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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Dear Ask Andy Forum Members,

I desperately need some assistance, please. I am trying to find a place that can rent tailcoats for a white tie function. The young men who are renting these are students, and need to watch their pocketbooks. I called Men's Wearhouse and was quoted a price of $139.99. I do not know anything about renting formal wear, as my husband owns everything (full evening dress, dinner jacket, etc.), but that seems rather expensive.

Do you have any advice or input? The location for the event is Northern Virginia, but most participants come from Maryland.


Thank you kindly for your assistance.

Best,
Persephone
 

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Here in Allentown, renting a full set of tails will run you $75-$80 at the most reputable formalwear rental store in the area (C. E. Roth). You would pay an extra $10 for rental shoes.

Obviously, a larger metropolitan area will have higher prices, but $140 seems absurdly high.

I can't point you in the right direction for an actual store, but I thought I'd help out a little with price comparisons.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you, Aaron. I also thought that the price was extremely high. Furthermore, I thought that a national chain would be able to offer a better deal than a small, independently owned business, but perhaps I am wrong....
 

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That price seems about right compared to black tie rentals in this area. I think Men's Wearhouse here was somewhere around $120 for tux w/ shoes, vest, links, etc. Never rented white tie but I would assume it's a bit more costly.

Most malls have a formalwear rental store, I'd check that out as an option. Quality will vary wildly of course.
 

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I know this hasn't been mentioned yet, but if it's an option for some, purchase white tie online on ebay. Depending on what's available from thetuxxman or Tails and the Unexpected, it can be had for that rental price (or less!) quoted in the area. DC is an expensive place to live, so I'd look around online. I've only worn white tie once, but I decided to purchase it instead of renting from the tuxxman. If you email him, he's always willing to put things together in a package and/or negotiate for a price on that package. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I know this hasn't been mentioned yet, but if it's an option for some, purchase white tie online on ebay. Depending on what's available from thetuxxman or Tails and the Unexpected, it can be had for that rental price (or less!) quoted in the area. DC is an expensive place to live, so I'd look around online. I've only worn white tie once, but I decided to purchase it instead of renting from the tuxxman. If you email him, he's always willing to put things together in a package and/or negotiate for a price on that package. Good luck!
Grum,
That is a great idea. Several of the young gentlemen (early 20s) are future military officers, and they always assume that they will be wearing their mess dress uniforms. However, for this event they will be in white tie and tails and perhaps I can convince some that buying might be a better alternative. I only wish there were more places to wear white tie, as that would make the investment seem more worthwhile...

Thank you all for your assistance and advice. I will explore all the options mentioned.
 

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Try calling some of the better hotels in DC (e.g., the Wilbur or the Mayflower) and see if the concierge desk has a recommendation. I'm sure they have guests who forget to bring their formalwear or who need a rental due to a last-minute invitation. I would hope that the Wilbur does not refer its guests to Mens Wearhouse.

Take the recommendations and call the places to see what they charge. If you explain that the event is for students, they may even cut you a break in the hope that the students will become repeat customers.
 

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I know this hasn't been mentioned yet, but if it's an option for some, purchase white tie online on ebay. Depending on what's available from thetuxxman or Tails and the Unexpected, it can be had for that rental price (or less!) quoted in the area. DC is an expensive place to live, so I'd look around online. I've only worn white tie once, but I decided to purchase it instead of renting from the tuxxman. If you email him, he's always willing to put things together in a package and/or negotiate for a price on that package. Good luck!
I had a look at thetuxxman's e-store, and the white tie ensembles shown all had vests that extended far below the jacket... ?
 

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Dear Ask Andy Forum Members,

I desperately need some assistance, please. I am trying to find a place that can rent tailcoats for a white tie function.
Hi Persephone. I'd suggest that you consider calling these two places, both in D.C.

Scogna Formal Wear
1908 L St NW
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 296-4555

Sauro Custom Tailoring
1105 1/2 19th St NW
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 296-0748

Although I've never used either, my understanding is that they each have a great deal of experience in renting tailcoats and accessories for use at diplomatic and other Washington-area events. Also, another option for the young men would be to rent the tailcoats, but purchase the accessories (since at least some can be used with black tie). Joseph Banks sells some of the accessories, and I'm sure they could be had on sale:

https://www.josbank.com/IWCatProduc...d=1&Section_Id=6000&pcount=&Product_Id=480736

and

https://www.josbank.com/IWCatProduc...d=1&Section_Id=6000&pcount=&Product_Id=480776

and

https://www.josbank.com/IWCatProduc...d=1&Section_Id=6000&pcount=&Product_Id=228872

and

https://www.josbank.com/IWCatProduc...Id=1&Section_Id=6000&pcount=&Product_Id=85525

Brooks Brothers sells all of the accessories, but prices are higher:

https://www.brooksbrothers.com/IWCa...erchant_Id=1&Section_Id=235&viewAll=t&sortBy=
 

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Hi Persephone. I'd suggest that you consider calling these two places, both in D.C.

Scogna Formal Wear
1908 L St NW
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 296-4555

Sauro Custom Tailoring
1105 1/2 19th St NW
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 296-0748

Although I've never used either, my understanding is that they each have a great deal of experience in renting tailcoats and accessories for use at diplomatic and other Washington-area events. Also, another option for the young men would be to rent the tailcoats, but purchase the accessories (since at least some can be used with black tie). Joseph Banks sells some of the accessories, and I'm sure they could be had on sale:

https://www.josbank.com/IWCatProduc...d=1&Section_Id=6000&pcount=&Product_Id=480736

and

https://www.josbank.com/IWCatProduc...d=1&Section_Id=6000&pcount=&Product_Id=480776

and

https://www.josbank.com/IWCatProduc...d=1&Section_Id=6000&pcount=&Product_Id=228872

and

https://www.josbank.com/IWCatProduc...Id=1&Section_Id=6000&pcount=&Product_Id=85525

Brooks Brothers sells all of the accessories, but prices are higher:

https://www.brooksbrothers.com/IWCa...erchant_Id=1&Section_Id=235&viewAll=t&sortBy=
Actually JAB formalwear stuff goes on sale rarely, so you could just get the 20% off corporate discount.
 

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Brooks Brothers sells all of the accessories, but prices are higher:

https://www.brooksbrothers.com/IWCa...erchant_Id=1&Section_Id=235&viewAll=t&sortBy=
Again with the vest extending two or three inches below the jacket!!!!!

My concerns would be:

(1) You'd have to pull the vest - adjustable tho it may be - right up to your chest to get the lower edge into proper position vis-a-vis the lower edge of the jacket.

(2) Is the the jacket itself cut so high that pulling the vest up into proper position would leave an unsightly gap - trouser waistband showing?

(Disclaimers: Not criticising T.'s post; and, the BB tails shown are for sale not rent - but speaks to white tie usage in general. As in, for example "No, the vest is supposed to show far below the jacket, I saw it in a BB catalog ..." Just ugh.)
 

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Have you considered these?

It looks like Men's Wearhouse has the formal wear trade pretty much all "sewed up" in that general area, but here are a couple of independents that you might look into, if you haven't and it's not too late for that:

Hoffman Clothiers, 15 N. Potomac Street, Hagerstown MD 21740, 301-739-0700 https://www.hoffmanclothiers.com/

Classic Tuxedos, Winchester Station, 2512 S. Pleasant Valley Rd.,Winchester VA 22601 https://www.classictuxedos.net/

Not sure whether either has white tie, though.

As for buying: At this stage, I wouldn't recommend it, as these young gentlemen will need to progress a bit further in their lives to determine whether that would be a smart move. If, as you say, many will be going into the service, dress mess, or just the wearing of black bow tie with their dress uniforms, would cover them for most occasions. Since there is a war on, actually two, the service regs will probably allow them to continue wearing their uniforms beyond their terms of service, as I do. Of course that would be to "appropriate events" and would not fill the bill if they were in a civilian wedding party, say, where their outfits would be prescribed by the groom.

Probably better to rent now and wait until they can afford something really nice, having determined that they will get enough wear out of white tie to justify that expense. Usually, I advise buying a tuxedo rather than renting, but that would not apply here, and wearing white tie is getting rarer, unless one is a member of a group that specifies that for meetings (Catholic orders, e. g.) and/or events.

It occurs to me that the Washington area is not too distant, and the formal wear places there would be more likely to carry white tie. Here's two:

M. Stein & Co., 1900 M St., NW, Washington DC 20036, 202-659-1434 https://mstein.com/index.html

Scogna Formal Wear, 1908 L St., NW, Washington DC 20036, 202-296-4556

Late Breaking News: Actually, I was surprised to note that Jos. A. Banks now has a black tailcoat at a ridiculously low price of $169 (instead of $395) as a separate, which can be paired with their trousers ($79) for a total of $248. Astounding! Their quality is pretty good. Not up to Brooks Bros., but serviceable. The white pique vest, wing collared shirt, and tie can probably be bought used locally from a rental place pretty reasonably. There's a store in Frederick at Westview Promenade, 5259 Buckeystown Pike, 301-695-3725, and they can direct the guys to nearby stores, if they get the "white tie bug."
 

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I'd also suggest a formalwear shop. I recall asking recently in a very non-metropolitan area and was quoted something in the range of $100-110 without shoes. $140 doesn't seem too far off. (They do have to do SOME modifications to the tailcoat, and pants.)

On the other hand, I have the Jos. A. Bank outfit and it is fairly nice, much better than typical rental grade body armor.

It's good to know some young people are being educated in formal attire. Let us know how it goes.

pbc
 
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