybe a yellow tie, but with a white shirt I'm not sure a yellow tie would work as well. It's just one of the ideas I had running around in my head.

 

As for the Allen Edmonds store, I know that Des Moines doesn't have an Allen Edmonds store, but the store "Mr. B Clothing" apparently carries Allen Edmonds shoes. What I was planning on doing was at least getting properly sized in a few different lasts, and then heading over to eBay to try and snatch up a pair for a decent price. My current plan would be Park Avenues in black, as they'll be my first higher quality dress shoe.

 

It seems to me that it's hard to find many good shops in Iowa, especially now that I've decided to start dressing better. If I just plan on getting my measurements taken at one of the Midwest Clothiers stores, how badly could they mess those up? Those numbers are going to be pretty important in getting a properly fitted suit, especially if I have to resort to buying online. I feel like if they have tailors who know what they're doing they would do the measurements properly. Then I could take those measurements and use them to help me get the right suit from SuitSupply. The thing that I'm liking about SuitSupply is the free returns, so I could order a few, get some opinions on fit here and then return the others. It's a bit of a hassle, but I'm stuck for options at the moment. I would like to go to Minneapolis, where they at least have some better stores, but that's not really an option right now.

 

And for college, I'm attending a small private college, Northwestern, for my first four years. I'm going to continue running there, so that will be nice. I'm starting to research medical schools now, so hopefully I can start to come up with a list for those soon as well.

 

Once again, thanks for your well thought out and honest response!

post #6 of 17

As I said before, you've done your research. I'm sure whatever you end up with will be lightyears ahead of your peers, stylistically speaking. Well done!

 

Park Aves are very nice shoes...make sure you buy some shoe trees to go along with them.

 

I'm sure the tailors in Des Moines are capable of measuring you. However, be wary of them telling you simply, "You're a 42" instead of giving you measurements. In most cases with these big midwest suit store-type places, the suit sizes they recommend are too big to look at all stylish. They're used to dressing 50 year-old guys who only wear suits to weddings and funerals. If you go a size down you'll get a better fit. In the end, just experiment and you'll find what you want.

 

Northwestern, huh? Yeah, you probably won't need a suit between prom and med school interviews haha. Believe it or not, I had a good friend who ran cross country up there. Stopped through that town a time or two. But that was a hundred years ago.


Edited by MedStudent - 3/2/14 at 1:01pm
post #7 of 17
First of all, welcome to SF and congrats on getting accepted into a solid undergraduate program. I'd reiterate what others have said re: you outgrowing a suit and wanting something a bit nicer once you start medical school interviews. I'd also note that going to Northwestern, you will have easy access to Chicago where you will find a lot more clothing stores when you do need to acquire a suit at some point down the road. Allen Edmonds is a great source of quality shoes and they will last for a long time if properly cared for (especially if you do not have to wear them a lot). You are probably more likely to change suit sizes than shoe sizes over the next few years, so if you are going to invest in one thing now, I'd go for the shoes (simple pair of black stitch caps (Park Avenue) will be perfect for any interview).

I'd rent the tuxedo in your position because you will not get a great suit for the cost of a tuxedo rental (if you are willing to spend 2-3 times the cost of a tuxedo rental, you may get something decent but not amazing). For a tuxedo, I'd get something (1) black, (2) one button with peak or shawl lapels, (3) with a white tuxedo shirt ideally with cufflinks and studs (any respectable rental place will have them), (4) with a low cut waistcoat (barely visible above your jacket's buttoning point) or cummerbund and self-tie bow tie, each in black. There's more to consider, but that is a start. If you want a sense of what traditional black tie is about, check out www.blacktieguide.com. If you must match your date's dress, the pocket square is the best place to do it but I would avoid trying to match your date if you can avoid it (white linen will be the ideal pocket square).

If you go the suit route, I'd get a navy suit, white dress shirt and tie in the silver/grey range. This is a classic evening look. It will also work fine for any interviews you may have down the road. A white dress shirt is more useful than light blue for someone in your position IMO. If you read enough of SF, you'll see there tends to be a preference for light blue shirts over white for daily wear. This is because they do in fact work better with a wide range of ties and are in a sense more versatile. For someone who is only wearing a suit for the occasional interview or possibly some sort of college formal, however, a white shirt is going to be the most appropriate shirt (more conservative for an interview and white in general looks better in the evening). A light blue dress shirt is a good thing to own too and having both would not kill you if you can manage it.

Best of luck, enjoy prom and the rest of your senior year.
post #8 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by archibaldleach View Post

First of all, welcome to SF and congrats on getting accepted into a solid undergraduate program. I'd reiterate what others have said re: you outgrowing a suit and wanting something a bit nicer once you start medical school interviews. I'd also note that going to Northwestern, you will have easy access to Chicago where you will find a lot more clothing stores when you do need to acquire a suit at some point down the road. Allen Edmonds is a great source of quality shoes and they will last for a long time if properly cared for (especially if you do not have to wear them a lot). You are probably more likely to change suit sizes than shoe sizes over the next few years, so if you are going to invest in one thing now, I'd go for the shoes (simple pair of black stitch caps (Park Avenue) will be perfect for any interview).

I'd rent the tuxedo in your position because you will not get a great suit for the cost of a tuxedo rental (if you are willing to spend 2-3 times the cost of a tuxedo rental, you may get something decent but not amazing). For a tuxedo, I'd get something (1) black, (2) one button with peak or shawl lapels, (3) with a white tuxedo shirt ideally with cufflinks and studs (any respectable rental place will have them), (4) with a low cut waistcoat (barely visible above your jacket's buttoning point) or cummerbund and self-tie bow tie, each in black. There's more to consider, but that is a start. If you want a sense of what traditional black tie is about, check out www.blacktieguide.com. If you must match your date's dress, the pocket square is the best place to do it but I would avoid trying to match your date if you can avoid it (white linen will be the ideal pocket square).

If you go the suit route, I'd get a navy suit, white dress shirt and tie in the silver/grey range. This is a classic evening look. It will also work fine for any interviews you may have down the road. A white dress shirt is more useful than light blue for someone in your position IMO. If you read enough of SF, you'll see there tends to be a preference for light blue shirts over white for daily wear. This is because they do in fact work better with a wide range of ties and are in a sense more versatile. For someone who is only wearing a suit for the occasional interview or possibly some sort of college formal, however, a white shirt is going to be the most appropriate shirt (more conservative for an interview and white in general looks better in the evening). A light blue dress shirt is a good thing to own too and having both would not kill you if you can manage it.

Best of luck, enjoy prom and the rest of your senior year.

Solid advice.

 

To clear up some confusion, the OP is not attending Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois. He is attending Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa. It's a small Christian liberal arts college located in a town of about 6,000 people in northwest Iowa (hence the "Northwestern" I guess???). He'll be a good 10+ hour drive from Chicago.

post #9 of 17
What the Medical Student says about sales manipulation is correct. The antidote is never to buy the same time you research. Always tell the salesman you need to talk it over with your advisor as well and regret you cannot buy it at once. Here is regret to be mentioned.
What the Medical Student says about evolution of taste is also right, but he doesn't mention INDIVIDUAL evolution. You can ask yourself why. But what he says about regretting what you buy later presumes the diagnosis is faulty. Buying clothes is not as serious as giving a patient the wrong treatment. He is wrong about abstinence of purchase. You need clothes. You need a suit. If you see clothes which enthuse you, buy them! That is the point of "homework", research.

All this advice above in detail about what's best is based on the images and feelings of others, not yours. These advisors are have limited experience, their own, and reading their instructions gives me a headache. Your own feelings are the best judge. The Northwestern campus is on the shore of Lake Michigan in Evanston, not Chicago. Lake Michigan incidentally is the only thing I like about Chicago, with the exception of Lincoln Park, but that's me, not anybody else. Northwestern Law was on the Near North Side along with a dormitory. If you find a clothes shop of quality, you won't have much regret, whatever you buy. I know nothing about clothes in Iowa. Maybe Paul Stuart in Chicago might be a reliable source to buy anything, if you can afford it. I only buy clothes made in countries where labor is not exploited as much as elsewhere: UK, USA, CH. For example. PS: I do not support the aspiration to be better than my peers. My aspiration is to be true to myself, how I feel, and accept others as they are.
Edited by Naive, Jr. - 3/3/14 at 8:03pm
post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the responses, guys! MedStudent is correct, I will be attending Northwestern College in Orange City, IA. That puts me a few hours away from any city, Minneapolis probably being my best bet for clothing. Tomorrow I'll be in Des Moines just doing some searching, getting measured, and then trying on some Allen Edmond shoes. I don't plan on buying anything tomorrow -- just getting sizes and measurements figured out. I talked with Ben from eHaberdasher and once I get my measurements figured out we'll be doing some working together. I'll also be looking at some of the Suit Supply suits, however if I find something from eHaberdasher I will more than likely go that route.

 

Shoes are probably going to end up being Allen Edmonds Park Avenues in black. I'd also like to invest in a good white dress shirt, and possibly get that tailored. For some times, I'm thinking I'll browse through idfnl's eBay store and pick up a few nice ties there.

post #11 of 17
Sounds good - you seem quite independent in your judgment and the opposite of sloppy!
post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 

Well, I can say that I had a successful day out in Des Moines yesterday. I was in Des Moines to cheer on our girls' team for state basketball, and they won their game which was exciting. I also had a good time shopping and getting fitted.

 

My first stop was Brooks Brothers, and they fitted me in a 39L Fitzgerald fit 1818 suit. That actually fit very well and felt very nice. Then I dropped in at Banana Republic and picked up some dress socks: a pair in orange with grey polka dots, a navy pair with pink and light blue diamonds, and a yellow pair with grey and navy diamonds. They're quite comfortable and I like how they look.

 

Then I stopped in at Mr. B Clothing and was pleasantly surprised. They were definitely the most welcoming shop I visited yesterday. I explained what I was doing and they were more than willing to fit me in some of their suits and also get me sized properly for some Allen Edmonds Park Avenues. I'll be looking for a black pair of 11.5D Park Avenues now. They actually fitted me in a nice slim fit model suit with flat front trousers which was very nice, and a slightly less slim fitting navy number.

 

Overall I was very happy with my experiences yesterday. After talking with Ben from eHaberdasher I decided to order both a 38L and a 39L/40L Classico II and will be returning the one that doesn't fit as well. I'm quite excited to receive them and hear your thoughts. I'll definitely be posting over in the Tailoring thread and getting suggestions from them as well.

 

On that note, MedStudent, since you're originally from Nebraska, I was wondering if you knew anything about the tailors in Omaha. I'm really stuck here with no local tailors, unless I drive to either Sioux Falls or Omaha, so I'm making sure to do some research before making a commitment.

post #13 of 17

Great to hear things are going well. I think you're doing everything right.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by NWIAz3n View PostOn that note, MedStudent, since you're originally from Nebraska, I was wondering if you knew anything about the tailors in Omaha. I'm really stuck here with no local tailors, unless I drive to either Sioux Falls or Omaha, so I'm making sure to do some research before making a commitment.

 

I have only one tailor that I trust. His name is Emsud and he is the owner of Emsud's Clothiers in Lincoln, NE. If you're headed to Omaha, tack on another hour's drive and that puts you in Lincoln. I have had him do 7 suits, various shirts and whatnot, plus the tux I got married in. I got married in Washington DC, but I chose to have my tux tailored in Lincoln, if that tells you anything. Emsud is the best in the area, but I don't think you have to drive all the way to Lincoln to find a good tailor. Do some research around Des Moines, and pick someone who's willing to listen to what you want and fix it if it's not to your liking. For some reason, I trust male tailors with an "old country" foreign accent more than anyone else. I don't know why. I'm biased that way I guess.

post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 

My suits should be here Saturday, which I am excited for! Des Moines is approximately 3.5 hours away from me, and Omaha is 2 hours, so I'm looking more local for a tailor right now -- I have the same dilemma as with clothing stores, that good ones are hard to find in my area.

 

My other dilemma is that I can't find used, black Park Avenues in 11.5D. I can't find Fifth Avenues for that matter either. I'm checking eBay and the marketplace here, to no avail. There are plenty of Park Avenues in 12D, or 11.5 and different widths, but none in the size that they store clerks fitted me at. I'm going to post a WTB ad here and hope for the best, but what would you all recommend if I have no luck? I'm considering factory seconds as well, I'm just wondering what the prices are like for those.

 

Thanks for all the help up to this point!


Edited by NWIAz3n - 3/7/14 at 9:34am
post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 

Suits arrived yesterday and I'm very happy with them so far! I've found a local tail as well, which is a relief.

 

I'll post the pictures down below, but first ignore the shoes. I have a pair of Allen Edmond Park Avenues in black on the way, which I am excited about. I need to get a good white button down as well, and get that tailored which will happen before I get the suit tailored. And I'll be going through idfnl's eBay store and picking up some ties as well.

 

Anyways, on to the picture. I'm happy with how the 38L fits without any tailoring. The pants are a wee bit snug through the upper thigh area, which can be remedied I think? The jacket fits well. It is funny however -- when I put the coat on and checked in the mirror I didn't notice any gap between the collar of my shirt and the suit coat, but it showed up in the pictures.

 

Benjamin Sartorial 38L (Click to show)

 

The 39/40L fit very well also. Of course it is a bit baggier, especially in the midsection. The pants are too large around the waist, but that can be fixed by the tailor. Other than that, I think it fits very good.

 

Benjamin Sartorial 39/40L (Click to show)

 

I'll be posting up these photos in the Tailor and Fit thread as well, I just thought I would drop them here as well!

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