Few things used to appall me more than my dad’s love for discount-clothes shopping. He could spend hours combing the racks at bargain-bin retailers like Jos A. Bank and (the now-defunct) Syms with the same kind of zeal that powers hypebeasts through their hours-long wait in line for the next Supreme drop. It’s not that the clothes he picked out were ever hideous; there was just something about where they came from that embarrassed me, even though it never seemed to bother him. So you can imagine how I felt when he told me he bought a tux from Amazon to wear to my black-tie wedding this past May.
Thanks to Mitt Romney, we all know that you can buy an expensive, designer tuxedo on Amazon that’s more or less red-carpet ready. But since my dad does not really share Mitt’s taste, he opted to spend roughly $200 on a Tommy Hilfiger tuxedo that cost about 10 percent of Romney’s Brioni number — and which was sold as separates (!). Thankfully weddings tend to inspire any number of things to fret about, so my dad’s tux wasn’t necessarily front of mind, but I did worry about it each time my husband and I stopped by Ralph Lauren for our own fittings: Would my dad’s look boxy or visibly cheaper next to our custom-tailored, wool-and-cashmere tuxedos?
The answer — shockingly, embarrassingly, and absolutely — was no. Looking at photos of my dad and me side by side, you genuinely can’t tell which of us spent a few hours with a tailor getting his jacket and pants just-so (me), and which of us basically threw his on straight off the rack (my dad, aside from minor sleeve alterations). Even in person, there was almost no visible difference in quality between his tuxedo and mine — which cost at least as much as Romney’s. The satin on his jacket’s lapels and pants’ side stripes was maybe a little shinier than that on mine (but not so shiny that it made me question the clothes’ quality), and his tuxedo, which is 100 percent wool, didn’t appear or really feel any denser than my wool-and-cashmere blend. What’s more, my dad’s tux also looked just as sharp as those my brother and future brother-in-law each paid $180 to rent — only he never has to return his.
Truly, I’ve never seen my dad look more dashing than he did on that day. And watching him work the room and hold court by the bar into the wee hours, I could tell he felt like a million bucks — especially, I’m sure, because he’d spent far, far less.
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