When my best friend from college invited me to his wedding, I scrambled for a nice suit to wear. I don’t like wearing suits – at all – nor do I own one. Heck, the last time I wore a suit was 2010. There is no doubt that styles have changed and I have changed since then, so this was going to be interesting.
I looked everywhere. No, seriously. Banana Republic, Nordstrom, Belk, Macy’s, Jos. A. Bank, Men’s Wearhouse; you name it. Everything was either too expensive or “EW!” (expressed in Jimmy Fallon’s “Sara” voice). Given that I wear a suit about as often as one buys a car, I wasn’t prepared to dish out money like that – nor look like the best dressed guy at bingo night.
Enter The Black Tux. I discovered this online rental company on YouTube and gave it a try. According to the company’s bio, The Black Tux was founded in 2013 by Andrew Blackmon and Patrick Coyne, who sought to offer men an alternative to traditional tuxedo and suit rentals after a so-so experience renting for Blackmon’s wedding. The rental outlet offers several options of suits and tuxes – as well as accessories – while allowing customers to rent single items or full outfits for less than traditional places. Sounds awesome, right? The following is my review of the service as I walk you through each part of the process.
Options and Pricing
You have plenty of options, all at reasonable prices. The Black Tux offers a variety of styles of suits and tuxes that will satisfy just about every need. I chose the navy suit; which included jacket, pants, and shirt. The total was $135. If you’re resourceful, you may even find a coupon code out there somewhere – I found one on YouTube for $20 off, or something like that. You can make changes to your rental even after submitting it (but before it’s shipped out). For some reason, I decided initially that I would forego the shoes and a belt in favor of my own. I changed my mind and contacted customer service right away. The shoes and belt I wanted were added, bringing my total to $175.
You’re probably wondering, how can you be sized correctly if this is an online rental service? The sizing process was actually not as painful as I thought it would be. After selecting what you want to rent out, you’re taken through a sizing wizard that asks for some simple measurements (height, weight, waist, etc.). The online system will then match those with clothing sizes that it thinks will best fit you.
A huge plus is, if you get your rental and have sizing issues with any piece of it, you simply contact The Black Tux. A representative will work with you and will send out replacement item(s); either with standard or overnight shipping, depending on the date of your event.
Another cool thing about The Black Tux is the company offers a free, at home try-on for many of its products. I did this before committing to a rental to see how well the system sized me and how nice the suit really is. Both exceeded my expectations. I probably could have taken one size down in the pants but I made do with it. I also thought the jacket was a bit too small at first but, after requesting a size up on my “for real” rental, I found that it was actually the perfect fit and had to size down again.
The Black Tux touts that its products are only of the highest quality. The suits are sleek, modern and are claimed to be made from merino wool, a breathable fabric, as opposed to polyester. Upon receiving my items, I was very impressed by the quality. Each item felt premium and each held up for the entirety of my friend’s wedding (about six hours worth).
The one thing I’ll caution you about – and even The Black Tux reminds you – is the items do wrinkle and you’ll most likely see wrinkles upon taking your items out of the box. Make sure to hang up your wrinkle-prone items ASAP. I contacted customer service about this and, although I could not find this on the company’s website, I was told that I could take any wrinkled items to a dry cleaner, send The Black Tux an invoice, and the company would will reimburse me. My jacket was the wrinkly item, but the wrinkles worked themselves out in time for the wedding. No dry cleaner needed. Otherwise, the items are protected in a nice garment bag that hangs easily.
Here’s something cool: delivery and returns are free! Yes, free! All items are delivered in a simple box with The Black Tux branding – and even include a piece of shipping tape to use for the return trip. Additionally, the label on the box peels off to reveal a return label. It cannot get any easier! The Black Tux ships out the rental so it will arrive two weeks before the event, in order to give ample time for trying it on and whatnot. I did experience a bit of trouble receiving my at home try-on, as it arrived later than anticipated. My rental arrived right on time and, if you experience issues of this nature, just contact customer service. They should take care of it. You have three days from the end of your event to drop-off your rental for return, or you can request an extension of a week, for an additional fee.
This is where The Black Tux shines, in my view. I had to contact customer service a few times, mainly to ask questions like the wrinkle issue mentioned previously. Responses are timely and each representative I communicated with was very helpful and polite. I will say, however, that I did have a bit of a time requesting a new size for the jacket in my rental. As I said earlier, I thought the jacket in my try-on was a bit small so I went a size up on the actual rental.
Come to find out, that one was too large, so I contacted customer service about a replacement. No problem with that, but I believe someone screwed up as I not only received a smaller sized jacket but a duplicate, full outfit with a jacket. That means I had my original outfit with the larger jacket, a duplicate outfit with smaller jacket, and just a jacket. I also had to contact customer service to get a new shipping label for all items – as there was no way they would all fit in one of the small boxes from The Black Tux. Not a huge deal, but still worth noting.
I saved the best part for last. For a guy that practically detests wearing suits, I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed wearing it. Can that be a thing? It was comfortable to wear, for a suit, and it held up all day. I also think I looked dashing in it, for a rental (see right). Better still, The Black Tux offers customers the option of buying the entire outfit or single items from them (mine was $299+ tax for the entire thing). I chose to keep the shoes for an additonal $50, which is not bad for real leather shoes (plus I needed some nice, brown dress shoes badly).
The Bottom Line
With a plethora of options, quality items at fair prices, and stellar customer service; The Black Tux is definitely worth checking out. What put it over the top for me was how fitting my suit was and how it made me look really nice for my friend’s wedding. Plus, the customer service aspect really hit it out of the park, save the little gaffe with my jacket replacement. One more note of improvement could be in the wrinkle department. It may be unavoidable, but a quick search found other (more traditional) outlets, such as Men’s Wearhouse, feature wrinkle-resistant packaging in its online rental service. Beyond that, I’d consider it a job well done!
I Give It An: A
NOTE: This review features my honest opinion. My reviews are not necessarily endorsements of any brand or product. Additionally, no compensation was given to me by The Black Tux in exchange for this review to be published.