Budget Formal tips for men: Suits

November 14, 2018 — by Andrew Lee

When it comes to Winter Formal, everyone seems to rush out at the last minute to buy their unique dress or suit, desperately trying to find a fashionable set of attire for the big annual dance. But with this surge of purchases in formal clothing, many students are met with a dreaded “out of stock” in red text on every single website or ridiculous pricing on suits and pants, regardless of whether they are being rented out or not.

Fortunately, unlike almost everything in life, there exists a solution to such a dilemma, especially when it comes to formal-suitable clothing for boys.

If you’re late into the dress-up game and come to face this problem, the answer is easy: Forget about private, expensive tailors or the ever so alluring Men’s Wearhouse; instead, look into discount retailers such as Nordstrom Rack or Burlington Coat Factory.

After all, not only do these large discount stores offer the best prices, but they give customers the freedom of mixing and matching different pieces of clothes.

Having had a disastrous experience leading up to my first high school formal last year, I ended up relying on these stores as my personal saviours in the days before the hectic winter dance. As I scrambled to secure a date and prepare for my many exams at school, looking for a formal outfit was the last thing on my mind.

On top of the already $40 to attend the dance, I had to find a way to avoid the ridiculous prices of Men’s Warehouse and various other tailors. Call me cheap if you will, but paying several hundred dollars for an outfit to wear during a three-hour event was just too much of a bullet to bite.

But everything changed once I stepped foot into the Burlington Coat Factory located in the WestGate mall. The store was a huge warehouse of every single piece of clothing you could ever need, from scarfs and watches to coats and rain jackets.

After several trips to Burlington Coat Factory for pants and a jacket (finding the right sizes was most difficult) and Nordstrom Rack for a pair of comfortable, padded dress shoes that adequately looked the part, I was able to put together a decent outfit with the help of my mother and formal date.

The total cost of my purchases added up to a little over a $100, a bargain compared to the steep price of around $175 to rent a suit from Tuxedo Warehouse.

To anybody who is interested, I looked FINE. No, really, I thought I looked all right. Sure, maybe the suit was a tad too large and the pants a little too long, but it wasn’t the end of the world, especially since these issues were easy to hide in photos.

In the end, formal turned out to be a blast. I got more compliments than criticism, especially from my date, which was much more than I could have asked for.

But as thankful as I am to Burlington Coat Factory and Nordstrom Rack for their lower prices, I hate to admit that this year I will not be returning to buy my formal outfit from these retailers. Peer pressure has gotten the best of me, so don’t be surprised if you see me in a nicely tailored, well-fitting and expensive suit, the kind you’re less likely to find at Burlington Coat Factory.