I’m here to bust tropes and chew gum, people. And I haven’t had gum in this house since 2005. Bring on the questions!
You’re looking rather handsome today.
Not technically a question, but I’ll allow it to stand. Yes. Yes I am. You’re rather sponge-worthy yourself.
No one gets that reference. ‘Seinfeld’ hasn’t been on the air in decades and it was cringe-inducing then.
…You had questions?
I did. Is it true that geeks are fat, lazy, and slovenly?
I’m so glad you asked! This is a common misconception that is unfair to the nerdy community. We are no more or less rotund than your average human. We come in all shapes, all sizes. Frankly, that anyone would attach a weight class to a group because they often debate late into the night about which would win in a battle between a Star Destroyer and the starship Enterprise is offensive and you should be ashamed of yourself for asking the question.
Truly, I am. But for completion’s sake, what about the others? Lazy?
See the above answer. Personally, I’m training for a half marathon this month, a Star Wars themed one at that. Plus I write 10-20k words of fiction and non-fiction per month. I also maintain my position as one half of the Karcz Family Taxi service (Our motto: “We’ll pick you up on time or you can call Child and Protective Services on us.”). I wish I had time to be lazy.
Great. How about slovenly?
What’s that now?
I’m sorry, I don’t-
I’m sorry, I’ll restate the question. When you are invited to formal events, what do you wear? Tuxedo print t-shirts don’t count.
Ah-ha-ha! Yes! Right. Those. Well I have…um…
What about black tie events? What are you wearing to that wedding this month?
I. Well I.
Adding a Dr. Who scarf to your tuxedo t-shirt does not count as “black tie.”
I have a somewhat strained relationship when it comes to fashion. I’m the guy who considers having a Star Wars shirt for every day of the week a necessity. I’m the guy that was utterly confused when the WSJ declared cargo shorts a crime against fashion. I’m the guy that owns a single pair of khakis and a pair of brown Doc Martens (that I’ve had since college) in case I have to “dress up.”
So when my wife and I got an invitation to a wedding last month that listed attire as “black tie only,” I had no earthly clue what to wear or where to even start. I didn’t want to buy a suit, since the last time I actually needed one was about 25 years ago when I was interviewing for my first job. And the idea of finding rental outlets in town, getting measured, and figuring out what actually looked good filled me with about as much joy as getting a root canal done by a dentist with palsy using a rusty hand-crank drill.
That was when GeekMom extraordinaire, Shiri Sondheimer, started showing off outfits that she found on Rent the Runway, a formal-wear rental site. I snarkily mentioned how it was nice that those who wore dresses had such lovely options when finding a suit was relegated to places that had “Warehouse” in the title.
That was when Shiri shot me the link for The Black Tux and told me to stop my bellyaching.
The Black Tux is an online formal-wear rental service that works hard to eliminate all the bumps from what is, traditionally, a tedious process. You can either start with a basic suit and add accessories (or if you’re like me, pick an already-accessorized outfit), give them your measurements, then sit back and enjoy a tasty beverage. The suit (or tux) comes to you! Wear it, stun the family at your event who didn’t realize you knew how to dress like an adult, and send it back.
Picking the Suit
This is the part that had me the most nervous. After all, I have no clue what goes together and what does not. Luckily, The Black Tux doesn’t overwhelm you with choices when you’re choosing your base suit or tux. You can accessorize it like crazy once you’ve selected; but initially it’s a painless process. After browsing their extensive collection, I decided to go with a simple grey suit, with some fancy cufflinks, a black tie, belt, and shoes. I could have simplified things even further by skipping right to a curated outfit where all the accessories were chosen for me. My initial choice of a tartan tuxedo was vetoed.
Getting Measurements and Checking the Fit
Once I picked my suit, the site ran me through a series of questions to find out what kind of fit I needed. It followed up by walking me through a series of videos showing me how to take my exact measurements (with the provided tailor’s tape). Two weeks before the wedding, the box arrived in the mail. I tried on the suit, saw that it fit perfectly, and that was it! Even my notoriously stubby limbs were well accommodated. I maybe could have gone a little tighter on the pants and if I’d decided to act on that, it would have been as simple as letting The Black Tux know what didn’t fit. They would have sent the new pair over immediately. If I hadn’t waited until just before the event, I could have used their Home Try-On to check the suit out at home and sent it back with no obligation to rent if I didn’t like it.
Admiring the Threads
Beyond the tailoring, the suit itself was gorgeous. It wasn’t too heavy; but at the same time it wasn’t so thin that it felt cheap. The cotton dress shirt was high quality and didn’t feel scratchy or itchy the way I find some dress shirts. The black satin tie was skinny without being too skinny and complemented the suit nicely. The shoes were buffed to a deep shine (as was the belt) and the cufflinks were a classy touch. Overall it was a far nicer suit than anything I would have chosen on my own and certainly nicer than anything I would have purchased outright.
Knocking ‘Em Dead
To be fair, my main goal for the wedding was simply to not look like an embarrassment when standing next to my drop-dead gorgeous wife. While I had no presumptions that people would notice me before they noticed her, I was pleasantly surprised when I got compliments on the suit. I had more than one person come back and ask me what the name of the site was where I rented it from. I felt comfortable that I was dressed for the occasion and had the rare feeling of being pleased that I was more dressed up than some of those around me. Including my own wedding, I think that’s happened maybe three times in my life.
When the wedding was over, there was no fussing about getting the suit to the dry cleaners or adding the shirt to our ever-growing mountain of laundry. I bagged everything back up in the garment bag it came in, folded it back into its shipping box, and scheduled a FedEx pick up for the next day. Done.
Was It Worth It?
Unequivocally, yes. Rentals start at $95 for the base suit. If you have your own dress shoes and accessories, you can stop there and get a perfectly tailored suit that will have everyone doing a double-take. Everything beyond the jacket and pants will start nudging that price up, meaning that choosing the nuclear option like I did can cost almost double the base. But even if The Black Tux hadn’t comped me the $195 for the rental, I would have considered it first. Being able to get an expertly fit, stylish suit without having to leave the house or spend hours in a men’s formal-wear store (and then having to run around to find a seamstress to tailor it) was worth almost as much to me as the suit itself. Their customer service reps were friendly and accommodating and their rental process is streamlined to perfection. If you’re fashion challenged, and you need formal wear, TheBlackTux.com should be your first stop.
Thanks to The Black Tux for providing a credit to try out their service. Opinions and debonair eyebrows are my own.