Originally Posted by You
This is our first cruise and would like to know what is appropriate
atire for men at the formal dinner . I have read quite a few forums and
it is split between a tux and a suit .
Any suggestions would apprciated
In my experience, the men who conform to the dress code on Princess usually split about half and half between "black tie" (tuxedos or dinner jacket ensembles) and dark business suits. On some sailings, it may get up to a 40%/60% or so split one way or the other. I have never seen a sailing on which those who chose either option were so outnumbered as to look out of place.
Basically, you might as well go with whichever you own if you own either. The tuxedo or dinner jacket ensemble would be preferred if you own both.
If you don't own either a "black tie" outfit or a dark business suit, you'll need to evaluate your options more carefully.
>> If you plan on taking a lot of cruises or you expect to have other occasions to wear a "black tie" outfit, you might as well buy it since you can buy a decent outfit for the cost of two rentals.
>> If you are not sure about cruising in the future but you have other occasions to wear a dark business suit (weddings, funerals, business meetings, or whatever), buy the dark business suit instead.
>> And if you don't anticipate having other occasions on which to wear either a dark business suit or a "black tie" outfit, the rental is the least expensive option. The decision as to whether to rent through a tuxedo shop near home or through Princess is a toss-up, as the latter may be somewhat more expensive but is a lot more convenient.
With regard to buying a "black tie" outfit, there are several very economical options.
>> 1. Many "tuxedo" shops have frequent sales on rental formalwear that still has a lot of useful life left in it. Fundamentally, the shops have a problem -- many of their clients (wedding parties, etc.) require exact matches, so they cannot continue to rent anything that has faded even very slightly over a few wearings and dry cleanings. Thus, they sell outfits that they have rented only a few times for less than half of the normal price.
>> 2. Liquidators like Building #19 here in Massachusetts and Railroad Salvage in Connecticut often get racks of brand new tuxedos and dinner jackets from overruns, insurance salvage, bankruptcies, or wherever and sell them for substantially less than normal retail prices. Of course, such liquidators might or might not have your size in stock on any given day.
>> 3. J. C. Penney sells Stafford (R) tuxedo separates for $99.00 for the coat and pants. These outfits seem to be very good quality, and they look quite sharp. J. C. Penney also carries pleated dress shirts and accessory kits that include the tie, cummerbund, and studs for about $30 each, but you might want to get a better set of accessories at a tuxedo shop.
Note, BTW, that most cruises are in warm climates (tropics or summertime) where it's proper to wear a white or pastel dinner jacket, though a tuxedo is always acceptable. The notable exceptions are cruises to Europe in the fall, which have become more popular in the last two or three years.