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Photos by Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette
Nick Steffen has his measurements taken by Dick Pape, owner of Rogers Formalwear, 3518 Broadway.
Getting all dressed up

Picking out the perfect tux

Many options for guys to express selves at prom

Pape helps Steffen, a Bishop Luers High School student, into a coat during his fitting.
Pape talks with Bishop Luers High School student Nelson Martin about his tux options.

Prom season can often be tough for a guy. You must book restaurant reservations (McDonald’s doesn’t count), go in on a limo rental and worst of all, you have to find something to wear other than your questionably clean sweatpants.

If you have no idea what language your date is speaking when she says her dress is “pastel chartreuse,” then here’s a good starting point on finding a tuxedo.

Find the gray area

If you don’t want to get lost in a swarm of black on the dance floor, then change it up with a gray tuxedo instead. It’s a stand out color that is still neutral enough to be matched with most dress colors. Rogers Formalwear owner Dick Pape says there are plenty of colors such as red, white, royal blue and tan in store as well.

“The black tuxedo isn’t as popular for weddings as it was two or three years ago, and we are starting to see that filter into the schools,” Pape says. “I think it’s got to be the advertising manufacturers are doing for the national chains. It’s driving a lot of different looks.”

Old school is new

Pape says there is an increased interest in the European-style tuxedos, which features a slim leg reminiscent of ’60s James Bond. He says that guys are also going back to self-tie bow ties.

His wife, Diane Pape, is store manager of Wendy’s Bridal, which also sells prom dresses and tuxedos. She says that instead of the traditional boutonniere, men are switching to a matching pocket square. To ensure a match, bring in the strap from your date’s dress or, at your own risk, the entire gown.

“We like them to have something in their hand that we can match,” Diane Pape says. “If their date buys a prom dress here, then we have a ($40 off) coupon for the tuxedo, and we write down the color code, so we already know what matches.”


Diane Pape says the film release of “The Great Gatsby” in 2013 has influenced a lot of prom themes this year; she says a tux accented with a black and gold vest and tie hits the trend head on.

On the more eccentric side, Dick Pape says the camouflage tuxedo, thanks to “Duck Dynasty” and “Honey Boo Boo,” has also been a popular choice in formal wear, and, unfortunately, the bright orange and powder blue tuxes from the film “Dumb and Dumber” are still rented out by a couple of funny guys.

“I wouldn’t advise it, but let’s face it, there are always a couple of class clowns,” he says.