We’re right in the middle of prom season, which means millions of high school guys will don formalwear for the first time in their lives, and many of them will totally mess it all up and end up looking like total toolbags.
This is the look you want to strive for:
And these are the mistakes you might make that will prevent you from achieving that look:
1. Deviating from black
Tuxedos should be back. Midnight navy blue is also acceptable in some situations, prom included. If you’re a chain-smoking jazz singer from the 1960s, then maybe you can get away with wearing a white dinner jacket with your black tie and trousers, too.
But those are the only options.
Under no circumstances should you wear a white tuxedo, a light blue tuxedo, a camouflage tuxedo or any other non-black color of tuxedo. Resist the urge to attempt to look like a pimp at your prom — you’ll undoubtedly regret it years down the road when you dig up the photos.
2. Wearing a tux that’s too big
Even on bigger guys, slim-fitting clothes almost always look better than loose and baggy ones. But when you rent a tuxedo, you forfeit the ability to get it tailored to your exact measurements, and you’re stuck with whatever the store’s got in stock.
It’s probably not possible to find a rental that fits you perfectly off the rack, like the stock photos you see in this article, but do your best to avoid getting stuck with a jacket that’s more than one size too big and pants that are too long. Take your time when trying it on in the store and watch for the telltale signs that the fit is off: excess shoulder fabric, shirt cuffs not visible and too much break at the bottom of the pants.
3. Trying too hard to match your date
The current trend is for couples to wear matching attire to prom. Generally, the girl picks out a color of dress and then the guy gets a tuxedo to match. Usually, this means he wears a vest or bowtie (or both) that’s the same color as his date’s dress. And usually this means he ends up looking really bad.
Setting aside how stupid the whole matching trend is (every dress in the world matches a black tuxedo and white shirt — there’s no need to force color in there), there are ways to go about matching that are more subtle and visually appealing.
Leave the vest at the tuxedo rental store. Keep the color of your tie black. If you really want to match, just get yourself a boutonnière (the little flower thing you pin to your lapel) that matches the color of your date’s dress. Of course, if your date insists that you wear a pink tie and vest to match her dress, sometimes it’s best to just relent and do it. After all, keeping your girl happy is more important (just slightly) than looking good on prom night. But get her to read this post before you give in to her demands!
Leave the cane and top hat at home, guys. It’s a prom, not a costume party.
Technically, you should leave all other accessories at home, too. This means no sunglasses, no wallet chains, no earrings, no visible necklaces and no bracelets. Heck, many style experts argue that you shouldn’t even wear a watch with a tuxedo.
This goes for kilts, too. It’s great that you want to honor your Scottish heritage. Do it at a Scottish event — Haggis Day, or something. Unless you wear a kilt in your day-to-day life, wearing one to prom screams “look at me!”
5. Renting a tux in the first place
There’s no requirement that you wear a tuxedo to prom. A basic, well-fitted men’s suit can look just as good — and often a lot better.
Instead of spending $100 on a rental tuxedo, consider doubling your budget, buying a cheap navy suit and having it tailored to fit you perfectly. A basic navy suit will provide way more value than a rental tux. After wearing it to prom, you can keep it in your closet and wear it to weddings, funerals, job interviews and all the other places you’d wear a suit.
Just don’t be that guy who “suits up” in class or for dinner at McDonald’s just because he can. Wearing a normal suit to a casual event is just as bad as wearing a pink tuxedo to prom. The goal is to look subtly awesome, not to stand out from the crowd.