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Tux Tips

I've been invited to a black-tie dinner, but I don't have a tux. Is it OK to wear a suit instead?
- D.M., Boca Raton, Florida

That depends on if you want to be invited back or not. Why not use this invitation as an excuse to buy your own tuxedo? Just select one that is traditional in overall style, single- or double-breasted, with satin lapels, so it can be worn for years to come. And because the black color of most tuxedos is forgiving, you don't need to spend a fortune.

As for tuxedo rentals, when you think about what time it takes to go to the rental store to be measured, go back to pick up your tuxedo rental, try it on (and hope it fits), take it home, wear it to the affair, and finally return your rental to the store. It just cost you a small fortune in time, let alone gas.

If your tuxedo-phobia lies in a fear of looking like a waiter, take a moment to thank your lucky stars. Hollywood has had a great influence on the tuxedo over the years, recently retooling it into a suit that can be worn with almost any accoutrement.

Black silk dress shirts white band-collar shirts and, if you're confident enough, turtlenecks and T-shirts are modern replacements for the traditional white pleated-front shirt.

But to answer your question, Alan Flusser, author of "Style and the Man" (HarperStyle), explains "There is less leeway in the interpretation. This is what is meant by "black Tie" black-tie means tuxedo. Especially when the requested invitation is for a public event. In a private home, a suit might be OK." In place of a tuxedo, we would suggest a black wool-crepe suit with a solid or striped tie.

When you receive a black-tie invitation, determine how traditional the situation is and adjust your appearance accordingly. More important, decide if you want to be remembered as the guy who couldn't afford a tuxedo or the guy who wore one with great elan.

Seven Easy Steps To A Great Fitting Tuxedo


It's easy and convenient to order a tuxedo by mail or phone. If you already know your sizes there's nothing to it, but if there's any doubt in your mind, follow the simple steps below. The important thing is measure ... don't guess.

Measuring Instructions

1. CHEST - UNDER ARMS Measure in relaxed position around the widest part of the chest.

2. CHEST - OVER ARMS Measure in relaxed position around the at the largest part of the arms and back.

3. WAIST Do not guess. Measure waist at belt height, but DO NOT measure over belt.

4. HIPS Measure at most prominent part of seat.

5. INSEAM Measure from base of crotch to center of shoe arch. To be certain, measure the inseam of a pair of trousers that fit you well (see illustration above).

6. NECK On a shirt that fits you well, lay collar flat. Measure collar from center of collar button to far end of collar buttonhole (see illustration above).

7. SLEEVE LENGTH Measure from center of backbone, over shoulder, down to bottom of wristbone.

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1001 Fourth Ave. Coraopolis, Pa 15108
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