In case you didn't know, your prom date started thinking about her dress approximately five years ago. Okay, maybe we're exaggerating. A little. The point is that girls put a lot of effort into looking good for prom. The least you can do is learn how to put on cuff links. Here's the deal. You need a really good excuse not to wear a tuxedo to prom. As in, "my school has a no tux policy" or "I'm dangerously allergic to wool." Trust us when we tell you that your date will expect you to wear a tux. Moreover, every other guy will be wearing a tux. Prom is as much about tradition as it is about getting your parents to ignore your curfew. Everyone involved will be much happier if you give into tradition and put on black tie attire for the big night.
There is a lot you can learn about tuxedo styles. Center vent, non-vented, two-button, three-button, more buttons, shawl lapel, notch lapel, cummerbund, vest, bowtie, Euro tie, four-in-hand tie, studs, cufflinks, and so on. Is your head hurting yet? Worry not. Follow a few basic guidelines and you can't go wrong.
As a general rule, the more buttons a tuxedo jacket has, the more modern it is. One, two, and thee button styles are the most traditional and will look best on most guys.
A notch lapel is the one that looks like a suit. This is the more contemporary look. A shawl lapel is the one that looks like a traditional tuxedo. This is the classic formal look. A peak lapel is like a notch lapel on steroids, with the lower point sticking out farther across the chest of the jacket. This is a very grown up look, though not really a popular one for prom.
A word on tails. Don't wear a tux with tails unless you are comfortable having everyone look at you and comment on the fact that you're wearing a tux with tails. At every prom, there's at least one guy who goes for the all white tux with tails and a top hat. You probably already know who this guy is. He's the same guy who got caught using the principles photocopier to make "unauthorized" copies, if you know what we me mean. If you are not this guy, stick with a black tuxedo without tails.
Tuxedo shirts generally have pleats on the front. This is what you want. Remember, ruffles are bad, pleats are good. More traditional styles have a wing collars. This is the classic tuxedo shirt look. You can also get a tux shirt with a point collar, which is the same collar shirt you would wear with a suit. This is a slightly less formal look, but to some guys it seems more stylish and contemporary. It's really up to you.
You've pretty much got four accessories to worry about: cummerbunds, vest, bowties, and Euroties. A few words on each.
A cummerbund is the traditional choice. The pleats face up. You cannot go wrong with a cummerbund, although it should only be paired with a bow tie.
Vests are the more contemporary choice. They look good with point collar shirts and can be worn with any style tie.
Bowties are the classic neckwear choice. To many people, a tux isn't a tux without a bowtie.
Euroties and four-in-hand ties (you have to tie the latter yourself) are a more modern choice. They look good with vests. These ties make tuxedos look more suit-like and, to some eyes, less formal. They are the popular choice these days, but it you want a traditional look, they may not be the way to go.
Ask your date if she would like you to coordinate your accessories with her dress. This is a nice prom tradition and one worth observing if it will make her happy. Men's Wearhouse tuxedo accessories are available in so many colors, you're almost certain to find one that will complement her dress. If you're going stag or have a date who isn't terribly old fashion, you can pretty much wear any color you want. Black accessories are surprisingly flattering, so if you're stuck don't be afraid to stick with the classics. After all, they became classics for a reason.
Rent tux shoes. Repeat. Rent tux shoes. You may be tempted to wear your own black dress shoes, but you're better off renting the shoes that go with your tux. They just look better. There will always be one guy who wears his sneakers with his tux, but since he's also probably the guy with the white tux and tails, we don't have to worry about him right now.
Rented tuxedos come with studs for the front of your shirt and cufflinks for the cuffs. Use these. If you're not sure how to put them on, ask for a quick lesson when you pick up your tux. These tiny pieces of jewelry add a ton of elegance to your outfit.
You're just about ready. Check out our Build Your Own Tux feature to get a few ideas of your own. Then visit a Men's Wearhouse near you to reserve your tux. Planning for prom can be surprisingly complicated. The experts at Men's Wearhouse can make one part of it a lot easier.