It's that time of year again.

The time where many a young men start looking to rent their "tuxes" ahead of time for prom. A time where many young women are trying to buy the best dress they can on a limited budget.

A woman's figure tends to make many things look good. Even if they are gifted with less than a supermodel ideal, they generally get good advice from others on how to bring out their best aspects and minimize the not-so-best.

Why do the guys not get similar attention? Like many things in menswear now, it just isn't considered as important as it used to be. (If you don't believe me, just look at wedding planning shows where the guys are shoved aside to rent cheap looking tuxedos while the bride is treated to a white gown priced in the thousands.) Putting on that black bow tie and dinner jacket used to be an exciting thing, a sure sign of good times for the night ahead. Now it's treated as a costume, an expected inconvenience that may as well have some "edgy" personal touches if it must be worn. Problem is, those costumes will look like just that in a few years when you go through photos, the usual reaction being, "Oh God, what was I thinking?!"

Gentlemen, I'm here to help you look like the definition of that word. You can look like a million bucks for your date, your friends, and most importantly yourself by following just five steps to prom attire sophistication:
  1. Read the Black Tie Guide. It will help guide you to a classic dinner suit and provides an education of the rich history behind it. Even though rental places carry a lot of trendy or bizarre "tuxedos" these days, there can be a few decent options if you look around. Men's Wearhouse carries one button shawl and peak lapel jackets, for example.
  2. Shave. This is not the time to be sporting fashionable stubble or "starting to grow out a beard" a few days before prom. Your date will be less likely to kiss you (unless they like the feel of sandpaper against their cheek) and it's at odds with the formality of a black bow tie and dinner jacket. If you actually manage to sport full facial hair in high school, congrats! Keep it well-groomed if that's the case. No neckbeards.
  3. Get a haircut and style it. Even if you have long hair, getting rid of split ends can make all the difference. Do it just a few days before the prom and make sure you use some hair product. Try to avoid stuff like fauxhawks, spikes, or the bedhead look. Don't be shy in asking advice from your barber or stylist.
  4. Don't match your date. This whole idea of matching a female date's dress colour is a relatively recent "innovation" created by the formal rental industry. If anything, the corsage and boutonniere should match, though others argue just having coordinating colours is better.
  5. Wear a pocket square. Not only does a white pocket square add a dashing touch, it's plenty functional. Think about the sweat you'll work up on the dance floor. If you don't want the one in your breast pocket to be anything more than decoration, keep another in your back trouser pocket... just in case. It's better to save your money for a cheap package of cotton handkerchiefs found at any department store than rent one of the non-functional silk ones, which you'll be able to keep after prom for future events.
Bradley Cooper mars an otherwise great look by not shaving for a week.
If you've read the Black Tie Guide, you'll see how fun it can actually be to dress like one of the old Hollywood greats on the red carpet.

I hope everyone has a great time at their prom and good memories for years to come. If you're graduating high school and prom is your last hurrah, good luck in your future endeavours.

Lastly, if anyone has good examples of well attired young men on prom night, please share them. This young lad just nails it. Kudos to him or whoever aided him in getting this tasteful white tie rig.

Extra points for the waistcoat being no longer than the coat fronts.


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