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Tuxedo Rental Alternatives

March 6th, 2013

Formal party coming up and need a tuxedo in a pinch? Here’s a tip: don’t rent one.

Formal occasions call for a man to look his best. This is achieved by a garment that is tailored to his body, not some cheaply-made, “few sizes fit all” recycled piece of sh-t.

Here are some alternatives to renting for that “last second” formal party.

    1. Velvet Blazer

    01 copy copy

    Pick up a dark velvet blazer and pair it with items you (should) already have in your wardrobe – white shirt, dark grey trousers and black loafers.

    A tux rental is going to run you roughly $150-200. In most cases, the rental price is more than the cost to produce the garment, and you only get to borrow it for 24 hours. That’s insane.

    This velvet jacket was $99 at Uniqlo, and I’ve seen Wes rock it on numerous occasions – formal events, cocktail parties, out at the club, etc.

    It’s a versatile piece, and the more often he wears it, the more he saves.

    02 copy

    Wes doesn’t have an official tuxedo shirt. No big deal.

    A fitted oxford is going to look much better than an ill-fitting rental shirt, and chances are nobody’s going to notice the difference.


    Black plain-toe loafers can be worn with a tuxedo, suit or jeans.

    Just give them a fresh shine before the event.


    2. Dark Suit Option

    12 copy

    If you have a well-tailored dark suit, preferably midnight blue or charcoal grey, pair it with a white shirt, black tie (or bowtie), and sharp black shoes.

    I guarantee it will look better than a last-second rental.


    The differences between a midnight blue suit and a midnight blue tuxedo are subtle.

    In a world full of two-button notch lapel tuxedos, the only definite differences are the lapel facings and the pant stripe.

    In my opinion, it’s not worth trading the fit of a properly tailored suit to score these minute details on an ill-fitting garment.


    If it fits well and you rock it with confidence, you will look better and chances are nobody will even notice.

    15 copy

    • Midnight navy suit
    • White shirt by Thomas Pink
    • Black silk tie by Ralph Lauren Black Label
    • Watch by Montblanc Timewalker Automatic
    • Black Seamless Lace-Up Shoes by Ferragamo Tramezza

    3. Buy a Tux!

    06 copy

    Just suck it up and buy a tuxedo! There are plenty of affordable options with updated fits and classic styling.

    This one-button peak-lapel beauty, for example, is only $469 from Suit Supply. Therefore, if you wear it more than two times, you’ve already saved money over renting.

    Have it tailored, store it properly, and you never have to deal with the hassle of renting again.


    A hidden-placket dinner shirt is a brilliant investment. You can wear it as a business shirt too, since a necktie hides the placket. The majority of my white shirts have a hidden placket and french cuffs. Why not? It even looks cool with an open collar.

    09 copy

    Towni giving his classic look a little “Black Tie Creative” vibe with the buffalo plaid slippers.


    • “Downing” glasses by Warby Parker
    • Black peak-lapel tuxedo
    • Black bowtie by Brooks Brothers
    • Buffalo plaid slippers by Rugby

    4. Vintage Dinner Jacket

    17 copy

    Take a page out of Alex’s book: find a cool vintage dinner jacket for cheap, and have it tailored. It’s an easy way to steal the show, no matter the occasion.

    Try looking at your local thrift shop, or on eBay (make sure you know your measurements to avoid major alterations).

    20 copy

    The jacket is so sharp and eye-catching, he can get away with wearing it with black jeans.

    21 copy

    In summary, there are many alternatives to renting that are more flattering and cost effective.

    Worry less about the traditional “rules” and focus more on fit, comfort and confidence.


    • Grey Vintage dinner jacket (tailored)
    • White formal shirt
    • Black jeans by Levi’s 511
    • Black Vintage wingtips by Florsheim
    • Grey Vintage bowtie by Penguin


    Thanks for reading and have a great party!

    Yours in style,

    Dan Trepanier


    Photography by Alex Crawford

    • Robert Manjarrez

      Great selection of attire! Where can we find the dinner jacket posted in #4? I have a small tuxedo store but I love to carry variety whenever possible and that jacket is great!

    • Jimmy

      Personally i dont really like velvet attire, the thing inspired me alot was his bow tie, which kind kind of style it was. How I can make this kind of style.. Any Thoughts ??

      Blue Tuxedo Rental

    • Jake

      I realize this was posted a long time ago but i HAVE to know where Alex got that dinner jacket!

    • http://www.finetuxedos.com/ Julia

      Excellent advice, gentlemen. Tuxedo rentals can be extremely pricey. By investing in essential pieces or purchasing a tuxedo, men can avoid costly ventures and last minute formal wear disasters.

    • Graz

      I love this post. I keep coming back to it because I can probably afford pulling off a look like Wes does w/ the mix and match tux. My brother is getting married in May and I’d really like to try and pull this look off. This is probably a stupid question, but is it cool to wear a velvet jacket in May or is more of a winter separate?

    • http://Blog.purentonline.com Pitti Jean

      As the velvet jacket is well paired with tuxedo pants, i believe an another option should be consider the non black tuxedo jacket. and please suit your models with a tuxedo shirt at least. this poor cotton shirt makes ur option cheap and not fully an option if you catch my drift, No Tuxedo pants? No comment

    • Ben

      Does anyone know where you can buy slippers like those ones? i cant seem to find that pair/one that looks similar.

    • Derek

      Late to see this and maybe a dumb question, but is a standard “Navy Suit” a different color from a “Midnight Blue” suit?

      Something like, say, a Brooks Brothers Fitzgerald 1818 in Navy? (http://www.brooksbrothers.com/Fitzgerald-Two-Button-1818-Suit/212K,default,pd.html?dwvar_212K_Color=NWNV&contentpos=1&cgid=0216)

    • http://thenordicfit.com The Nordic Fit

      Nothing beats a midnight blue tux though.

    • http://www.touchofstyle.tumblr.com Willam

      Great post, great content, keep them comming!

    • Anon

      Alex is looking a bit like Eminem.

    • Ben

      Great idea for a post. The number of people you see in appallingly fitting dinner jackets, is just as high as the number of people committing the same crime at weddings.

      I have to say though, I really can’t on board with the slippers thing. To me, they look a bit ridiculous, and in that fabric, you could get mistaken for an old man who’s accidentally left the house without putting on his “real” shoes!

    • Tjay

      This post is beyond convenient at the time because at the moment I’m getting ready for prom! Well, let me rephrase that. I’ll be gathering up the courage to ask someone to prom, haha. But thanks for this. Awesome timing!

      • http://www.tsbmen.com Westley Dimagiba

        good luck man, I’m sure you’ll kill it at prom!

    • Calvin

      Is it me, or does Wes look like he’s about to hit the dougie?? Lol

      • http://www.tsbmen.com Westley Dimagiba

        “They be like smooth…”

    • Randy

      Echoing the positive vibes… My favourite post in a while too! Thought provoking and practical.

      I never realized you could make this much of a personal statement when donning formal attire. You all killed it. So much personality! So on point! So TSB!

    • Eric

      This is the type of feature I love. I can’t afford a bespoke tux or a pair of Scarpe di Biancos, but I can definitely use some tips in getting creative with alternatives to the Men’s Wearhouse. Thanks y’all.

      • Eric

        For what it’s worth, when I eventually break through that six-figure income ceiling, my dream to celebrate is flying to New York for some MAB.

    • Marcus Forlan

      Great post, guys.

      I love suitsupply and got a few suits from them, but the only “knock” is the time it takes to stand there while they pin my suits. 30 mins – 1 hour to spend getting a suit fitted is too much when my tailor can do it in 5mins or less!

      The sales guys have some training but are not tailors so they painstakingly pin every last bit of the suit. If you need padding in your shoulders (which I was surprised they even recommended) they will run upstairs to get it while you wait. I spent 30 mins standing to get my first suit there fitted.

      After that experience, I just order online (they actually post detailed dimensions of the suits online) and then take them to my tailor. If the suits don’t work, I nip down to suitsupply and just return them.

      • http://tsbmen.com Townsend

        In my experience with Suitsupply the fitting process was quite speedy… Don’t know who’s pinning you! Just my opinion… Thanks for reading Marcus!

        • Anonymous

          OK – it was more like 20 mins (felt longer lol) and mebbe I had a one off. And I know I can’t compare them to a tailor I have used for years.

          Still, online for me is the way to go from now on. Can’t beat the convenience and their online experience is v. well designed.

    • http://undefined Levi

      Townsend, did you have the leg openings tapered on that SuitSupply tux? It’s a lovely slim fit.


      • http://tsbmen.com Townsend

        Yes, I had the calf tapered a bit, but not much. They did it in house, with a quick turnaround. Came out great!

    • Jaws

      The most valid criticism about this site is that it tends to fall somewhere between peacock and affected in it’s display of personal style, while occasionally on point in some areas. And I believe this argument goes beyond opinion. The errors in the manner of dress on this site can best be articulated by the fact that it champions poor sentiments like “learn the rules, then break ’em”. Which seems to be the statement of choice for #menswear/fashion victim hybrids. When in reality, the ability to ‘learn’ the ‘rules’ isn’t as easy as sites like these may have you believe.

      • Jaws

        *As a blog, fair enough. As what appears to be a ‘business’, it becomes much more suspect.

        • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

          ? The blog is a business. One wouldn’t exist without the other.

          Thanks again for your support.

        • Marcus Forlan

          What? How do you think they pay the bills ? Dan’s trust fund ?? It is a business of course!

          I am overall quite patient but some comments are so inane they are annoying.

          You can tell when a blog is making money vs someone’s hobby. This one is making money.

        • Khalid

          Errr… I think you’ve confused business & blogging with the Church. From what I can tell, Dan’s not aiming to be the Pope of men’s style, he’s a Michelangelo who you can disagree with and learn from at the same time.

          • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

            haha thanks for the awesome well-put compliment

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        Hi Jaws. The problem I have with your role as “criticism validator” is that everything about personal style is opinion. It’s personal decision, personal interpretation, personal taste.

        We’re more interested in inspiring men to express themselves rather than breaking down the traditional “rules” of our father’s generation. If you’re yearning for more “traditional dress codes”, I would recommend the blog Put This On or this classic book by Allen Flusser.

        Neverthless, thanks for your continued support and comments.

        • http://undefined Passerby

          What a classy response^

        • Jaws

          My comment is just kind of an agreement with an old Die, Workwear post I remember called “An Intervention for Dan Trepanier” or something like that.

          The comment wasn’t addressing a lack of you ‘breaking down rules of our father’s generation’

          You’ve done good things with your site and good luck with future aspirations.

          • TW

            Do you have a link to that post?

      • Marcus Forlan

        Jaws –

        You offer your opinion and then try to pass it off as fact. Your line of logic goes something like this – “everyone thinks the same as me”, “it is reality” and that so it has to be true. Just not the case – at the end of the day this is your opinion and you have not offered anything to support your claim that it is “reality”, the “most valid criticism” of this site, etc, etc.

        At any rate, you are missing the point of this site. These guys make it very clear that they are not telling you to follow what they do to a tee. These are giving you ideas, which you can incorporate into your current style if you so choose.

        A very conservative dresser may look at the site and say – “whoa- no / orange socks!”, “denim layer under a sport coat, tailored sweats and pyjama shirts – wtf!!”.

        But you can also look at the looks and modify them to your taste – brown socks instead of orange, lose a layer (or two), replace the tailored sweats / pyjama with cotton pants / gingham shirt, etc, etc.

        I think this site is balanced in the looks they present. If you look at their look book, they strike a balance between conservative and progressive outfits. If anything, I think they lean more on the classic style of dressing compared to a lot of the stuff out there. Hardly “peacocking” – take a look around.

        For me that works – be grounded in the classics (i grew up schooled in this way of dress and it got boring for me) and then change things up a bit to make it more interesting.

    • Josh S

      Great post guys.

      I have been wanting to purchase a tuxedo for a while now and really liked indonchino and their custom navy shawl tuxedo. Obviously you would recommend MAB, but for their price it seems unbeatable. Any thoughts?

      • http://tsbmen.com Townsend

        I’d definitely go suitsupply over indochino. Better fit, better quality, no question marks or wait times…

        • Marcus Forlan

          Quality wise – suitsupply – hands down agreed.

          But as someone who is “hard to fit” off the rack, I am 50-50 on this. My problem with suitsupply is that they the shoulders are too narrow for me on may of the cuts. I have to go to a size 48 or 50 and then the body is way too big and they have to cut down the pants to my 34 waist!

          Indochino offers me a fair compromise – fit was actually pretty good – had to take it to the tailor but it was fine for a knock around type of stuff.

          Not sure how may of the readers have this problem – but my 0.02.

    • Khalid

      All great ideas, imaginatively executed!

      A minor niggle: is something off with the SuitSupply sleeves? The torso is smooth and sleek, but there’s a lot of rumple in the arms (especially the upper arms) that seems a bit incongruous. (Also, I would guessed it’s better to take an OTR garment to your usual tailor, but perhaps this is an exceptional case.)

      • http://tsbmen.com Townsend

        The sleeves are actually great. I think it’s just the shot, they look perfectly fine in person.

        • Sosa

          It looks like the sleeve pitch is off a little though.. but its OTR so I would not stress it as much..

    • http://WideEyesTightWallets.tumblr.com Adam

      Also, Alex – fantastic choice of Whiskey! Campfire has become one of my new favorites since my girlfriend bought me a bottle for Christmas.

      • Rory

        He looks a bit “tired and emotional” in that first pic lol

        • http://tsbmen.com Alex Crawford

          I’m sad because everyone is dancing and I’m not…

          • Rory

            Lol – by the way what is that whiskey. I’m not familiar with the label

    • franky

      Towni, I hate you because I don’t have a manly jaw like yours.

    • John

      I like Dan’s poses! How wide are the lapels on your suit? Is it me or they’re a bit narrower?

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        2.5″ on this suit, which I think is the narrowest I own

        • Nick

          @Dan, do you know how wide the lapel is on the tux from suit supply?

    • fan

      my dude wes!
      Overall A+ segment from TSB.

      Just a question for you guys, I have a solid black suit with notch lapels and a slight herringbone pattern, cant really notice it unless you shine it in some light. I dont have a bow tie, just a plain black tie and white shirt, I do have some black loafers that are brand new basically, Will this look suffice for a black tie formal event, even though i dont have a bow tie

      • http://tsbmen.com Townsend

        Should be fine.

    • Kiel

      This is great info. However, what about being a groomsmen? Best man?

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        Plenty of wedding content coming early spring!

      • Joe

        If you’re a groomsman, you either every so gently try to nudge the groom (which means the bride), or just go with the flow and rent whatever monstrosity they choose. It’s their day, so think of your suffering as part of their wedding gift.

    • Jimi Brady

      This is probably my favorite TSB post in a long time (which is saying something – I thoroughly enjoy nearly every article). This is the kind of post that applies to someone like me, a broke college student who wants to look good without spending precious tuition/food money. I really love Wes and Alex’s outfits and the ideas behind them. $100 for a formal jacket is a steal.

    • M-O

      Towni’s red slippers are driving my nuts, it just adds so much to the suit!

    • http://WideEyesTightWallets.tumblr.com Adam

      Vaguely related question: for a go-to white shirt, do you recommend OCBD, or something lighter like poplin or twill?

      • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

        Cloth style is a matter of personal preference. I would avoid a button-down collar on a “go-to” white shirt, though.