The rental tux is dying -- and that's a fantastic thing for men's formal wear

Tuxedo RentalsGetty / Spencer PlattRental tuxedos on display.

Rental tuxedos have a deservedly bad reputation. They’re often derided as frumpy, ill-fitting, dated, and sometimes even frayed or stained.

Here’s the good news: You’re going to start seeing less and less of them.

According to Bloomberg, Men’s Warehouse tuxedo rentals fell 2.8% last quarter. And changes in the culture surrounding weddings are affecting the way we procure tuxedos for special events.

Though I wish the rental tuxedo’s slow death was on account of men taking my advice, it’s actually due to a variety of factors, as Bloomberg’s Kyle Stock reports.

  • People are getting married less and later than ever before. “There are indicators that the overall wedding business is slowly shrinking due to shifting cultural attitudes toward traditional weddings,” said Men’s Wearhouse chief executive Douglas Ewert.
  • Black-tie is no longer the norm. When people do have weddings, the affairs are less formal. Increasingly, destination, beach, and farm weddings have become more popular than traditional black-tie events.
  • There have been disruptors to the market. Online tuxedo rental companies like The Black Tux have completely changed the way men rent tuxes, with offerings that often look much better and are shipped straight to the customer with their exact measurements.
  • You’re not really saving that much money. Online purveyors have narrowed the cost gap between renting and buying a tux to such a degree that many men are opting to buy their own. Stock notes that one company, Combatant Gentleman, even sells tuxedos for $US200.

All of this is fantastic news for weddings and wedding photographers. The truth is that a traditional rental tuxedo usually looks more like a costume than actual formal wear. Because they’re tailored to fit as many people as possible, they in actuality fit no one.

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