Even if you only break it out once a year, it’s best you aren’t remembered as the spud who had no shame and picked up a rental for the occasion.
Black tie events are one of the few occasions guys can dress to kill and pretend they’re in the running to get cast as 007. There’s dim lighting, champagne, good food, and mediocre conversation to boot. To make the most of the occasion, we’ve covered our favourite brands that offer the complete black-tie experience across the spectrum of price and style.
Need a tux and you needed it yesterday? Forget your pooch, ASOS is a man’s best friend when the bank is depleted and there’s an event around the corner that you forgot about (or ignored). The ASOS cut is slim in extremis, which suits the younger (and fitter) buyer. It’s an easy purchase when you’re not quite ready to put down a couple of grand on something you wear once a year.
If you’re looking for an affordable tuxedo, it’s hard to look past Topman. Their range of tuxedos includes both traditional styles as well as more modern looks. All of their tuxedos are good quality and feature very modern styling cues like slimmer fits and slim lapels.
After perfecting his design skills at Ralph Lauren, Marc Jacobs and The Gap, Todd Snyder started his own label and it has gone from strength to strength ever since. Todd offers a great selection of both traditional and contemporary style tuxedos to suit all tastes. They’re made in the USA and come at rather reasonable prices.
Hackett was started in 1983 by Mr Jeremy Hackett out of his love for traditional British menswear and Saville Row craftsmanship. His brand embodies traditional British style and also has hints of preppy, ivy league style. Hackett’s tuxedos are traditional in styling, yet have modern fits.
Reiss have enjoyed a recent expansion and brought a full suite of competitively priced evening wear with them for the ride. With British heritage, Reiss are a no-fuss brand that sticks to the things that work. Reiss have taken a simple template – black or navy, satin lapels, and a modestly slim fit – to the next level with their most recent collection.
The brainchild of two Stanford Business School students, Bonobos hopes to breathe a new light on American menswear with a focus on fit and materials. Their selection of tuxedos are traditionally styled yet employ modern fabrics and cuts. They use a selection of Italian fabrics to ensure they good great and last longer. Unlike most off the rack tuxedos some of Bonobos’ feature side adjusters, something that is more commonly found on made to measure and bespoke suits.
J.Crew prides themselves on their ability to make quality basics that not only look good today but will look good for years to come. Their tuxedos are no different and come in a range of iconic styles that feature either shawl or peak lapels.
Proudly Australian and proudly well made, M.J. Bale has made ‘Australian tailoring’ a thing again and reminded us that yes, Australian men do give a shit about looking the part. Bale has three lines – Blue Label, White Label, and a nifty MTM line – which means you’d be hard-pressed to find something you can’t afford. Best of all, Bale almost exclusively uses Australian merino wool, so by purchasing an MJ tux, you’ll be supporting the heartland and Australian farmers (and looking like a total stud in the process).
On Saville Row, Richard James has a bit of a reputation: depending on who you ask, he’s either made classic tailoring cool for young guys, or doesn’t respect the rules and shouldn’t have a job. We’re on board with the first interpretation. He’s not afraid to splice tradition with something new, like camouflage on a tuxedo jacket, made from premium materials in the strict Row fashion. If you’ve done the black tux and have the bones to try something new, RJ is the tailor to guide you through the next step.
Kingsman came about as a result of collaboration between Mr Porter and the Kingsman movie series. They employed a team of British heritage brands to make both the costumes for the movie as well as the collection available to the public. The styling of their tuxedos embody the bespoke style of the movie’s secret agents and will stand out in any crowd.
Salle Privee employs a combination of high-quality materials with exquisite Italian craftmanship to create their selection of menswear. Their tuxedos combine traditional fits and stylish with rather outlandish materials including colourful velvets and bright whites. Whilst bold, Salle Privee is at the height of sophistication.
It’s hard to address the conventions of black tie dress without tipping our hat to the man that leads the way, and that’s Tom Ford. Ford made black tie cool again, and has reminded men that a good tuxedo is a gateway to heaps of awesome shit. Although he’s a strong advocate for the classics, Tom Ford is happy to experiment with things like velvet, giving you the chance to stand out among the sea of navy and black two-pieces (for all the good reasons).
Ralph Lauren is a preppy mainstay that quietly moonlights as a solid advocate for black tie sartorialism. Polo sticks to what it knows well, and that’s classic style: peaked satin lapels, a slim fit, and premium materials you’ll find nowhere else. A worthy step into the world of black-tie investment pieces that won’t break the bank.
Hugo Boss is a dual mainstay in both corporate fashion and after-dark style. If it’s a slick investment piece that you could wear to your 21st and then your 30th, Hugo Boss is the place to go (provided you keep the kegs off in the intervening years). Boss has different lines based on affordability, so they’re not just for the corner office guys.