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[whitespace] Deyaa Mounir Stay-Put Bride: Deyaa Mounir kisses his ideal bride at Tuxedo World.

Photograph by George Sakkestad

Get Formal

When only a mint-green penguin suit will do, consider these formal-wear alternatives

By Andrea Perkins

I DIDN'T GO TO THE PROM. For one thing, I wasn't asked, and for another thing, I was way too busy writing bad poetry and trying to start a punk band. How I derided those who wondered what kind of corsage to wear. Recently, a therapist friend suggested that my overwhelming feelings of self-loathing might be connected to my having missed out on this crucial rite of passage. But I think it's a little more complex than that. I believe that my sense of doubt really boils down to the awful fact that I've never been out with a guy in a penguin suit.

My prom days are over, but for any number of precarious and ill-planned events ('70s-themed proms and shotgun Vegas weddings), funky tuxedos are de rigueur, although not always easy to find. Many of the high-end formal wear places in Santa Cruz order their rentals from distant warehouses. Not only can a tux take up to a week or more to arrive, but these snooty establishments have a conspicuous lack of choices in powder blue and mint green! Spur-of-the-moment elopements or unexpected prom invites can be foiled by such inconveniences. But fortunately, there are a couple of places in town that know how to put the funk in formal.

Closet Capers, on Soquel Avenue, offers rental tuxedoes in every color of the rainbow. Need pink? They got pink. For 50 bucks a night, a loud tux complete with top hat can be obtained, no questions asked. Cognito Clothing on Pacific features comparable prices and an interesting selection, including some zoot suits from the 1940s. But according to some who are in the know, Watsonville is the formal-wear capital of this county.

"There are probably about five tux shops in this town, and we still manage to do well," says Lucy Cano, manager of the aptly named Tuxedo World. Their nothing-to-sneeze-at deluxe tux selection includes classy Oscar De La Renta and Ralph Lauren threads in addition to daring purple and yellow vests and ties by Selix. The swingin' zoot suit look, says Cano, is currently the most sought-after look for proms. They've got it all--the black hats with the white bands, the tapered pants and the two-tone cap-toed shoes. They'll even throw in that too-long pocket chain that's all the rage. More importantly, you can walk into Tuxedo World and walk out with the goods that same day.

(News reporter Andrea Perkins looks forward to Casual Friday every week.)

Closet Capers
1211 Soquel Ave., 425.7685

Cognito Clothing
821 Pacific Ave., 426.5414

Tuxedo World
548 Main St., Watsonville, 722.7002

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From the September 13-20, 2000 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

Copyright © Metro Publishing Inc. Maintained by Boulevards New Media.

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