Unless you savor the idea of looking like an overgrown relic of your senior prom at every formal event of your adult life, you should own a tux. Think about it: Each time you rent, you’re slapping down a hundred bucks for the privilege of wearing a poorly cut sack on an evening when you should, ostensibly, look your very best. Multiply that by a few friends’ weddings, a couple New Year’s Eve bashes, and a corporate event or two, and you’ve more than paid for a great tuxedo to call your own. One that will actually make you—wait for it—look your very best. So, yes: You should buy. Now you just need to decide on the specifics.
And although the tuxedo does adhere to a relatively rigid formula, there are definitely choices to be made. Mostly, it’s a matter of preference. Peak lapel, notch, or shawl? Peak was featured on the original tux back in 1886, making it the most traditional choice. Shawl is less so, but only marginally—plus it’s got a bit of a rakish, Rat Pack vibe. Notch is generally regarded as less formal, but it’s a thoroughly modern option for those that want one. Put simply: There’s no wrong answer. The same is true for the question of black vs. midnight blue, satin vs. grosgrain lapel facings, jetted pockets vs. flaps, and side vents vs. no vents. And though a one-button closure is the clear classic choice, double-breasted versions abound, and two-button iterations have also crept into the mix. Meaning that whatever you’re into—within reason and excepting baby blue—there’s a perfectly acceptable option to match. Buy the style that matches your own, get it tailored to perfection, and soon you’ll be looking for excuses to wear it. Seeing as it’s not going out of style, well, ever, you’ll have ample opportunity.