Prom season is upon us. The time for us guys to focus all of our energy on creative "promposals," corsages, fancy dinners, limousines and promises to parents to have our dates home by midnight.
But there's one thing missing from that list needed to guarantee the most memorable event of your high school career, possibly one of the most important things of all: Looking absolutely dynamite in a stylish tuxedo.
Prom is a formal event; therefore, a tuxedo is essentially mandatory. Why stroll into the dance looking mediocre in a mere pair of slacks and your dad's button-down, jacket and tie when you can make your date swoon by wearing the latest of fashionable three-piece tuxedos brought to you by your local formalwear provider, Sacino's?
One of the manliest things a guy can do is dress in style, so here's a few tips on how to be the most dapper gentleman at your prom this year.
Know the difference between a tux and a suit
Prom is a black-tie event. This means you can't get away with wearing any old business suit you found in the back of your closet. This is a special time in your life, and a tuxedo is the official attire. Anything else is second-best. The difference between a suit and a tux is simple: a tuxedo has satin material along the lapel (collar of the jacket), on the buttons, pockets and a stripe along the side of the pants.
Find the right style
Now that you know what a tux is, you need to know what tuxes are in style. Right now the most common colors of tuxedoes to wear to prom are black or white. Leave the tans and greys for weddings, but if you feel like standing out, look into navy blue, which is what is being worn by many celebrities on the red carpet.
As far as style of jacket goes, two buttons never gets old. It's a solid look that looks great buttoned or unbuttoned. But, never button the bottom button. One-button jackets have a longer lapel and are good if you want to show off what's under your jacket while it's buttoned, such as your vest, cummerbund or colorful suspenders. Both vests and cummerbunds are in style, so it's a matter of preference, but it's one or the other. Any more than two buttons isn't in style now, so I suggest staying away from them. If you're a bigger guy and have trouble with buttoning a coat in the first place, try no buttons!
Most styles come in either a notch, peak or shawl lapel. Which one to get is based solely on preference. Notch is a good business look, peak is solid for a more casual prom tux and shawl is a classy James Bond type of look.
A popular modern twist on the tux jacket is something called the mandarin collar. It has no actual lapel or buttons and flares out to show all the color and style you're sporting under the jacket.
Select the best color
For darker skinned gents, I'd suggest a white coat, in any of the above styles. Some white tones look good on lighter skinned guys as well. You can never go wrong with a white shawl lapel dinner jacket: It is a classic.
In most cases with white coats, I recommend having a black shirt to make sure you don't blend in too much. You also cannot go wrong with black coats, regardless of the shade of your skin. Some guys like to do a black shirt with a black coat in order to make the color of the tie and vest really pop. This can look good with strong colors like red or blue, but it also can overshadow the style of the tux. In most cases with a black coat, go with a white shirt.
When it comes to pleated shirts, it's still about preference. Pleated shirts are a more classic tux style shirt, but flat-front shirts always look good as well.
Matching your date
One of the most difficult tasks in choosing a tuxedo for prom is matching the color to your date's dress, at least for those of us who (oh so daringly) asked a gal to the dance. Hopefully you don't stoop to a low enough level to make your date do all of the work for matching your outfits (for any female readers out there, don't settle for a guy without a sense of style and color coordination).
Having trouble matching the colors? Try matching any jewelry she might be wearing. If your lovely damsel is wearing ivory pearls, then try an ivory vest and tie. If her dress has a shiny trim, try a shiny platinum. If her dress has two colors in it, say lavender and silver, do a silver vest and lavender tie and pocket square, or vice versa. There are a multitude of combinations of vest/cummerbund, tie and pocket square colors to match your date without completely matching the color of her dress.
If you really want to stand out, coordinate the colors of your suspenders and socks as well. As far as choosing a bow tie or long tie, it is once again about preference as both look sharp. Just make sure to use studs as your shirt buttons if you do sport a bow tie.
Be a sharp-dressed man
Now you know the basic essentials of style when it comes to looking dapper at your prom. For any more questions or concerns, consult a sales associate at Sacino's, and he or she will be more than happy to help make you the sharpest looking guy at the dance. With your fashionable knowledge held close, your boutonniere secured tight and your tie fastened appropriately, you're ready to embark on what just may be the most memorable night of all your days in high school. Enjoy, you sharp-dressed you.
Evan Fineout is a senior at Northeast High and a sales associate and model for Sacino's.