Black Tie.

After all these years I’ve never worn a tuxedo. Not even for prom.

Both of them.

Never, until I was asked by my friend Chris to work for him at the biggest prom of them all: The Oscars. My duties were relatively minimal. The hardest of them, it turns out, was procuring the proper attire. 

I like to clean up, when given the opportunity. Unfortunately, unless you’re willing to drop close to a grand on a tux (which believe me, I considered) at the low end, you’re options are limited to renting or borrowing.

Los Angeles is a fashionably casual city, in nature. Most men here dress like they’re 17, well into their 40’s. Which makes finding a friend with much more than a sport coat to borrow, near to impossible. Ironically, the first person I had a chance to borrow from was my cousin, who only last year graduated from college. Like his grandfather, he is a true sartorialist. Also like his grandfather he has a 29” waist, and unless I wanted to spend 11 breathless hours on the red carpet, I was going to have to pass up his beautiful Calvin Klein tux.

Which led me to the Friar Tux rental shop. It is amazing how badly they want you to go home with a teal waistcoat and matching bow tie. As a side note why are there no rental places in all of LA that carry anything remotely tailored? Is that a dumb question? Anyway, we found passable fare, rented and returned to Chris’s to put it all together.

After a fun evening of learning to tie a bow tie, putting it all on and mirror checking I returned the rental to its hanger where it would lay in wait for the big day. As I was packing up, Chris who is my same suit size suggested I try on the tux our mutual friend had offered him earlier in the week. It belonged to her father, a classy and worldly gentleman.

"Try it on. I was swimming in it. It’ll be hilarious."

It was…

It fit. And vintage, no less.

A man should look as though he has chosen his clothes with intelligence, put them on with care and then forgotten all about them.

-Sir Hardy Amies

A lofty aim. But I tried.

As a footnote, the one purchase for the event was the tie. It is a beautiful black silk bowtie from Hugo Boss. Not one of them clip-on jammies from the costume shop that makes you feel like you’re working valet.  I am happy to report that I can now list the ability to tie a bow-tie under my special skills. Makes me feel one step closer to 007. Now I just gotta work on my water skiing.