Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Style: 2017 The GQ Guide to Prom (Look)

Look your sharpest on the big night with the perfect tux, shoes, and hair you won't regret when you look at your Instagrams a decade from now


 We say it all the time because we mean it: buy your tux. Why? Because getting something with a modern feel and the perfect fit is the key to looking awesome in black tie, and that's difficult to do in your average stodgy rental.

The best part is there are more affordable—and sharp!—looking options these days for about as much (or a bump more) than what you'd pay for a rental

1. The Slim-Fit Tux
If you want a no-nonsense, slim-fit tux with some edge, go with this one from ASOS. The trim one-button peak-lapel jacket and tapered pants capture classic black-tie swagger in the slickest way, and at a crazy good price.

ASOS jacket, $108, and pants, $58
 2. The Traditional Tux
For the more traditionally minded young gents out there, Alfani's two-button model offers red carpet style for way less than what the Hollywood types are paying (actually, scratch that—they're getting theirs for free).

Alfani jacket, $360, and pants, $135

 3. The Three-Piece
Nothing says formal like a three-piece suit, but what's great about this Savile Row-inspired rig is not only the price, but that, as part of H&M's Conscious collection, it's eco-friendly, too.

H&M jacket, $99, vest, $40, and pants, $60, available at select H&M stores nationwide 
 4. The Unconventional Tux
Topman's suit falls somewhere between a nontraditional tux and an everyday gray suit, which means that not only will it work for the big night, but you can also rock each piece separately. Try the sports jacket with some black jeans; the medium gray trousers will go with everything you own.

Topman jacket, $275, and pants, $120
 5. The Navy Tux
Remember that navy tux that Daniel Day-Lewis slayed the Oscars red carpet with? Here's a prom-ready version that will have just as much impact, and save you a few grand.

ASOS jacket, $160, and pants, $67
 6. The Black Suit
If you're not looking to sink some money into a tux, a black suit can just as easily get gussied up to black-tie levels, as long as you get a suit that fits like a glove. Nailing the fit instantly makes a less expensive suit look one of the big guys'. Then, pair it with a crisp white shirt and slim black tie, with some sheen that mimics a tuxedo lapel.

Calvin Klein jacket, $200, and pants, $90

 7. The Dinner Jacket
Getting prom-ready doesn't mean dropping dough on a whole new rig. With one key piece, you can upgrade the gear you already own to swanky evening levels. Case in point? This dinner jacket that pairs back to a fitted gray or black trouser you probably already have, but looks every bit as elegant as a penguin suit.

Topman dinner jacket, $300

 How to Rent a Tux That Fits

If you have to go the rental route, baller style status is still achievable if you follow some basic principles:

1. Know What You Want
Have a look at the stylish gents from this award season's red carpets and figure out what you like and what you don't. Go into the rental store with some photos to give the salesperson an idea of what you're looking for, so even if it's not exact, you'll get what's right for you, rather than walking out with a turquoise bow tie and cummerbund. 
2. Edit the Store Racks
Look through what the rental shop has to offer in your size and weed out the bad stuff before hitting the dressing room. Any notch lapel wider than three inches immediately looks dated, as does any tux pant that comes with pleats. The rental tux world has started to catch up with the fit game, and brands like Black by Vera Wang offer some sharp cuts. That said, fit is still the bottom line for making a rental look like it came out of your own closet.
 3. Fit is Everything: Jacket
Shoulders. It's simple: The suit's shoulders should fall in line with the top of your own, not halfway down your upper arm. Anything bigger makes you look like you're a linebacker or worse, wearing your dad's jacket. Properly fitted shoulders are the foundation of any tailored jacket silhouette.

Length: Put your arms down at your sides make a fist. At the absolute longest, the jacket should hit your knuckles. If the jacket goes past that, ask the salesman for the same size, but in a short.

Back and Chest: These areas should be snug, but not restricting. You should be able to fist pump with ease.

Stomach: Put your fist between your stomach and the jacket button. If it fits between and there's excess space, it's time to go down a size.

Sleeves: Let your wrist bone be your guide. The tux sleeves should hit at this point, and if you're trying it on with a dress shirt—which you should—about a half-inch of the shirt should fall below that point.
 4. Fit is Everything: Pants
Waist: Tailored pants inherently have longer rises than the slim jeans or khakis you're used to wearing that hit at the hips. These should fall somewhere between the hipbone and your natural waist.

Length: Since the pants are rented, tailoring stops at a shortened hem. Insist on a slight break, where the bottom of the pant grazes the top of the shoe. This will help keep the silhouette long and lean. DO NOT let pants pool on top of your shoes, as that's the fastest way to run sleek into sloppy.
5. Skip the Accessories
Most rental places offer the full tuxedo package and that usually includes shoes and accessories for the full look. We say skip 'em. You might need the tux to be black-tie ready, but the underpinnings and accessories are where you can make a rental all your own. And always say no to the cummerbund. Always.

 The Finishing Touches: Shoes, Shirt, Bow Tie, and More

1. A note on shirts: If you're going the bow tie route, it's time to get a lesson in plackets. That's the strip of fabric on which the button and buttonholes are located on a shirt. In traditional eveningwear, the buttons would be swapped out for studs. The more modern look is to do away with studs all together, and opt for a covered placket that gives everything a sleeker finish.

ASOS shirt, $27, and Kenneth Cole Reaction bow tie, $33, available at Macy's 
 2. And while we're on bow ties, remember that proportion is key, and one that looks oversized next to your collar or lapels can throw the whole look off. Forgo the floppy neck huggers for ones with squared off or pointed edges that look young and fresh

Top to bottom, Brooks Brothers, $60, The Tie Bar, $15, and J.Crew, $55 
 3. Underpinnings hardly have to be by the book. If you want to switch things up, try a white oxford shirt (that you probably already have) and pair it with a graphic-patterned skinny tie. The mix of a refined tux with a textural shirt adds some visual interest and a little downtown edge.

Uniqlo oxford shirt, $30, Express skinny dot tie, $50, and The Tie Bar tie bar, $15
 4. When it comes to shoes, tradition says patent leather is the way to go. And it still is, as long as the shoe has an elongated vamp and is devoid of a square toe. There are plenty of options out there, like this one from Aldo, that add high shine under any trouser hem.

Aldo, $110
5. Of course, lace-ups aren't the only game in town anymore and if there was ever a time to embrace the evening loafer, it's now. These slick slippers add a little playboy panache to any prom getup.

Topman, $110

 6. Don't overlook the small stuff; it's your biggest chance to inject some personality into your prom look. Wearing French cuffs? Swap out heavy hardware cufflinks for some cool silk knots that add visual interest for next to nothing. Or throw a chambray pocket square in the mix for an unexpected twist. Or, you can even get your ankles in on the game with a patterned sock.

Ralph Lauren silk knot cufflinks, $10, Land's End Canvas chambray pocket square, $24, and socks, $8, available at Urban Outfitters

Don't Forget the Watch

1. The one prom piece you'll get use out of for years after the big night? One killer watch. You don't need to empty your wallet to find a sharp one, as these $150-and-unders prove:

The "It costs what!?" watch: a classic dress watch that's guaranteed to go with whatever you're wearing. Looks like thousands, costs a Benjamin and a half.

Bulova, $150, available at Macy's.

2. A dress watch doesn't just mean white faces and black straps. This rose gold Nixon adds some swagger to the everyday bracelet watch and makes it the perfect amped-up wrist wear for the big night.

Nixon, $125, available at nixon.com

3. It's hip to be square, and you can bet you'll be the only one sporting this exercise in modern industrial design.

Skagen, $145, available

 4. If you're going for old-school American glamour, keep the trend going with an equally handsome watch. Casio's simple design looks like something we'd expect to find in a vintage JFK photo.

Casio, $40, available at American Apparel.

5. A tank watch makes a powerful style statement, and this Fossil one has an Art Deco edge that will stand out in a sea of circles.

Fossil, $105, available at fossil.com

6. If you're not in the market for a new timepiece, give some new life to a watch you already own by playing creative director and switching out the standard leather strap for whatever grosgrain one you want.

Timex watch, $55, available at timex.com. Smart Turnout strap, $29, available at smartturnout.com

The 7 Cardinal Grooming Rules of Prom
By Phillip Picardi, Beauty Editor at LifestyleMirror.com

1. The One Week Rule
Schedule smartly: "Hair always looks its best one week after a cut," says Ben Affleck's grooming guru Natalia Bruschi.  "Plus, if you don't have much experience styling it, then you have a week to get it right before the prom."
2. Lose the Shine
A lot of guys think shiny hair means dressy hair, which makes them look more greaser than Gosling. Bruschi breaks down what products to pick up before the big night:

"If you have short, spiky hair like Taylor Lautner, try Sumotech by Bumble and Bumble ($27).  It's strong hold with a bit of sheen."

If you're a lacrosse player rocking the Bieber, "Try Paul Mitchell Dry Wax ($17) for hold and texture."

And if your hair tends to get oily, a texture clay like Original & Mineral K-Gravel ($23) will keep you dry all night.
3. Lose the Shine, Part Two
If you're still getting breakouts, you're more prone to nasty oil buildup on the nose and forehead, which only looks worse against the camera flashes. "I love Anthony Logistics for Men Instant Fix Oil Control ($28)," says A-List skin expert Joanna Vargas. "It takes away excess oil from your face and keeps shine away all night."
4. Tweeze Please
A good man has good eyebrows. "You'll want to remove any stray hairs that make you look like you have a unibrow," says Michael Fassbender's trusted grooming pro, Aviva. "Focus on the area between the brows, but remember: Less is more." Whatever you do, don't let the women in your life convince you to get them waxed. "The result will be obviously done brows and shiny skin... it'll look like you're trying too hard." Pluck with caution using Tweezerman's Slant Tweezer ($22)—"they'll last forever."
5. Razor Sharp
Sorry, dude: Most high-schoolers cannot pull off facial hair. So forget your pathetic excuse for a beard and buy some shaving cream. "Give yourself at least an hour before photos start," suggests Matt Cassero, barber at Brooklyn's Persons of Interest. "It's best to shave right after you take a hot shower. Start by massaging a shave cream into the beard and let it sit for a minute or two. When you start the shave, remember to go with the grain of your hair to avoid razor burn or irritation." Cassero trusts Harry's Truman razor—a $10 marvel that won't dip into limo money.

For the sensitive types: If you get red post-shave, there's nothing better than T.N. Dickinson's Witch Hazel ($5). Pat onto the face with a towel and it'll calm any irritations.

6. The Right Spritz
"Girls like fresh fragrances," says Carlos Huber, perfumer and founder of Arquiste Parfumeur, "so with that in mind, don't hit them with a smoky scent. Tonight's about romancing her."

For a classic (and classy) citrus, Huber recommends Arquiste L'Etrog ($150). If you prefer something more traditionally masculine, "Dolce and Gabbana Pour Homme ($59)  is one of my favorites." (Loyal readers would also be wise to check our 2013 Fragrance Guide for more suggestions.)

But, boys: Don't douse yourselves. "Spray on the area between the neck and jaw, once on each side. Then, once on the back of the neck for when she gets closer. Finally, spray once on each forearm. When you roll up your sleeves later in the night, the fragrance will be released."
7. Last Impressions
"When you go to kiss your date good night, you should know there's nothing sexier than a man with fresh breath," says Aviva. "The very last things you do before you put on your tux should be floss, brush, and swish with mouthwash. Then, throw a Listerine Pocket Pack ($4) in your jacket for later." 

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