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Guys, you only have to do it once

June 2009

Getting dressed up is simpler for men than women. When it comes to tuxedos, guys have to make a big decision once: How many buttons? Then for each special event they need to make sure it still fits and is clean. While tuxedo styles change in terms of the number of buttons, one to three buttons are classic options that always work.

Shirts have changed for the first time in a long time. The standard wing-tip collar, typically worn with a bow tie, has given way to a flat-collared shirt, but still with pleats and sometimes with a white- on-white design. With this style, a regular tie is worn. To make it dressy, choose a black satin tie or one with a dash of silver in it.

Cummerbunds are giving way to the vest, which is king these days – worn with a matching tie. Suspenders aren’t very popular, but they are comfortable and work best at keeping your waistband up if you have bit of a paunch. The effect is smoother – especially when you take off your jacket for all that wild dancing.

Pat Formal Wear Rental, 5425 Verdun. Phone 514-768-9332. The service at this family-owned haberdashery, in business for 62 years, will thrill you. For as low as $79.99, you can rent your tux, shirt, studs, suspenders or cummerbund, tie, hankie and pants. They also sell tuxedos as well as 31 colours of vests and matching ties. Ask about the used tuxedos for $125-$175.

Classy Warehouse Store, 8211 17th (at Jarry). Phone 514-728-6200 or visit This liquidation centre sells discontinued lines and some used rentals. Black jackets cost $50-$75 (white or ivory are $50), pants $25-$40. Complete your outfit with vests ($25), shirts ($9), shoes ($5), ties or suspenders ($2). If you get a last-minute invite to a formal event, they can get you a tux in an hour. Other location: 6768 St. Hubert (upstairs), 514-277-7641.

Boutique Jacques, 5970 Côte des Neiges. Phone 514-737-1402 or visit For the well-dressed man who wouldn’t dream of going “discount shopping,” this boutique concentrates on top-of-the-line men’s domestic and European suits. Tuxedos ($250-$650) are higher-end, too, so the wool will be softer, feel more comfortable and drape better on your body. There is a complete tailor shop on the premises.

Sandra Phillips is the author of Smart Shopping Montreal. You can find money-saving ideas on her shlog at



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