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8 Formalwear Disruptors Helping You Look Your Best This Holiday Season

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December 5, 2018

Even if you don’t wear a suit to work, there’s a good chance you’re getting dressed up this month. Between office parties, family gatherings and New Year’s Eve you’d have to hygge down hard to escape putting on a respectable outfit at some point between now and 2019. The good news is, the whole ordeal of buying and getting fitted in formalwear isn’t what it used to be. With direct-to-consumer pricing, algorithms that help you find the perfect fit and retailers that understand that you don’t want to look like your dad (no offense, dad), buying a suit and all the fixings is actually pretty darn fun these days. Now all you need is a date.

The Cool-Guy Party Suit: Urban Outfitters

ASOS, Topman and Zara make trend-aware suits that say “going to the after-after party.” New to this space is Urban Outfitters, which launched a dedicated suiting shop in November. The fits are either relaxed or rocker skinny, nothing in between; and the colors and patterns mostly qualify as NSFW. Follow the retailer’s styling cues, wearing your suit with, say, a T-shirt and Chelsea boots and you’re firmly out of the business-casual zone.

A Better Black-Tie Rental: The Black Tux

Every menswear authority and mom will tell you to invest in a tuxedo, but if you just can’t stomach dropping a G on something you’ll only wear once in a blue moon, there are other savvy options for you. Like The Black Tux, which launched in 2012. The Los Angeles startup has made the tuxedo rental process cooler and more convenient with slimmer, edgier suits and an online-only ordering process. The best part? You can get a full look, down to the dress shoes and studs for under $200.

An NBA-Level Dress Shoe: Del Toro

If you want nice dress shoes without the $500 price tag, check out direct-to-consumer brand Jack Erwin. If you want deeply swaggy, NBA-approved dress shoes in that same range, go Del Toro. The Miami-based brand, which counts Russell Westbrook as a fan and Draymond Green as an investor, makes a variety of shoes—but their bread and butter is the evening slipper. Velvet or patent, classic or crazy, they’re all made in Italy and they’re all going to take your slim black suit to a very stylish place.

Keeping CEO Swagger Alive: Suitsupply

Many guys today avoid wearing suits because they feel too fancy for these casual, entrepreneurial times. Those guys will not be served by Suitsupply, the Dutch brand that still believes in the power of the pinstripe suit and the beauty of a velvet tuxedo. But while embracing some traditions (like brick and mortar), they’ve also turned their backs on others. Suits are priced under $700, for one, and their radical ad campaigns encourage conversations that go beyond fashion.

The Kings of Customer Service: Bonobos

To succeed in retail in 2018, you need to offer an experience that can’t be rivaled online. Bonobos is a digital-first brand that understands this completely, offering bespoke menswear services without the bespoke menswear prices. Walk in, get styled, get measured, get your new threads at your doorstep shortly thereafter. You even get to drink beer while you shop for your party clothes—which now include tuxedos. How’s that for festive?

A Cheaper, Cooler Tie: The Tie Bar

The days of wide, shiny, $70 ties are over. Chicago-based startup The Tie Bar is here with more affordable and modern options, so you can make the most of your suits and formalwear without being “funny tie guy.” Although they started in 2004 as a digital-only tie brand, they’ve since expanded to brick-and-mortar retail and launched shirts and made-to-measure suits, too. In other words, come for the skinny tie, stay for the full look.

The Click-to-Buy Custom Suit: Indochino

If off-the-rack suits never fit you well, Vancouver-based brand Indochino does custom-fitted options for about the same price. Measure yourself at home then order your suit online. If it doesn’t fit you perfectly, they’ll reimburse you for tailoring, up to $75 (just submit the receipts). You can also visit one of the brand’s 30 North American showrooms for a more guided experience. With a three-week turnaround time this maybe isn’t a quick fix for this weekend’s holiday party, but it’d make a great Christmas present to yourself. You know, new year, new suit, new you.

A Shirt That Actually Fits: Woodies

If you like the idea of custom-fitted clothes, but aren’t a suit guy, Kickstarter-funded startup Woodies specializes in made-to-measure shirts and chinos. The process is similar to Indochino—measure yourself, order online, if it doesn’t fit, they’ll help you get it right—but the shopping window is shorter (think five-seven business days). So, if you want to rock a made-to-measure black shirt and or purple custom-fitted chinos on New Year’s Eve, now is your chance. Go forth and flex.