Q&A: Low Budget Black Tie Attire


I was recently invited to an event that curiously specified “white/black tie” and have opted to go the black tie route for future versatility.

I have been to many stores in the Twin Cities area and am often met with blank stares when I start talking about black tie attire. I was shocked that many do not know what a peak lapel is.

As I am still something of a student, I thought it prudent to set a budget of $500 for everything (excluding shoes). As you probably know, this makes things more difficult.

Do you have anything available in a 36S, single-button, unvented peak lapel tuxedo or are there any places in the Twin Cities you could recommend? Finding clothing in my size has been a challenge (I usually wear 36S slim/tailored fits with 18″ pit-to-pit and 30×30 pants).

Specifically, I believe I need to acquire the following: aforementioned tuxedo, black waistcoat or cummerbund, white marcella bib shirt, white braces, black silk bowtie, and white linen pocket square. Thank you!


Hi, that’s a good question. In the Twin Cities, the only place that comes to my mind (for the total black tie ensemble) is Brooks Brothers. But they’re not going to fit within your $500 budget.

However, if you shop there and find something you like – it’s probably on eBay. The demand for secondhand formalwear is relatively low. Compared to your average item of designer clothing, there are just fewer buyers looking for these things at a given time. So I would expect sellers to make you a great deal.

You could also try renting from an online tuxedo company like The Black Tux.

Best of luck