Justin Timberlake in Men's Dinner Jacket
It’s stuffy, it’s uncomfortable and it’s limiting. Aren’t those some of the common takes you get from guys about men’s formal wear? That’s one way to look at the old tuxedo, which is sometimes referred to as a “monkey suit.” (Actually, it’s referred to as such in 100s of movies.)
But the fact is men’s formal wear, when worn properly and fit correctly, can be amazingly hip, suave, hot and cool. There’s a reason why Justin Timberlake, Hugh Jackman, Johnny Depp and many other handsome Hollywood men look so darn good when dressed in black tie. Check out the photo to the left of Timberlake in his dapper white dinner jacket. With the idea in mind that you can look dapper and debonair in formal wear, let’s consider the three complaints noted above.
“It’s stuffy.” Really? Men’s formal wear comes in a variety of styles and it is made to reflect simultaneously class, modern trends and classical design. It’s true that you wear a tuxedo to a formal event; that is to a special occasion that requires a dress code. The event may be a tad “stuffy” in that it is guided by certain rules, but that doesn’t mean that the formal wear you’re going to be dressed in has to also be “stuffy.”
The first thing that you need to do regarding your tuxedo is to relax a bit. Be positive and prepare to enjoy the new you that’s going to be created once you put on formal attire. Revel in your transformation!
“It’s uncomfortable.” Well, actually, if it has been measured and tailored properly men’s formal wear tends to be extremely comfortable. You may find the bow tie a bit confining if you’re not used to having your collar closed or the idea of wearing a dinner jacket may seem to be inhibiting, but once you ease into your tuxedo, you’ll soon find that it’s designed to make sure that you look and feel good when you stand, sit, walk, dance, etc.
The key is really proper fit and that first starts with choosing the right kind of tuxedo. It should look good on your body type. That may mean going with a vest rather than a cummerbund or choosing a cravat over a bow tie. All bodies are different and some men, because of the type of frame they have, will look good in any style, while others are more limited to what looks good on then. The right style and accessories will help make you feel comfortable. And, as mentioned before, you need to be measured correctly for the tux to fit right. If that happens, after a short period of adjustment, you’ll feel good. (Think, “James Brown.”)
“It’s limiting.” Funny, but even if you’re going with a traditional dinner jacket, you still have plenty of choices from which you can choose to make your tux a bit different or even unique. Some of these have already been discussed, but others include various choices when it comes to tuxedo stud sets and the color of your shirt and even the color of the tux itself. You have two different types of tuxedo shirt collars, two different types of lapels and various accessories from which to choose.
In many ways a tuxedo is no less limiting than a men’s suit and in some ways it actually gives you a bit more freedom since some tux designs are meant to go totally against the grain. If you’re attending an event where you are not the center of attention, then you probably don’t want to wear that powder blue tux with the matching ruffled shirt, top hat and spats. But even black tie will give you some interesting choices.
When you’re called upon to dress formally, you can make two choices. You can look at it as being akin to a prison sentence or you can prepare to enjoy a unique experience where you are able to create and refine the new formal you. Which do you prefer when it comes to men’s formal wear?
Caption for pictures
“Justin Timberlake had formal wear fun at the ESPYS”