What you need to know about renting a tuxedo from Men’s Warehouse
A few weeks ago I was part of a wedding party for two great friends that I’d known since high school. The whole ceremony and reception was fantastic and fun — as such things should be — and you’d have been hard pressed to find someone who wasn’t having fun while getting down on the dance floor.
In a way, the event became partially responsible for why I started this blog. I was talking with the groom’s brother (and best man) about style and eventually thought that it’d be a good idea to start writing down the things I’ve learned along the way and who else to look to for inspiration when it comes to dressing well.
The one thing that every guy in the groom’s party agreed upon was a bit of shock at the rental tuxedos from Men’s Warehouse. In general, I understand the reasoning behind going with rentals, especially Men’s Warehouse.
For one, the bridesmaids’ dresses were all coming from David’s Bridal, which is a sister store to Men’s Warehouse. This meant that they could match colors in elements of the groomsmen suits with the dresses. Also, because the Men’s Warehouse is a nationwide chain, groomsmen could stop by in any store, have their measurements taken and pick up their suit at any location. There’s a significant convenience factor here. There’s one final argument to be made concerning cost of a rental versus cost of buying a new suit, but I’ll get into that later.
The purpose of this guide is to give you an idea of what to expect from Men’s Warehouse. If you’re one of the groomsmen and you’ve been told to go get a rental, then you’ll find the measurement guide helpful. If you’re getting married and considering picking Men’s Warehouse to get your crew outfitted, then you’ll have to decide if the value’s here and if it fits in your wedding plans.
The measurement process
Men’s Warehouse makes it absurdly easy to get “fitted” for your rental. You show up at any location, tell them the name of the wedding party and they plug in your measurements into a database, have you pay (either in full or a deposit, you choose) and that’s it.
But the measurements they take can definitely be a huge variable. Since I knew what jacket size works for me, I actually had the woman who took my measurements size me down from what she suggested. Same thing with the waistcoat. In retrospect, I also should have told her to size down on the shirt, too. And then there’s the pants, but I’ll get into that in a bit.
Basically, if you’re going in to be measured, make sure you’re on top of what they’re entering in that computer and size down when you can. All of their suits run big and nothing is tapered.
What you actually get with a rental
I’ll break this down by element and go over each piece, because it’s worth knowing about.
Pants: Without exaggeration, imagine parachute pants minus the elastic cuff and straight throughout the leg. All of our pant legs were wide enough to put both legs into. Also, the taller you are, the wider the pant legs. If you’re tall and skinny, then this will be ridiculously baggy.
In addition, the pants are sized to fit three waist sizes, so assume that you’re getting pants up to two sizes too big in the waist that are taken in by elastic bands down to your size.
Men’s Warehouse will only adjust the break of the pants and hem them up when you go to pick it up. They will not taper the pants! This was a disappointment for several of us, who really could’ve used a taper on the legs. I seriously had a foot of extra fabric around my thigh area.
Shirt: The dress shirt is 100% polyester — basically, you’re wrapped in plastic. Also, the top button isn’t a regular button, but rather a button designed to allow the collar size to stretch larger, making it really awkward if you have a skinnier (rather than larger) neck.
I know this sounds crazy, but wear an undershirt, especially if you plan on taking off your suit coat and dancing up a storm at the reception. You might think you’re going to be even hotter, but that’s unavoidable anyway. The purpose of the undershirt is to help prevent your dress shirt from showing pit stains.
Tie: The tie is essentially a clip on. Imagine a pre-tied bowtie with an adjustable collar, except with a regular necktie on the front. This shocked me more than the pants.
When I commented on the clip-on tie to the clerk at the Men’s Warehouse, he excitedly responded, “Yeah! We make it super easy for you!” No kidding.
Jacket and waistcoat: No surprises here. If you sized down, you’d be all right. I didn’t need my sleeve length adjusted, so I wasn’t sure if they offered that service, but they might. But I doubt they’d tailor in the sides for you, just as they wouldn’t taper the pants.
The jacket is rather heavier in weight and fully lined. I took the liberty of opening up the front pockets, whose seams were still sewed shut. Overall, these elements fit the best.
Shoes: The shoes were Joseph Abboud, shiny-black (patent?) leather (or faux leather?) with rubber soles. If you have your own shiny-black oxfords, then I’d recommend wearing those instead. You’ll be more comfortable, plus it’ll look nicer.
Other: You’ve given a set of cufflinks and shirt studs (which you must return) and a pocket square and socks (which you get to keep). No real surprises here.
My final take
In the end, this cost each groomsmen $140 to rent. Because the price is determined by the number of items you’re renting, this could easily be lower (or higher) if elements were subtracted or added.
I understand that not everyone can afford to buy a new suit outright, so $140 is a more affordable option to many. But I also see how these rentals could drive a sartorially-minded gent a bit crazy.
In the end, wearing a rental for a few hours isn’t the end of the world. You don’t have to worry about anything while wearing it and you’ll be laughing at yourself for that wack-ass dance move you just did after one-too-many drinks.