This page will address the question of whether you should rent or buy a tuxedo. For those of you short for time: there’s a case to be made for both, but generally we advise buying if you can afford it.
Tuxedo rentals are, more often than not, part of the process of a wedding. We strongly advise you to peruse our guide to weddings for in-depth information and tips on what to wear based on the season of you wedding.
You may read each section of this page, or feel free to skip right to the part that interests you most:
How Much Does It Cost To Rent A Tuxedo?
Typically, the cost is anywhere from $150-$400, but rental prices vary greatly depending on the brand name (a Calvin Klein rental might be cheaper than a Joseph Abboud, which might be cheaper than a Ralph Lauren rental, etc.).
More often than not, this price also includes everything else in the ensemble: shirt, shoes, studs, and cufflinks. As such, there’s a fair amount of value in that price tag.
If you happen to be a groom, it’s likely that it will cost you nothing if you get enough groomsmen to pony up for their tuxedos, but this depends on the store you rent from.
How Does Tuxedo Rental Work?
Again, this depends on the store you patronize, but in most cases, it’s a six-step process:
- Decide On A Store: There are many tuxedo rental options around, especially if you live in or near a big city. If you don’t have access to these, big brands like Men’s Wearhouse offer online options.
- Select Style: Chances are a book will be set in front of you with hundreds of different options, ranging from black to grey to blue and brown, various button stances, and different shirts and shoes. You’ll have a lot of decisions to make, so either have a good idea as to what you want, or consult a friend whose opinion you trust.
- Get Measured: In a store, a salesperson or tailor will take your measurements. These measurements will be used to put you into a pre-existing garment that most closely approximates your body, and basic alterations to sleeve and trouser length will be made. Any alterations that can’t be undone will not be done, so it’s important to manage your own expectations and know that a rented tux will not fit you perfectly even though measurements are taken.
- Place Order: You give someone money, they order you a tuxedo.
- Wear Tux: The tux arrives and you wear it to your event. While it’s understandable that spills and even small seam rips may occur, note that cigar or cigarette burns or other major damage will likely result in you having to pay for the garment. So, have a great time, just be careful about the vices you choose to partake in.
- Return Tux: Either drop the tux off at the store or mail it back the day after your event.
What Is The Cost Of Buying A Tux?
If you choose to purchase a tuxedo, the cost will generally start at around $600 for ready-to-wear and can go as high as you can imagine if you buy bespoke. Tuxedos are almost always more expensive than suits in a similar quality class because of the added production cost of the satin or grosgrain facings.
Note that the price corresponds only to a jacket and trousers. You will spend more money on a shirt, shoes, and accessories if you go this route, unless you already own acceptable substitutions.
How To Buy A Tuxedo
If you’re buying off the rack, you simply go to a store that sells tuxedos and work with a salesperson as you would if you were buying a suit. There are also plenty of online options. Be sure that they offer tuxes with correct details (see our black tie guide for everything you need to know on that front), and have a great tailor at your disposal for the alterations that will be inevitable.
Made-to-measure tuxedos are a great way to get an excellent fit while not paying for full custom. You also get to select fabric and choose aesthetic details, thus giving more personalization to your tuxedo. Though it’s tempting to be like a kid in a candy store in these situations, keep the non-standard details to a minimum, as you will have this for years and want a certain timelessness to the garment.
Fully custom and bespoke tuxedos are the epitome of semi-formal garments. If you go these routes, you will pay a premium for excellent fabric, top-notch construction, multiple fittings to achieve excellent fit, and best-in-class customer service.
The Case For Renting Vs Buying A Tux
Below: Mike in a tuxedo he purchased.
As we said above, we generally advise buying a tuxedo. This is particularly true if you attend at least one black tie event a year, as rental prices will add up over time and you’ll actually save money (and time and hassle) in the long run if you buy.
On the other hand, if you never attend black tie functions and are a groomsman in your buddy’s wedding, rent. This is also true if you’re headed to prom or if your young son is going to be involved in a wedding as, say, a ring bearer. Either way, these bodies are not yet done growing and it would be a waste of money to buy an expensive garment that they’ll definitely grow out of.
Conclusion: Depends On Lifestyle & Budget
Let your lifestyle, budget, and sartorial needs decide whether it makes sense for you to rent or buy. Either way, be a gentleman in your tuxedo. Manners and etiquette are the most powerful accessories of them all.
If you’re looking for other information on tuxedos, see the rest of our tuxedo series: