Owning a tuxedo is certainly better than having to rent every time you need formal wear. However, if you havent thought of it as an investment, borrowing is your next best option. We never thought we would do it, but we did give it a try. Find out what we think about rental tuxedos in todays video!
Sven Raphael Schneider: For todays video, we did something I thought wed never do.
Preston Schlueter: We rented tuxedos.
SRS: So why on earth would we do that?
PS: Well, we wanted to see if you could get something that fits reasonably well just from ordering from different locations.
SRS: Or if youre just better off buying something and having it tailored so you actually look the part. I was under the assumption that its always better because something that you own that you can tailor and youre in a budget even if that means its secondhand versus something thats rented and ill-fitting.
PS: Right, its always better to have your own formal wear, if for no other reason then its just going to be more cost-effective to buy once than to rent continuously.
SRS: Even if you think youre just going to wear it once, I still think you can find something very inexpensively and have it tailored. Its maybe a little more expensive at the end of the day but you actually look better and you can always sell it afterwards.
PS: True, right! Cost per wear is important too, upfront cost may be higher but if you can wear it over the years, thats going to be a lot better than continuously renting.
SRS: I mean once you have a tuxedo, you are much more likely to wear it again.
PS: Absolutely, yeah! Ive got a couple of different black tie ensembles now and I wear all of them fairly frequently.
SRS: I guess youre an exception though because youre a jazz singer so theres more use for that, anyways.
PS: This is true!
SRS: And you work for the Gentlemans Gazette so
PS: Right, two good reasons. Now, in fairness, part of the reason we did this today is because the industry has made strides over the last decade or so, it used to be you would have to go into a brick-and-mortar location, youd have to get fitted, that might be a continuous process but today, there are several online companies that just do back and forth through the mail.
SRS: So with that being said, there are a bunch of major pitfalls to renting, right? And the biggest one of all of them is not being able to tailor something exactly to your needs.
PS: Right, I mean everybody has slight differences in how things are going to fit them. The fact of the matter is most rental garments are kind of fitting into a general mold and theyre symmetrical but humans are naturally asymmetrical, weve all got little differences in how were built.
SRS: Exactly. I mean my right shoulder is like two inches lower and everything. I mean you have issues and even people who dont think they have any issues in terms of symmetry, they just dont realize it yet. Once you actually look at it with a critical eye, youll see everything.
PS: Yeah, I happen to have long arms for my build. Ive got one leg thats decently shorter than the other. So there are all kinds of things that youve got to be aware of that youre probably not going to pick up on until you see how poorly something like a rental garment might fit you.
SRS: True, I mean in all fairness, you could argue that you can adjust the sleeve length and maybe your inseam length but thats just a start and if youre asymmetrical, that will still show in wrinkles on your garment.
PS: And another big issue with several of these offerings from any of the various tuxedo rental companies is a lot of them just fail to actually nail down with the basics of true Black Tie really are.
SRS: That is true and you can find all these out there adventurous combinations, right? They have mixed black watch tartan and stripes and very light colors but its very hard to find the classic Black Tie tuxedo as outlined in our Black Tie guide. I mean information is all there, right? and you can check out all the details because its a very extensive guide but the basics are, you know, peak lapel, no vents, a nice galon strip and then you have either a flat front, traditionally, like a pleated front. That single button, you dont have any flaps but even that, its already so difficult and for black-tie, right, its just something where you choose something thats very traditional. Its the quintessential time, especially if you just wear once or twice or you go classic. Theres no need to wear this bright orange dinner jacket.
PS: And unfortunately, because they dont really offer this quintessential classic style by and large, it ends up falling into trends which may look good now but as we all know, if weve looked back on wedding pictures from the past, youre going to regret some of those trends because they havent stuck around.
SRS: Yeah and I mean even now, I would say they look bad. Some people just may like it because its different, right? Those contrasting silver vests with a matching long necktie, stuff like that its just maybe with a notched lapel tuxedo and flaps, its just not good because tuxedos should be a little different right so you have the silk face lapel. Oftentimes, I think with those, its just like polyester faced because silk is just too expensive. Overall, it just makes you look like youre going right to prom and it screams like I either cant or I dont want to buy a tuxedo and instead I am wearing this kind of polyester crap thats just not properly sized to my built.
PS: And another piece of that too is if youre wearing something that is very obviously not your own, its often going to be communicated in how youre holding and carrying yourself. Youre probably just going to look stiff and out of place and like youre in clothes that youre not used to because thats whats happening.
SRS: Yeah, theyre also not as comfortable as if you get something that really fits so it makes you look uncomfortable and out of your skin.
PS: So with that said, even though we think the cards may be kind of stacked against renting, we wanted to give the experience in the industry a fair shake so we still went ahead with it.
SRS: So that meant we got three different tuxedos, we got one for Mens Wearhouse, one from The Black Tux and one from Menguin, which was bought by Generation Tux.
PS: Theyre both owned by the same holding company now, Generation Tux and Menguin are. So theyre essentially offering the same product at this point. Both of those companies are overseen by George Zimmer who used to be the CEO of Mens Wearhouse but he is no longer in that position.
SRS: Got it! By the way, this video is a hundred percent not sponsored, we just ordered them just like you would. I went to their website, you know put in our information, our credit card information, and got the tuxes.
PS: We wanted the truest experience as possible so we could have ultimately the same fair result as any of you might.
SRS: Otherwise, if we show up there and say were from Gentlemans Gazette, theyll probably treat us slightly differently and we didnt want that. So to start, when you rent your tux, there are basically two options, these days, right? Theres a free home try on where they send something out to you and before the event, if you dont know when its going to be and then you have to send it back within 48 hours.
PS: I think the other option is theyll essentially just send it to you sight unseen and you hope that based upon what measurements you get, thats what youre going to wear for the event itself and you hope it fits.
SRS: Yeah but I think some of them sent it early enough so you can exchange it, in case something goes wrong, right?
PS: I believe that is the case, yes.
SRS: So without further ado, lets jump right in and go through the tuxes. The first one is like The Black Tux.
PS: Correct, thats the model that I am wearing here so this was a midnight blue model. Out of the three that we ordered, we wanted to have one that was a little bit different in that regard so this one is midnight blue instead of black.
SRS: Well, you know they call it midnight blue but honestly, its more like a navy.
PS: I think I would agree.
SRS: Because it looks, maybe the idea of midnight blue is that something looks blacker than black under artificial lighting versus this, looks navy under artificial lighting.
PS: I think so. I think its a trend among a lot of these tuxedo companies these days to want to accentuate the fact that the tuxedo is blue but as a consequence of that, it becomes so light that its really more just almost like a navy suit with tuxedo styling than actual midnight blue.
SRS: Yeah. Talking about trends, they also have the double vents which traditionally, was not something you had in a tuxedo. I think these days, side vents are very popular because theyre comfortable, you can put your hands in your pockets, at the same time, I think the tuxedo is already rather similar to a suit so why make it even more similar, even though you want a special garment? Makes no sense to me.
PS: Right. I would agree. I think, probably the reason that a lot of these companies will go with side vents is because part of the reason of having a ventless jacket is that it provides that perfect silhouette and it fits your body just the way it should but that probably isnt super cost-effective from that sort of one size fits most perspective that the rental companies have. Its going to be harder to fit multiple men and their different body types with a ventless jacket.
SRS: Especially, people with a big bum like myself.
PS: You said it, not me.
SRS: So styling wise, we got you a single breasted peak lapel with a single button closure.
PS: Thats right and honestly, on this one, I thought all of that was decent; the the lapels have a nice sort of satin sheen to them. I liked the width, the button placement here seemed good. I would say the the downside, at least, in this area, is that there was some collar gapping that was fairly visible there.
SRS: Yeah and if you compare satin to your bowtie, you can tell its not a rich deep like silk satin and it looks more like gray, in a way, so we can tell its not the utmost in quality, right. The other thing I thought was funny was there were no buttons on the cuffs. I dont know if they, looks like theres a lot of fabric on the inside, I dont know if they kind of actually opened it up and changed the sleeve length based on their needs or how it works but I could see how having actual cuff buttons would be more of pain for them, of course, its a classic look and its something youre not getting by renting a tuxedo.
PS: Another thing we noticed with this tux in regard to the pants is that the stripe down the side here, the galon, was actually sewn into the side seam rather than being sewn over the top.
SRS: Yeah, I found it on my tuxedo, as well. Maybe thats just a cost-effective way to do it for them, these days, I dont know but its not the proper way to do it and its just a cheap workaround.
PS: This was also a feature that we found in the Menguin tux, as well, so all three of them were guilty of that particular style element.
SRS: Now, lets talk a little bit about the website of the whole ordering process. I think The Black Tux tries to make it really simple to the point where its extra quite vague, theres no way to kind of see what size they pick for you, and you cant even make adjustments. It pretty much assumes that youre like a child, you dont really know what fits you, and theyll just take care of it for you.
PS: I think probably theyre coming at it from a perspective of the average guy who might not know a lot about formalwear. They want to get him through the process as quickly and painlessly as possible so the website is pretty simple but the downside of that is for somebody who is actually passionate about formalwear and cares about the details, as you say, the website is almost overly simplistic to the point of being vague and you know, you dont really get to see a lot of those details that youd want.
SRS: And you know, I guess they know their customer and so its easy for them to say we just focus on that part of the demographic but if they dont end up looking great, what good is that? Now, personally, I was positively surprised by the fact that theyre all made of wool or at least thats what the label says. Sometimes, they have like a super 100, its like in Mens Wearhouse or I think super 140s. Now, it doesnt tell you what weaver the fabric comes from so its meaningless because its not a protected term but at least, its a step up from the hundred percent polyester tux.
PS: Absolutely. Out of the three that we got, I did notice that this model from The Black Tux does actually have a label on the inside of one brand.
SRS: Thats trying to kind of provide some high quality stuff. Okay, it is not a well-known brand, its not like Vitale Barberis Canonico or Cerruti, its just a smaller mill probably but at least, they are trying.
PS: Yes, and thats important.
SRS: Now, when it comes to construction, they dont share whether its glued or padded. At this price point, it feels like its glued.
PS: That would be my assumption, as well, yes.
SRS: What are your thoughts in the construction, otherwise?
PS: Generally, I thought this model from The Black Tux was not bad, certainly as compared to the others. I didnt happen to see any loose threads or odd or uneven stitching, any thing of that nature. So at least as far as covering those more simple bases, that was done fairly well.
SRS: I mean in terms of fit, it was pretty good considering it was just an off-the-rack thing. The pants seemed to be the right length, right? Youre a slim guy so its harder to fit you, in general. The jacket was okay. I think it was that maybe a little on the long side for you.
PS: Yeah, it was a little long, not only in the torso but also directly visibly in the arms, there was definitely more length than needed to be there. As we already mentioned, there was a little bit of collar gapping and I think some extra room, generally, in the in the torso of the jacket.
SRS: Which I guess is something you experience most of the time when you get something off the rack. That being said, the sleeve length is something you can always correct. For a rent tuxedo, you want to have a little bit of cuff showing about the same amount you can see in the back in the collar. If thats not the case, it just looks odd.
PS: So out of all of the tuxedos we rented, I think I was most pleased with this one. On a scale of zero to five, I think this one might go maybe as high as a three, I would say. I think thats, overall, where I would place it and in fairness too, this was an at-home try-on model so in the ideal scenario of how it would work, I would send feedback to the company with how this fit and then theoretically, further alterations would be done on the finished tux that I would get for an event.
SRS: If that is possible. Because they also have the option that you just rent a tux and then you get it and then thats basically what you get.
SRS: So like with anything in life, if you plan ahead, you will ensure that you get better results. Next up, lets talk about Mens Wearhouse. Its kind of the 800-pound gorilla in the tux rental business. If you just Google tuxedo, its the number one search result. Even though what they provide is actually quite disappointing, in my opinion. Overall, I have to say, you know, I had high hopes because the packaging has improved and I just thought maybe they just have a better product by now that was especially reinforced when we went to the website. I mean they were the only ones who wanted to know what the inseam was, what the waist measurement was, so I had hoped they would actually like nail it. But even though I told them my inseam is 31, it came out to be wrong.
PS: I think 27 and a half or so which is just a very big difference.
SRS: Three and a half inches on an inseam length, I mean thats terrible, right? Apart from the fact that my pants make me look like a clown, the opera jacket which is different because the pants are made in China, the opera was made in Mexico, it has a Calvin Klein label, 44 regular, and its the typical tuxedo jacket you think of when you think of rental, right? How would rate the fit?
PS: Well, I think, as you said, the pants are very short but in addition to that, they are full to the point of being a little bit baggy and I think the jacket is, as well. Of course, traditional styling, you know, if were talking about a drape cut or what have you, theres a little bit more fullness but this just really looks more like a potato sack than anything fitted.
SRS: They have a fabric here, theres room in the sleeve but still, when I moved, everything moves with me and so its not even comfortable. At the same time, it looks ****. And here, we have the same issues right? No cuff buttons, like there was a lot of fabric in here but its too long when I stand yet it shows a lot of cuff when I sit, which is just less than ideal.
PS: Its kind of the worst of both worlds, really.
SRS: Now, the lining is polyester which makes you more prone to sweating which is also not ideal but overall, this makes me extremely uncomfortable wearing it and it has all these flaws even though stylistically, right? Peak lapel, single button, thats good. It was the only vendor that had no vents which is nice but it still didnt have a flattering cut which is the point of the no vent and then it has these flaps which are not traditional and the pockets are full like on any other jackets. The problem is if you have a full pocket, you cant even tuck the flaps a way to create a classic look, right? So it just sucks.
PS: So with all of that said then, what do you think you would rate this Mens Wearhouse tux?
SRS: You know, that tux I received out of the box Id give it like a zero out of five because theres no situation I would ever wear this and Id rather skip the event than show up wearing something like this. Now that being said, once we received this and reached out to Mens Wearhouse, they were like, Were sorry, will either send you something else or well refund your money. Now, thats good customer service in the sense that they take responsibility and they want to make it right. At the same time, I mean we all know how much fun it is sending back packages numerous times, right?
SRS: And then also, when I have an event where I need it by, I want to know that they send me something that fits especially if they ask for or measurements. I dont want to hope that something arrives and then its completely different then I have to take care of it again. I mean, its time, its money, and its going to UPS and FedEx. I mean I dont want that.
PS: The remaining company from which we ordered was Menguin, of course, as we said, also owned by the same holding company as Generation Tux and we were a little bit surprised to see that it came in a Menguin box but the inside of the jacket did have a Generation Tux label so the products are fully integrated at this point.
SRS: Yeah and it was kind of a funny style because we wanted to get a shawl collar style because its also a traditional style. Their understanding was very fashion-forward, like it was extremely slim. They also, the way they ironed it was kind of funny.
PS: Yes, I definitely thought so. Not only were the lapels very skinny to start out with but they were lopsided and kind of mismatched. It looked like the jacket had maybe been sent back to be ironed or pressed one too many times and one of the lapels just looked very strange.
SRS: Yeah so when you ordered on the website, what kind of stuff did they ask you?
PS: They were also not terribly specific with the measurements they asked for. They wanted height, weight, general build, and then my waist size but that was it.
SRS: So no jacket sizing or inseam length?
SRS: Okay, I mean thats a very low standard.
PS: Right! As far as the materials of that one were concerned, it was, again, made from wool. Im not necessarily sure of the grade or the quality of the wool.
SRS: I mean they say super 140s or something but again, you know, it means nothing and it can feel extremely cheap.
PS: Right! And in my personal experience out of the box of the three that we have here, that one definitely felt the cheapest to me.
SRS: Okay, interesting! What do you think about stylistic and fit choices on the Menguin?
PS: I think in a similar fashion to how the lapels were very slim, other details were also slim and small too. For example, again, it had side vents but they were very short vents in the back and the jacket itself was also on the shorter side.
SRS: Well, typically, its something that you do on a less expensive jacket because a shorter vent means it gaps less no matter what the bum size is so its just a easy way to hide certain things but its not the proper way to do it.
PS: And additionally again, the sleeves on that jacket had no buttons either.
SRS: I guess thats what they do. They may adjust the length of the sleeves to get it right and so they cant really put buttons on without damaging the rest of the fabric.
PS: That would make sense.
SRS: I think it also had that galon strip sewn in in a weird way and overall, it was rather slim so if you like a slim fitting tuxedo, it was probably the slimmest of the bunch and it was also on the shorter side, in terms of length, but if it would have been longer, I think maybe would have bunched up.
PS: Yes, I think so. Specifically in regard to the trousers, they were definitely on the short side almost kind of an ankle level but because of how narrow the opening was, if they had been any longer, they probably would have puddled in an unattractive way around my shoes.
SRS: So what do you say, whats the rating for this one?
PS: This one, I think I would probably just say a 1. In addition to not necessarily liking quite how it looked in terms of the styling and also how it felt, the construction felt like it was lacking a little bit. I did find some loose threads, it was just a cheap experience, overall, I would say. So I wouldnt rank it any higher than a 1.
SRS: And I also think you know, this kind of tuxedo, you can buy off of eBay, right? Sometimes, they sell rental tuxedos or new tuxedos and sometimes you get a really great quality for you know 50, 70, 80 bucks. I remember on my wedding day, my best man didnt have one so rather than renting him one, I just bought him on eBay for 100 bucks, 50 bucks in tailoring, and he looked pretty presentable. If you look at the waistband of all those pants, theyre all very adjustable which makes sense for a rental. You wouldnt have that on your personal tux but I think I would like some suspender buttons because if something is too wide, having the buttons will make sure it stays at the same level all day long.
PS: Right, again, I was a little bit more impressed with the offering from The Black Tux. It does have suspender buttons, of course, theres no fish tail in the back. Its just a straight waistband all the way around but the buttons are there and also, there are side adjusters on this pair of trousers, as well. So that allows for a little bit more of a zeroing in on fit. Whereas with the Menguin model, there was just a piece of elastic running around the inside of the waistband.
SRS: Oh interesting. Mens Wearhouse also had the side adjusters but no buttons. So yeah, once again Black Tux is more comprehensive than others but on the overall scale, still, just average.
PS: One additional note for the trousers of the Black Tux, they do also have satin around the waistband of the trousers themselves. I think this is more of a modern innovation, if youd like to call it that for guys who would either choose not to wear a waist covering or wouldnt know to wear one. So theres a little element of visual interest there but of course, you should most traditionally wear a waist covering with black tie anyway.
SRS: That means vest or waistcoat or a cummerbund. So its kind of a superfluous feature but I guess thats what these companies do. In terms of boutonnieres, I think the Menguin didnt even have a whole my Mens Wearhouse had one but no like flower holder so you need a little pin to get it there. How about yours?
PS: Same thing here with the Black Tux. This one does have a functioning buttonhole in the lapel but it doesnt have any sort of loop on the reverse to hold the stem. So in terms of a final verdict, how bad were the tuxedos we rented? Overall, they were pretty bad. If you take our ratings and put them all together, thats an average rating of only one and a third out of five. Definitely, not a passing grade!
SRS: Exactly. So even the best out of the bunch, The Black Tux is just three out of five and again, bear in mind, the sleeve length is not right, you know, it may gap. You dont get the buttons and all the details that you want to in a traditional tux. So yeah, if you just want to look good and I think thats the point of wearing black tie formal wear, then renting is your worst option.
PS: Right! I would agree. Rather than going with renting, its probably better to well, if you can afford it, to get something made but even if you dont want to go to that high of a price level, find something vintage or second-hand. Spend a little money having it tailored and youre going to have something that fits you better and you wont have to go through this rigmarole of the renting process.
SRS: Exactly! A great place to start is eBay. I think eBay.co.uk has cool vintage tuxedos but even in the US, you can sometimes find old Polo or old brands like Belvest or Loro Piana. It pays to know your measurements that are ideal for you so you can buy something that is very close to what you want. Especially, areas like the shoulder width where its harder and more costly to do alterations but in that case, I also suggest you check out the video on how a suit should fit because those same things apply to a tuxedo and once you know that and armed with that knowledge, you can then go out and shop and again, if you have more time, you can actually look for a longer period. You can probably get a better bargain and end up with something that ultimately can remain in your closet, doesnt cost much more than a rental, and its still rather convenient.
PS: Yeah. In terms of searching for knowledge, once again, we will say that our Black Tie guide is a comprehensive resource on everything you would want to know for how a tuxedo should fit, how it should be styled, the different hallmarks youll be looking for, its really a one-stop shop for everything you need to know about tuxedos and black tie, in general.
SRS: Yeah and hands-down the most comprehensive guide in the world and Im not saying that bragging, its just what it is. No matter if you buy or rent your tuxedo, upgrading it with some high-end black-tie accessories will always make you stand out from the crowd. That means getting the right bowtie, the right neck size for you that you can untie just like this one or getting the right boutonniere, getting a pair of nice silk socks, a pocket square and everything else that you need including cufflinks and shirt studs, please head over to our shop here where we provide a really extensive selection of Black Tie tuxedo accessories.