Whether it’s for weddings, Christmas parties or some other formal occasion, being faced with the task of dressing ourselves for a ‘black tie’ event always raises the question ‘to buy or hire?’. The emergence of mid-range and affordable personal tailoring services has meant that more of us are able to consider the possibility of investing in bespoke formal wear of our own. So why hire a tuxedo when you can possess one of your own?
Well it seems that there is still a considerable market for formal hire and many of us are likely to have hired a suit or would consider doing so in the future. Many see suit hire as a time saving, hassle-free alternative to bespoke tailoring but weighing up the pros and cons reveals that it also has its drawbacks.
The pros of suit hire
Cost – Hire will be invariably cheaper if you only require a 'tux' for a ‘one off’ occasion. Also, with many suppliers you only return the jacket and trousers while the shirt, cravat and accessories are yours to keep.
Time – Suit selection and fittings take a fraction of the time you’ll need to invest when getting your own one made. Seeking the right tailor and choosing the ideal materials can be a time-consuming process. Once the suit has been sewn, additional time is needed for fittings and alterations.
Variety – If you’re the kind of guy who doesn’t like the idea of wearing the same suit to every occasion, then hiring can be a better option than buying.
Maintenance – Formal suits require their share of TLC. Having an already dry-cleaned suit that’s ready-to-wear will take the hassle out of ‘dressing up’ for a special occasion.
The cons of suit hire
Reusability – Depending on how often you attend formal occasions, hiring a suit every time will eventually become more costly than having one tailor-made.
Fit - Fit is the one area where a compromise will not pay off. Unfortunately, a hire suit is no substitute for having a garment that’s been made with the sole purpose of looking good on your own individual physique. Even when you buy ‘off the peg’, these suits can usually be customised for a better fit.
Style – Hire suits are designed to reflect current trends and styles, which may not be the most flattering look for your body shape. A tailor-made suit gives you the option to pick a style that will work for you.
Returns - The rush to return your outfit to the supplier the next day can be a hassle. Most companies will give you two days and you may incur penalties for late returns.
Suit hire tips
Should you choose to hire on this occasion, here are a few things you should check out before making the booking.
Make sure the supplier has a varied choice of suits for you to choose from, as well as a good range of accessories available - this includes cummerbunds, cravats, handkerchiefs and buttons if you need them.
Be sure to try on as many suits as you can to get the best fit for your form.
Check the availability of the suit you want and get it booked well in advance.
Check if they offer a mobile fitting, delivery and pick up service. This will really take the hassle out of any special occasion when you are busy with several other tasks.
Find out what the payment method is and how much is required for the deposit.
Enquire about the late return policy, since heading back to the hire shop may not end up being your first priority the day after the event.
Also check what damages you’ll face if anything happensto the suit during your hire.
Apart from the obvious pros and cons, it really is worth investing a little bit of time and money into getting a dinner suit of your own. This is especially the case if you anticipate having to attend a lot of weddings and formal functions over the next couple of years. Also, if your body weight does not tend to fluctuate a lot, you can really appreciate the long-term value. Tailor-made suits usually boast superior fabrics and longer-lasting construction, so treat yourself to a classic ensemble and it’s yours for life.