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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Gentlemen and ladies,
I have lurked these fora for some time, but have just joined as I need your sage advice.

After a good experience with an MTM suit, I am finally pulling the trigger and buying a tux (admittedly about 15 years overdue). Unfortunately, I remain stuck on one final detail: side vents vs ventless. I have read and re-read the voluminous and excellent discussion here and elsewhere but am still on the fence.

Style-wise, I am going for classic, elegant and to me this suggests the ventless. HOWEVER; I hesitate when I see comments that ventless restricts movement, gets wrinkled easily when sitting and is best for trim body-types as I expect to move, sit for dinner and am not especially trim.

some details: I am a youthful 44 yo, I expect to wear this about 2-3x per year to a variety of events (balls, weddings, BT dinner parties) with primarily American and European attendees. This will be the first tuxedo I own. I am 6', 185lbs reasonably fit with a medium to athletic build (not portly, but not slim waisted for sure - about 36"W and could stand to lose 5 lbs, I wear a 42R in OTR jackets). I will be expected to (and will happily) dance. I have fun at parties and don't fuss on my phone all night (read: hands won't spend much time in and out of pockets). I have never worn a ventless jacket but look good in both single- and double-vented suit jackets.

the ensemble: black SB, peak lapels, grosgrain with all the classic details, flat front trousers, pique bib shirt with English spread turndown collar.

Based on the above, what do you recommend on my vent dilemma? What about the doing shorter side vents (6-8") as a reasonably stylish and functional happy medium? I have never seen this but it could work (or perhaps not?).

Any comments are most appreciated.

Thanks,
Matt
 

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I have nowhere near enough experience with tuxedos to give any specific advice on those, but I do own a number of ventless jackets. None of them feel in any way restrictive or uncomfortable, nor do they attract appreciably more wrinkles than my jackets which do have vents. I'm also sad to have to admit that it's likely been some years since anyone considered me trim....

Other than that, my only contribution is my entirely subjective opinion that in terms of style a ventless tux is very much preferable to one with vents.
 

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Ventless preferred, small side vents OK, particularly on an ivory DJ.

I have small side vents on mine and, even though I am seriously overweight, they don't seem to create a problem.
 

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No vents here as well. If you are going with a peak lapel and grosgrain facing, the vents will look odd. The current BB "tuxedo" has a notch lapel, no facing, and a center vent. Only two features make it look like a tuxedo--it has only one button, satin wrapped.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks Pax. The BB product does not sound like me - I am staying with classic details.

Except - I happen to know a glassblower and am am asking him to make a set of custom but simple black glass studs and cufflinks. If they turn out right I think could make a unique but tasteful addition.

Matt

No vents here as well. If you are going with a peak lapel and grosgrain facing, the vents will look odd. The current BB "tuxedo" has a notch lapel, no facing, and a center vent. Only two features make it look like a tuxedo--it has only one button, satin wrapped.
No vents here as well. If you are going with a peak lapel and grosgrain facing, the vents will look odd. The current BB "tuxedo" has a notch lapel, no facing, and a center vent. Only two features make it look like a tuxedo--it has only one button, satin wrapped.
 

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Thanks Pax. The BB product does not sound like me - I am staying with classic details.

Except - I happen to know a glassblower and am am asking him to make a set of custom but simple black glass studs and cufflinks. If they turn out right I think could make a unique but tasteful addition.

Matt
Sounds very nice. Make sure to post photos when you have the complete rig.
 

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I am in favour of short double vents, approximately 8 inches. There's no point in having vents if they're any shorter. If Savile Row tailors have been making dinner jackets with double vents it for the past 60 years, it's fine with me. If you can't accept double vents, you can't accept the turn-down collar for black tie either, though that convention has been around a few decades longer. If you're planning to go the Edwardian route and wear a detachable wing collar and low-cut waistcoat, then it has to be a ventless jacket. But with the shirt you're getting, there's nothing at all wrong with double vents. I have a ventless dinner jacket, and I find it restricting. It does wrinkle more than other jackets I have. It is my only ventless jacket, so it's probably more comfortable for someone who is used to them.
 

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Another vote for side vents, the length is up to you. I feel pretty fortunate that I can pull off ventless, but my go-to tux has side vents and I don't think twice about 'em. IMO it's not so much skinny or not. If you have anything resembling a belly, or the fashionable description, the "dad bod", then ventless isn't for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Argh! just when I am about to feel good about ventless, the compelling counterpoints arrive- but much appreciated Matt S and Medhat (by the way Go Badgers).

Being indecisive and risk averse as I am, I wonder what is an easier request of a tailor and likely to provide a better result - adding 8" vents to a ventless DJ or closing existing vents?
 

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Argh! just when I am about to feel good about ventless, the compelling counterpoints arrive- but much appreciated Matt S and Medhat (by the way Go Badgers).

Being indecisive and risk averse as I am, I wonder what is an easier request of a tailor and likely to provide a better result - adding 8" vents to a ventless DJ or closing existing vents?
You can't add vents to a closed jacket. There isn't enough material. But vents can always be closed.
 

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I...am still on the fence.
First of all, get down from there before the woman next door has you arrested.

Style-wise, I am going for classic, elegant and to me this suggests the ventless.
Not necessarily. Side vents can look very pleasing, and that's a significant consideration even if they are not strictly traditional at black-tie functions. They enable the back of the jacket to smoothly follow the contours of the wearer's lower back and derrière. (You can tell I'm in a good mood right now. Otherwise I would have said "ass." Or "butt." If I were feeling impish, I would have said "tush" or-if both impish and caffeinated-"tushy.")

Don't yell; I'm not deaf.

I will be expected to (and will happily) dance. I have fun at parties....
Good! You finally seized on the one thing that matters-having fun. You are feeling anxiety because you believe there is one and only one correct way to dress for a black-tie event. Relax. No need for such inflexibility. There certainly are lots of incorrect ways to dress, and nobody here wants you to do that. Still, because it isn't stuck in amber, the category of proper black-tie clothing does allow for a little bit of reasonable variation-and that includes the matter of no vent versus side vents. Either is well within the bounds of tasteful black tie. (Avoid the center vent, though-too businessy.)

Some things to keep in mind:

(a) Nobody, with clipboard in hand, is going to critically examine you, making note of which black-tie conventions you have followed to the letter and which you have flouted. Provided your jacket fits properly, no one will notice or care whether it is vented or not. Except for the pickpockets. They'll give your jacket an appraising eye. But everyone else? They'll be too busy having fun, just like you! Because-
(b) It's about the fun! (Which you already wisely pointed out.)
(c) Don't let the black-tie rig change your brain chemistry. Yes, the clothing will be unfamiliar at first, but don't give it the power to stop you from feeling playful and unpretentious. Because-again:
(d) Fun! It's a party! Dance! Don't take yourself too seriously.

Get all the other details right, and side vents will look and be fine. Especially once all the attendees have some alcohol in their bloodstream.
 

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Being indecisive and risk averse as I am, I wonder what is an easier request of a tailor and likely to provide a better result - adding 8" vents to a ventless DJ or closing existing vents?
Write down the question in the "Notes" feature of your phone. Then don't think about it. Let your phone carry around the question so that your brain doesn't have to. When you see your tailor, take out your phone and read the question aloud to him.

The other-and easier-approach would be to accept what Paxonus told you-and his answer seems pretty good to me. (Just one thing about Paxonus, though-You can safely heed his comments about jacket vents, but if he ever sneaks up behind you and whispers "Wittgenstein's the man"-then run! Run as fast as you can! To me. And I will correctly counsel you as follows: "Wittgenstein was a joke. Let Crazy Guggenheim show you not just the path to enlightenment, but the joy of wearing a mashed-down fedora.")
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thank you for the continued feedback.

Paxonus - thanks for the clarification about closing vs creating the side vents. That is very helpful to know. If I conclude that I cannot pull off the ventless, I will certainly go with 8" vents knowing I can change my mind later with a visit to a tailor.

Charles - thank you for the advice and levity. To be honest, I am not too stressed about being judged, reviewed or fitting a specific black tie standard. Of course I do want to be appropriate but as you point out no one will examine me that closely - I don't run with that crowd and if they did, I would not care. Mostly, I just want to look my best and enjoy myself; if I stand out for looking good, then so be it :). That said, I do see this as an investment and honestly, it is perversely enjoyable to obsess over the details.

Unfortunately (for some reasons at least), I am ordering through a traveling MTM shop that visits my work twice a year so I do not have access to the best personalized service. They did a good job on a suit (my "test garment") so I am going to order the black tie through them, using my measurements on file. I did ask my contact if he thought a ventless would work for my body type and he simply replied that he can do whatever I want.

cdavant - I love midnight blue and did consider it but didn't really have a strong feeling about one over the other. I suppose I opted for black as I saw it as the "default" for a tuxedo. If I expand my black tie wardrobe, I would very likely go with MB. Hmm - once I solve my vent problem perhaps I should re-open the color file...

Best,
Matt
 

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It is perversely enjoyable to obsess over the details.

Well in that case, join the club.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with focusing like a laser beam on details that most other people never even think about-as long as (a) we have enough self-awareness to understand that we are a little different than other people and (b) we are secure enough to accept and-more importantly-enjoy our idiosyncrasies. It looks as though you have (a) and (b) covered. Excellent. Just be careful not to overthink the vents.

P.S. I have no idea why the above comments are in italics. Or why this P.S. is in italics. I'm not trying to be fancy.
 

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You can't add vents to a closed jacket. There isn't enough material. But vents can always be closed.
99.9% of the time this is true. I once thrifted a ventless 15milmil15 E.Zegna suit for the horn buttons and I took it apart to see the construction. Lo and behold the cloth at the bottom of the center back seam was already cut in the amount and shape needed to change it over to a center vent suit if wanted. Now I guess it's possible that someone actually bought a center vented suit and had it closed but It looke to me like the extra cloth had never been sewn before, ie no creases from having had an edge folded over and the lining was pristine in that area also.
 
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