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A tuxedo with tales

By KAREN M. THOMAS / The Dallas Morning News

Meet The Tux. For most of April and May, The Tux has been hard at work. It has gone to at least four proms. It has taken a trip to Houston for a black-tie affair. And now it has been cleaned and pressed and is ready for the onslaught of summer weddings. This is no ordinary tux. The Tux, whose manufacturer officially calls it the Apollo, is different. Apollo, if you recall, is the Greek god who exemplified manly youth and beauty. So The Tux can be no less. It features a Nehru collar and seven buttons down its long coat. Most wearers add a dapper vest in platinum or silver. They skip the traditional bow tie. They add instead a stud button to a crisp white shirt or even a long tie.

Young men gravitate to The Tux. They've worn it on the biggest nights of their lives and depended on its stylish flair to carry them through the evening. Some have spilled cheesecake on it, glided across the dance floor in it and relied on its warmth when tossing it across a date's shoulders.

The Tux is in its prime. It's a new arrival at Minsky Formal Wear in Richardson.

"Long coats are in style now," says Don Kapadia, owner of Minsky. "This tux was a hit in the shorter version, so I knew the longer would be, too."

Each year, Mr. Kapadia pays close attention to formal fashion. Then he chooses 34 styles for his tuxedos. A well-made classic tuxedo can last for nearly a decade, he says. But The Tux is unlikely to stick around that long.

Its trendy, Wyatt Earp design probably will fade in three or four years.

In the meantime, The Tux rules. It spends little time on its hanger. It leaves the shop on a Thursday or Friday and cloaks its wearer on a Saturday night. By Sunday, it's usually tucked back in its zippered bag and ready for return to the store on Monday. By Tuesday or Wednesday, The Tux is busy spinning in the dry-cleaning machine, then wrapped in plastic and ready for its next wearer.


Brett Edmonson

Brett is a connoisseur of prom attire. In the last three years, he has attended seven proms, escorting young ladies as far away as California and as near as his own high school. This year, as a senior at Garland High School, he looked forward to attending his own.

Late in April he headed to Minsky to be decked out for the May 4 event.

A classic sort of guy, he thought he would stick with the traditional black tuxedo. But then he saw The Tux. Those buttons cascading down the front. The Nehru collar. That platinum vest. Classic is great. This was cool.

"I care about my appearance," says Brett. "If you look nice, you make a good first impression."

He chose The Tux. He opted for the stud-button closure on his shirt instead of the classic bow tie. His date, Kellie Greenleaf, wore a pink gown with silver beads. The Tux "went absolutely perfect with her dress," Brett says.

The Tux had work to do that spring night. The prom, at the Infomart in Dallas, was Kellie's first formal dance. And Brett wanted to make it special. He spent "a pretty penny" on Kellie's nosegay, he says. But it was worth it.

"I will never forget the look on her face when I handed her the flowers," he says.

"They were awesome," Kellie agrees.

She thought The Tux was very good-looking. And, um, yes, Brett is good-looking too.

They're just friends, Brett says. But after prom night and time with The Tux, well, who knows?

"We danced to Garth Brooks' 'The Dance,' " Brett says. "It's a great song. The words are about finding the right person. It was just perfect for that night."


Brad Menefee

Brad, a high school junior, is no different from his peers. He knew a cool tux when he saw one, so he chose The Tux for the First Baptist Academy banquet April 26 at the Hotel Adolphus.

Brad went for the silver vest and a black tie. But he added his own flair to The Tux. He buttoned one button, allowing the rest of the coat to float free.

At the affair, seniors presented juniors, including Brad, their senior rings. Then they ate salad and some chicken stuff with pasta, according to Brad.

After the banquet, the dance began. Brad's not sure his Baptist school sponsored the dance. He wouldn't say whether he danced. He may not have. But The Tux did.


Jeff Kauffman

Jeff recently got an award for most creative at Rockwall High School. At first, he didn't live up to the title. At Minsky, he originally went with a traditional tux. And then Mr. Kapadia showed him The Tux.

He liked the sort of 1800s-style. He liked the fact that the silver vest and tie gave it more of a modern air.

"When I saw it, I thought that's a cool look and nobody else will have it," he says

On April 20, he left Minsky with The Tux and wore it that night to his prom at the World Trade Center in Dallas. His date, Courtney Emberlin, wore a strapless ball gown with a full skirt.

"It kind of really fit with The Tux," says Jeff about Courtney's dress.

"It was definitely different," Courtney says about The Tux. "We looked like a princess and prince."

During the prom, Jeff and Courtney ate. They danced. Someone spilled cheesecake on The Tux's pant leg. Then the pair headed to a friend's house to change for the after party at the high school. The theme was "kind of a cruise-ship setting, the whole Hawaiian look," says Jeff. No need for the dapper Tux there. Jeff was in a rush. He peeled out of The Tux, tossed it aside and left it crumpled on his friend's bedroom floor.

But The Tux was no worse for wear. Mr. Kapadia also happens to own a dry-cleaning store in Garland. In no time, The Tux was ready again.

In the end, says Jeff, "It was all worth it. It was great."


Vandi Verma

Vindi arrived at Minsky with 20 buddies. They were on a mission.

Each needed a tuxedo for the Texas Academy of Mathematics & Science's senior prom April 13. And each wanted a different style.

When Vindi saw The Tux, he thought, "That's it." His friends agreed. Vindi is from India. The Tux, with its Nehru collar, seemed to fit Vindi's style.

Vindi's date, classmate Shikha Sharma, wore traditional Indian dress.

"The Tux went perfectly with it," he says.

On prom night at the Sheraton Grand in Irving, several classmates told Vindi how good he looked. Not only did The Tux look good, says Vindi, it also felt good.

"My date thought I was really handsome," he says.

If you look and feel good, you might as well dance. And Vindi and Shikha did, to hip-hop, pop music and anything else the DJ played.

Now that the prom is over and his high school years have ended, Vindi says he will remember The Tux because it was really special. And he will remember his prom.

"I had fun. It's just being with my friends," he says. "It was the last time. Everybody is going to different colleges."