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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

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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.

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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.


Essential Light Gray Trouser

White USA Oxford Shirt

2. Dark Suit Option

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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.

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  • 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
  • · Midnight navy suit

Essential Worsted Suit in Navy

3. Buy a Tux!

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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.

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

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

Black Essential Tuxedo

4. Vintage Dinner Jacket

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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).

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

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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) ·
  • Black jeans by Levi’s 511 ·
  • Black Vintage wingtips by Florsheim ·
  • Grey Vintage bowtie by Penguin
  • · White formal shirt

Textured White Broadcloth Shirt


Thanks for reading and have a great party!

Yours in style,

Dan Trepanier


Photography by Alex Crawford