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It's Time to Ditch the Black Tuxedo

Nine tips for retiring the stodgy evening suit.

December 2009 Issue

The Black List
A tuxedo is an investment. Subpar tailoring and cheap complimentary items will dilute its ROI.

1. Don't even think of taking the easy way out. You're a man—learn how to knot a bow tie.

2. And speaking of neck treatments, stay away from gimmicky prints and forget trying to match the color to your girlfriend's dress. (That screams amateur, or worse, Donald Trump) Black, charcoal gray, cream, and midnight blue are the colorways to follow.

3. When it comes to accessories, keep it simple. A tuxedo already provides drama, texture, and contrast. Unlike studs and cuff links, tie bars and pocket squares are unnecessary flourishes.

4. Purists will contend that evening attire requires a waist covering, either in the form of a cummerbund or vest. Although slightly antiquated, these formalities, as long as they are trim and well-tailored, are still acceptable—and there's a hidden bonus: When done correctly it provides a cover for a slight paunch.

Tuxedo ($3,775), shirt ($795), bow tie ($155), and shoes ($450) by Giorgio Armani, 212-988-9191.

Photograph by Kevin O'Brien
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