Dress Up Tomorrow
Being New Year’s Eve, tomorrow is a great opportunity to put on a tuxedo if you’ve ever wanted an excuse to wear one. So few men get to wear tailored clothing nowadays, but the ringing in of a new year is one of the few times almost anyone can dress in the most classic of tailored clothes - the tuxedo. 
The Platonic ideal for a tuxedo involves a single- or double-breasted jacket with peak or shawl lapels. The single-breasted can be worn unbuttoned, but requires that the exposed waistband be covered up by a cummerbund or dress vest. The double-breasted model, on the other hand, doesn’t require a waist covering, but it needs to be buttoned when standing and unbuttoned when seated, so it can be a bit of a hassle. Either way, both ought to be accompanied by a white shirt, black bow tie, and pair of black shoes. The white shirt ideally should have a bib or pleated front, and be closed with studs instead of buttons; the black shoes ought to be formal black pumps, though highly polished black oxfords will also do. Of course, at this point in the game, it’s too late to acquire a tuxedo if you don’t already have one. Jesse and Kiyoshi have written extensive guides on how to wear black tie (and acquire what you need on a budget), should you want to prepare for next year.
For those who don’t have the goods or the opportunity to wear black tie, I’d suggest still dressing up. Try breaking out a dark navy suit – again, single- or double-breasted – with peak or notch lapels. Choose a more formal looking shirt, such as a white one with French cuffs, and accent it with some nice cufflinks. Put on a pair of freshly polished black captoe oxfords, place a neatly folded white linen pocket square in your breast pocket, and choose a tie that will do well at night – such as a black or silver necktie, ideally made from satin so that it’ll reflect a bit of light, or even a black bow tie. 
Use New Year’s Eve as an excuse to wear your best clothes, and your best clothes as an excuse to do something fun.

Dress Up Tomorrow

Being New Year’s Eve, tomorrow is a great opportunity to put on a tuxedo if you’ve ever wanted an excuse to wear one. So few men get to wear tailored clothing nowadays, but the ringing in of a new year is one of the few times almost anyone can dress in the most classic of tailored clothes - the tuxedo. 

The Platonic ideal for a tuxedo involves a single- or double-breasted jacket with peak or shawl lapels. The single-breasted can be worn unbuttoned, but requires that the exposed waistband be covered up by a cummerbund or dress vest. The double-breasted model, on the other hand, doesn’t require a waist covering, but it needs to be buttoned when standing and unbuttoned when seated, so it can be a bit of a hassle. Either way, both ought to be accompanied by a white shirt, black bow tie, and pair of black shoes. The white shirt ideally should have a bib or pleated front, and be closed with studs instead of buttons; the black shoes ought to be formal black pumps, though highly polished black oxfords will also do. Of course, at this point in the game, it’s too late to acquire a tuxedo if you don’t already have one. Jesse and Kiyoshi have written extensive guides on how to wear black tie (and acquire what you need on a budget), should you want to prepare for next year.

For those who don’t have the goods or the opportunity to wear black tie, I’d suggest still dressing up. Try breaking out a dark navy suit – again, single- or double-breasted – with peak or notch lapels. Choose a more formal looking shirt, such as a white one with French cuffs, and accent it with some nice cufflinks. Put on a pair of freshly polished black captoe oxfords, place a neatly folded white linen pocket square in your breast pocket, and choose a tie that will do well at night – such as a black or silver necktie, ideally made from satin so that it’ll reflect a bit of light, or even a black bow tie. 

Use New Year’s Eve as an excuse to wear your best clothes, and your best clothes as an excuse to do something fun.

Seven Things Better Bought Used

It’s sometimes easier to buy new, but there are some things that are pretty much always better bought used. Here’s our list of seven.

  1. Peacoats Every designer in the world has “riffed” on the pea coat, but the original is still the best. The heavy melton wool has protected sailors from the elements on-ship for decades, and it’ll protect you from pretty much anything. Best of all, vintage pea coats are freely available both from local vintage shops and online vendors. I love the ones from the 1940s-1960s, but it’s hard to go wrong. Remember that they’re sized to fit over heavy sweaters, and expect to pay $50-100.
  2. Cufflinks  There was a time when men wore suits, and with them, double-cuff shirts. So just about every man had cufflinks. That time has mostly passed.
    The result is a market glut of links. Go on eBay any day of the week and you’ll find literally thousands of pairs, from costume to fine jewelry… 1970s to 1890s. We prefer double-sided links here at PTO, and you’ll find plenty at any estate jeweler or vintage seller. Try Edwardian eight-carat gold, or enamel from the Art Deco era. Or grab yourself a cheap pair of Swank novelty links from the 1960s. Get some shirt studs while you’re at it. They’ll all be much cheaper on the second-hand market than new.
  3. Formal Wear  Unlike most men’s styles, formal wear has remained largely static since it was codified at the beginning of the 20th century. That means that if you can find a conservatively-styled tuxedo from almost any era, it will be right at home today. The bonus: it’ll probably be better-made than all but the finest new equivalents. With a bit of diligence, you can find a great tuxedo for a hundred dollars or less.
  4. Knock-Around Ties  Once you have a basic wardrobe of ties - a few solids, a few basics - you’ll find yourself wishing for novelty. Unless you’re shopping the highest end of the market, you’ll find plenty of functional ties at your local consignment or thrift stores for pennies on the dollar. Get a sense of the difference between a fine tie and a poor one, and don’t settle for less than decent… but once you’ve done that, go wild. There’s no shame in a necktie wardrobe filled out at $10 each, rather than $100.
  5. Watches A fine watch is a status symbol these days, when most men just wear a thirty-dollar quartz model on their wrist. Luckily, there’s a vintage option for almost any budget. Handsome mechanical watches from lesser-known brands are easily available for $50 or so second-hand. You can buy a beautiful Longines or Hamilton for a hundred or two. Kick it up to five hundred and there’s a pile of gorgeous Omegas within your grasp. And of course if you bump it into the thousands, there are many more choices, almost all for less than new.
    Try paging through the buy-and-sell forums of watch enthusiast communities like WatchUSeek and TimeZone, or visit a reputable jeweler in your town. Heck - if you’re buying something cheap, just take a flier on eBay. No matter what, you’ll get a more distinctive piece at a better price.
  6. Cashmere Sweaters  For a variety of reasons, cashmere’s gone downhill in the last twenty years or so. The good stuff has a smoother, tighter, denser finish… and you’ll only find it second-hand. The good news is that second-hand cashmere knits rarely go for more than $50-100 each. If it’s in good shape (be diligent), it can literally last a lifetime.
  7. Hats Men’s hats have declined precipitously not just in popularity, but also in quality. Low-end hats from the middle of the last century are as good as the high-end hats you’ll buy in a department store today. There are a few fine makers left, mostly making custom hats, but even once-fine brands like Borsalino and Stetson now make mediocre, expensive products. Vintage hats, though, are inexpensive, freely available (another supply/demand thing) and often of very fine quality. Great hats effortlessly hold their shape without being stiff, and feel fine to the hand. Expect to pay between $50 and $200 for something really good.

(Thanks to PTO twitter followers @D_Lippy, @frivmo, @voxsartoria, @platypusjones, @prairie_oysters, @SkySwartout, @HoffM, @TheMikeSwartz, @TheS_P500 and more for your ideas!)

Photos: Peacoat by Resheie54 , Cufflinks Simon James, Tux Stephen Depolo, Watch Guy Sie, Ties Brian Johnson, Cashmere Stolte-Sawa Hat David D

Jerry Seinfeld tells Tom Papa that tuxedos are not to be trusted.

It’s On eBay
Henry Poole & Co. Tuxedo
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw this coat on the rack. Henry Poole? Really? But there were no trousers. That meant an absolutely frantic search through the pants rack… and paydirt. 
Henry Poole & Co. invented the tuxedo in the late 19th century as a more casual dinner suiting for their client the Prince of Wales. After an American saw it and ordered one for himself, which he wore for dinner in the Tuxedo Club in New York, the tuxedo was born. 
This thing is in perfect shape and it’s absolutely beautiful. It’s a couple inches short for my 42L frame, but if you’re a 42R or maybe even a 42S, you could have a piece which cost $3000-4000 for a tenth of that. It’s a piece you can genuinely wear for life.
Starts at $390 on eBay

It’s On eBay

Henry Poole & Co. Tuxedo

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw this coat on the rack. Henry Poole? Really? But there were no trousers. That meant an absolutely frantic search through the pants rack… and paydirt.

Henry Poole & Co. invented the tuxedo in the late 19th century as a more casual dinner suiting for their client the Prince of Wales. After an American saw it and ordered one for himself, which he wore for dinner in the Tuxedo Club in New York, the tuxedo was born.

This thing is in perfect shape and it’s absolutely beautiful. It’s a couple inches short for my 42L frame, but if you’re a 42R or maybe even a 42S, you could have a piece which cost $3000-4000 for a tenth of that. It’s a piece you can genuinely wear for life.

Starts at $390 on eBay

thesilentist:

I just purchased this midnight blue dinner suit on eBay. Including shipping, the total cost to me will be under $100.
Once it arrives, I’ll have a full write up on the whole “buying a tuxedo” experience, but if you want a tip, then I suggest going to the eBay UK site and searching for “dinner suit” rather than “tuxedo.” You tend to find better results, imho.

If you don’t want to have to rent a tuxedo the next time you need one, then buy one now. Not when you hear you need one. That should give you plenty of time to put together the pieces for a very, very reasonable price through eBay, thrifting, outlets or sales. If you go shopping for something you need now, you’re ceding 80% of your shopping power to the store.

thesilentist:

I just purchased this midnight blue dinner suit on eBay. Including shipping, the total cost to me will be under $100.

Once it arrives, I’ll have a full write up on the whole “buying a tuxedo” experience, but if you want a tip, then I suggest going to the eBay UK site and searching for “dinner suit” rather than “tuxedo.” You tend to find better results, imho.

If you don’t want to have to rent a tuxedo the next time you need one, then buy one now. Not when you hear you need one. That should give you plenty of time to put together the pieces for a very, very reasonable price through eBay, thrifting, outlets or sales. If you go shopping for something you need now, you’re ceding 80% of your shopping power to the store.

(Source: thesilentist)