Tuxedos & Dinner Jacket Buying Guide

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Dinner jacket with black silk socks by Fort Belvedere and opera pumps aka court shoes
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Patent Leather Opera Pumps with bow

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Black over the calf silk socks by Fort Belvedere

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Midnight blue tuxedo pants with galon in grosgrain – part of a matching tuxedo dinner jacket combination

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Custom Double Breasted Velvet Dinner Jacket

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Grosgrain Bow Tie by Fort Belvedere

Tuxedo Price Categories

Midnight blue DB custom vintage 1930s tuxedo from a local consignment shop

Midnight blue DB custom vintage 1930s tuxedo from a local consignment shop

Budget Retailers: Tuxedos under $400

Surprisingly it is possible to find a dinner suit for under US$400 or even $300 particularly if one is willing to shop online. Obviously,  you will not get the highest quality tux and you may have to send it back if it doesn’t fit and alterations are not necessary but if you are on a tight budget it is a start.

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.

Frankly, your biggest bang for the buck will be a place like eBay where you can find new or vintage tuxedos at a huge mark-down. For best results, know the measurements of a suit that fit you well and ask sellers to provide those measurements before you buy.

Alternatively you can try local second hand or consignment stores but frankly, you have to be really lucky to find something. That being said, it is not impossible Sven Raphael Schneider found a late 1930s custom made tuxedo for under $100 at a local Vintage store.

$400 - 800 Range Tuxedos from Suitsupply

$400 – 800 Range Tuxedos from Suitsupply

Mid-Market & Direct To Consumer Retailers: $400 – $800

Generally speaking, stores in this price range offer a wide selection of tuxedos ranging from polyester blends to decent wools and sometimes silk blends. Retailers at the lower end of the price range tend to offer mostly modern styles but there are also some classic styles available. As a reader of this guide you will likely know what you want and if you are not quite sure yet, get our free Tuxedo Pocket Guide and you know what to look for quickly.

Staff in retail stores will only be semi-knowledgeable regarding proper black tie but then again the same goes for most higher-priced retailers these days. So you are better off learning what you need to know in our guide.

Rather than shopping at department stores it may be wise to consider lower end Made to Measure establishments or places like Indochino or Suitsupply who sell tuxedos directly to consumers online and in stores.

Made To Measure Black Tie Ensemble

Made To Measure Black Tie Ensemble by Ralph Lauren

Upmarket Retailers: $800 – $1,500

Upper market menswear retailers such as Brooks Brothers, Ralph Lauren and Hickey Freeman offer private brands made from quality wools in interesting classic style but buyer beware even here you can find notched lapel tuxedos with flaps.

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 slightly 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.

Vintage reproduction shawl collar tux with flaps from the Gatsby Collection

Vintage reproduction shawl collar tux with flaps from the Gatsby Collection at Brooks Brothers

Premium Retailers: $1,500 – $4,500

$1,500 will likely buy a dinner suit of good 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. Tom Ford is a good example of it. His style are classic, yet bold with wider lapels. Made by Zegna they retail for around $5,000 even though you can get a custom-made garment starting at $1,500 – $2000.

Tom Ford in a double-breasted tuxedo with peak lapels and jetted pockets.

Tom Ford in a double-breasted tuxedo with peak lapels and jetted pockets.

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. Of course, it all takes time, so start with this process at least 3 months before you need it the tuxedo.

Not sure what the difference between RTW, OTR, MTM, bespoke or custom is? No problem, check out our guide here.

Velvet dinner jacket with turquoise lining

Custom Made Velvet dinner jacket with shawl collar and turquoise lining – note the turn back cuffs and buttonhole.

Used Formalwear

Formalwear renters will often sell formal rental tuxedos at significant discounts. However, these garments were bad when they were new because the fabrics are cheap with a fused interlining that makes the wearer sweat, so definitely forego those types of offers.

As mentioned in the under $400 section above, you can find splendid vintage tuxedos from the 1930s, 1940s or 1950s. These suits are usually constructed of a heavier material and superior workmanship. The best deals are generally to be found on ebay.co.uk . Make sure you filter by used garments and use keyword like “vintage” or “dinner jacker” or “savile row” or specific brands like “lauren” or “chester barrie”.

Sample Ensemble Costs

Of course, you can’t go to a black-tie gala dressed in only a tuxedo. The accessories will make or break an outfit. Here are two examples of complete ensembles drawn from opposite ends of the price spectrum.

Sample Budget-Level Ensemble (US$)

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

Tom Ford seems to use velvet dinner jackets for pops of color against monotone suits

Tom Ford seems to use velvet dinner jackets for pops of color against monotone suits

Sample Premium Ensemble (US$)

Tip: Established executives on a spending spree can triple their outlay by investing thousands of dollars in a Black Tie Wrist Watch and a Brioni evening coat with silk collar and mink lining for $6,000.

Seersucker Dinner Jacket Tuxedo with grosgrain silk peaked lapels by Ben Silver

Seersucker Dinner Jacket Tuxedo with grosgrain silk peaked lapels by Ben Silver

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.

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Opera Pumps in patent leather with deep cut out custom made

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White Linen Pocket Square Fort Belvedere

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Grosgrain Faille Black Bow Tie by Fort Belvedere

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Dark Red Carnation Boutonniere Life Size Lapel Flower – Fort Belvedere

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White Evening Gloves by Fort Belvedere

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Double sided black white silk evening scarf with hand-knotted fringes by Fort Belvedere


Summary
Tuxedos & Dinner Jacket Buying Guide
Article Name
Tuxedos & Dinner Jacket Buying Guide
Description
Find out where to buy a tuxedo and black tie accessories such as shirt, shoes, pumps, cufflinks, bow ties, scarves, overcoats... in low budget, medium and high-end luxury price ranges with a list of quality tuxedo retailers across the globe.
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Gentleman's Gazette LLC
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