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Time to Dress the Manther

January 10, 2011

Oof. You guys, dressing Mr. Panther is trickier than I thought it would be. I think I need to hang up a sign somewhere that says, “WEDDING BLOGS ARE NOT REAL LIFE.” I need to hang it up and look at it every chance I get.

See, before we decided between suits and tuxedos, I knew one thing: I wanted Mr. Panther to be in a slim-fit style. I saved this photo from the wedding that inspired our color palette, and I’ve been basing everything off that:


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As I learned later, this isn’t even a full-on slim-fit suit. See how wide the lapel is? Your typical slim suit usually has a much narrower one. But anyway, this was what I wanted: narrow-cut pants hemmed to the ankle, high notch lapel, very slim jacket, white shirt and black tie, blah blah blah.

As I did more research, I amended this to a slightly skinnier black tie and a narrower lapel, like this:


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This kind of look is all over the blogosphere, so it must be easy to find, right? Right?! Oh. No.

Originally, Mr. Panther planned to buy. We wanted to make sure the suit fit perfectly. He said he wanted something really nice, so I suggested that if he was going to spend some dough, he should probably go with a regular black suit, so that he’d be more likely to wear it again. He disagreed. He wanted to look special and stand out from the groomsmen. He wanted a satin lapel and satin stripes on the pants and that kind of thing, like this:


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OK, fine with me. So, we started looking. My first suggestion was the skinny suit mecca: J. Crew. Have you guys seen how handsome Mr. Ribbons looked in his J. Crew suit?

But Mr. Panther was resistant. He wanted a suit made by some well-known men’s suit maker, not by “a store in the mall.” He’s such a snob! I argued and argued, and finally dragged him into a store, but he didn’t like how the jacket fit. And then we realized that their tuxes only come in peaked and shawl lapels. All right, Mr. Panther. You’re off the hook for now.

After some Googling, I somehow ended up at this gorgeous Hugo Boss tux:


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Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner! It came with a hefty-hefty-hefty price tag, but since Mr. Panther wanted something special, he figured he’d just make it work.

Fast-forward a couple months to this past weekend. Mr. Panther and I are ready to start really looking at tuxes, and when the reality of spending almost $1000 on a tux hits him, Mr. Panther starts having second thoughts. Sigh. After I begged and begged, he agreed to at least try the Hugo Boss tux on. We headed over to Bloomingdales, and of course, it was stunning. Mr. Panther was feeling cranky about the price tag and wouldn’t let me take a picture, but trust me. It was a wonderful, wonderful piece of clothing.

But Mr. Panther just couldn’t fathom shelling out that kind of dough, so we moved on. Next up was Kenneth Cole, where Mr. Panther fell in love with a basic black suit for just $300. This one, he let me take pictures of.


Personal photo – Please ignore the sneakers.

I mean, it’s fine. It fits him well and he looks very handsome. But in my opinion, there’s nothing special about it. It seems well-made, but the fabric isn’t very nice (it’s polyester, not wool). And of course, since it’s not a tuxedo, there’s no satin lapel, or fancy pants stripes. I know, I know, it sounds like I’m being overly picky. And I’m the one who suggested he just go with a basic black suit in the first place. But after thinking about the satin lapels for six months, and after spending a lot of time gazing at my ballgown, I’ve convinced myself that the man needs a tux.

Apparently, the Kenneth Cole slim collection did have a notch lapel tux at one point, but they must not make it anymore. We found it on Overstock.com, but not in Mr. Panther’s size.

So … we kept looking. We tried Macy’s, Nordstrom, Men’s Wearhouse and everywhere in between. Nothing was quite right. It seems slim-fit, notched-lapel tuxedos just don’t exist for under $800. Mr. Panther’s mom suggested he reconsider renting. I wasn’t feeling very optimistic, but I agreed that it was an option we needed to at least look into.

Our last stop was Bridals by Lori, where I got my dress. They both rent and sell tuxedos, so we figured we’d check out their retail and rental options. When we explained what we were looking for in a rental, the sales associate directed us to a Joseph Abboud tux. They said it was the slimmest fitting tux they had, and also the best quality.

This photo makes it look all right, and it was a nice tux. But it just wasn’t what we were looking for. Look how miserable Mr. Panther looks in it! He was feeling very disappointed, because he knew that the rental thing just wasn’t going to work out. The sales associate assessed our pitiful faces, and asked what was wrong. I admitted that I was comparing everything to the Hugo Boss tux, which we couldn’t afford. While Mr. Panther was getting dressed, the sales associate conferred with his manager.

When we came back up from the dressing room, the manager told us that while they did not carry the Hugo Boss slim collection, since most consumers were looking for a more traditional fit, she could order it. Their price was $795, and they’d take off $150 because I’d bought my dress there. This bought the price down to $645. Still not cheap, but this is our wedding day. We can make room in the budget for that. The one problem?

The slim-fit tuxedo that Bridals by Lori has in their catalog isn’t the same one Mr. Panther tried on at Bloomingdales. Gah!

The Hugo Boss tux that Mr. Panther tried on is the “Aikin/Hollo” style. The tux that Bridals by Lori has in their system is the “Stars/Glamour” style. Here it is:


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What’s the difference, you ask? Yeah, my thoughts exactly. Well, here’s what I’ve found:

  1. The “Aikin/Hollo” has a slightly shorter jacket.
  2. The “Aikin/Hollo” has narrow-cut trousers, while the “Stars/Glamour” has straight-cut trousers.
  3. The “Aikin/Hollo” has regular black buttons, while the “Stars/Glamour” has fabric covered buttons.
  4. The “Stars/Glamour” has pointier lapels.

There must be more than that, but that’s all I can tell from the internet.

The plan is this: The manager at Bridals by Lori will get in touch to see if they can get the “Aikin/Hollo,” and if so, what the price would be. Meanwhile, Mr. Panther and I will try to find the “Stars/Glamour” tux in a store so he can try it on.

And then, hopefully, we’ll have a conclusion. Stay tuned for that!

Hey, have you any of you guys found slim-fit tuxedos? WHERE?! Got any tuxedo-hunting horror stories to share?

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