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Tacky Tuxedo

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"Bloody Hell."

Part of Stock Costume Traits:

It's Prom Night! Or it's a wedding! It could be Shlomo's bar mitzvah, but no matter what kind of an event, Weirdo McGeek is invited as well. And what kind of garment did he choose to show up wearing?

A frilled shirt, a bowtie or Classy Cravat, a cummerbund, and a tuxedo in baby blue. All 100% polyester.

It's a disco-style tuxedo John Travolta could barely look good in, but the nerd usually comes dressed up like this to a fancy event. Usually an over-the-top exaggeration of the schizoid styles used in the Real Life 70s, falling out of fashion as disco music died downnote . Frilly shirts and big ties in particular made a comeback during most of The '90s and The Aughts until the very early 2010s, although suits had more conventional schemes.

A Sub-Trope of Impossibly Tacky Clothes.

Contrast Sharp-Dressed Man (where the tux and the guy look good). Often found in a Lounge Lizard's wardrobe.


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    Comic Books 
  • In Issue #12 of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, which is set in Equestria's version of The '80s, Shining Armor's high school dance tuxedo is the epitome of this trope.
  • It seems to be the case for a moment in Superman: The Wedding Album with Clark's wedding costume, but when he protests, he's told that the tacky costume was just to test his size and shoulder broadness, and then he's given a better tuxedo.

    Comic Strips 
  • Jon Arbuckle of Garfield has also been known to wear pink and purple suits as well.
  • Safe Havens:
    • The groomsmen in Ming and Don's wedding wore neon green tuxedos. That's what happens when one lets a Cloudcuckoolander plan a wedding.
    • Samantha had to talk Dave out of putting everyone's last name and number on the back of their tuxes for their wedding (Dave's justification being that he and all his groomsmen were involved with sports somehow).
  • Zits: In an attempt to persuade Sara to go to the prom with him, Jeremy borrows a tuxedo that used to belong to Hector's grandfather. Only when Hector gives it to him does he discover that Hector's grandfather had been in a mariachi band.

    Fan Works 
  • When shopping for wedding attire in Disorienuptials, Varric trolls Dorian mercilessly by modeling a couple of these. Most notably, he emerges from the fitting room clad from head to toe in shocking pink... and points out that the outfit is also available in orange.
  • In the backstory of Say It Thrice, Lydia sasses Beetlejuice about the tacky tux he wore for their almost-wedding in the movie, saying that both that outfit and the dress he gave her were beyond ridiculous.
  • Total Drama Comeback Series: When everyone has to dress up for the prom challenge, Eva grabs the first tuxedo she sees in the washroom. Unfortunately, it's an ugly orange and pink tuxedo, and it looks terrible on her.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, a mix-up at the tuxedo rental place causes Anthony's tux to be given to someone else. The only tux they have left in his size is a hideous powder blue one with a frilly shirt and a huge bow tie. He doesn't really mind this however and ends up wearing this to the prom.
  • The title character in Angus wears a particularly hideous purple one. He had his heart set on a "normal, socially-acceptable" black tux, but the shop had nothing else big enough to fit him.
    Angus: It's purple.
    Attendant: It's plum.
    Grandpa: It's classy!
    Angus & Troy: It's plum.
    Attendant: It's your size.
  • The title character in Beetlejuice wears what appears to be a maroon moth-eaten velvet tuxedo with a white ruffled shirt. The white platform shoes do not help matters.
  • In Bet Your Life, Chuck is driving a prom couple to an after party when he has to detour to the casino to pick up Sonny. The boy is wearing a powder blue tuxedo with a ruffled shirt. The movie is set in 2004 and the girl is wearing a perfectly ordinary red spaghetti strap dress, so why he is dressed like that is never addressed.
  • Tom Hanks as Josh in Big shows up to a black-tie cocktail party in a white sequined tuxedo. The party is so shocked by his appearance that he tries to surreptitiously check his fly. Luckily for him, his boss is so bored with everybody dressing the same at these parties — and having the same conversations over and over again — that he is ecstatic that somebody dodged convention.
  • Carrie: The prom-shopping montage is made of this.
  • Cliff dresses in a standard tuxedo for his college fundraising banquet. When he must put in an appearance as Doctor Detroit in the same hotel he turns it inside out to reveal purple silk linings in the trousers and a red lining in the jacket.
  • Dumb and Dumber: Lloyd and Harry show up to a formal charity event in orange and blue tuxedos, respectively, complete with gloves, top hats, tails and walking sticks.
  • In Father of the Bride (1991), Steve Martin's character pulls one of these out of mothballs in the attic, to the amusement of his wife and daughter. Then, for the actual wedding, he dons a knockoff Armani tux which (as he discovers when it's pointed out by other characters) is actually navy blue.
  • The Mask:
    • The Mask's banana yellow zoot suit, which became his Iconic Outfit.
    • Also worth mentioning is Charlie's tiger-print tux.
  • In My Cousin Vinny, Vinny shows up to court wearing a particularly hideous old maroon tux he had obtained at the last minute from the thrift store. Not like he had much of a choice; the judge had ordered him to wear a suit, and the local dry cleaners were closed due to a flu outbreak, so it was either that or his casual clothes and leather jacket, of which he already knew the judge disapproved.
  • Barry Fife (Bill Hunter) wears something very like this in Strictly Ballroom, with a blue sequined tuxedo jacket and matching bow tie.

  • One of Wendy's feuding zombie ex-boyfriends in Death Warmed Over is dressed in a powder blue tuxedo. Dan marvels that anyone would choose to be buried, or to lay their late relative to rest, in a prom tux.
  • Harry Dresden incorporates one of these into his vampire costume from Grave Peril, as he intends to thumb his nose at the actual vampires at a costume party by dressing as a cheesy version.
  • In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, poor Ron Weasley gets stuck wearing old-fashioned, hand-me-down, maroon dress robes to the Yule Ball. The film adaptation currently serves as the page image. It clashes horribly with his date's hot pink dress. At the end of the book, Harry gives his Triwizard winnings to Fred and George as capital for their joke shop on the condition that they get Ron a new set.
  • A three-piece suit version of this appears in Rocket Boys when Homer runs into his oddball friend O'Dell while shopping. They both find something that they think is great and is eye-catching enough to get him noticed by a campaigning John F. Kennedy. It's only after that when Homer reveals that the suit is bright orange. (His friend Emily Sue forces him to swap it for a normal blue one.)

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Big Bang Theory: When Penny takes Sheldon suit-shopping, one of his choices is a white tuxedo with tails.
  • On Boy Meets World, a nerdy guy who mistakenly thinks Topanga agreed to go to the prom with him shows up at her door wearing one of these.
  • The one-off special Canned Laughter had a stand-up comedian dressed in a extreme parody of the styles of the time (it was made in 1979).
  • Harry is asked to accompany one of his patients to her middle school dance (he's a pediatrician) in an episode of Empty Nest. He pulls out his old powder blue tuxedo for the occasion. The girl then shows up to apologize, explaining that one of her classmates asked her to be his date instead... and, hilariously, the kid is wearing the exact same outfit.
  • In Fringe, Walter has one of these.
    Walter: Purple never goes out of style!
  • Glee:
    • Apparently, Burt Hummel wore a deeply regrettable-sounding powder-blue tux with ruffled shirt and floppy bow-tie to his prom. It's probably a good thing that this is only described, not shown on-screen. What's even more mind-blowing is how Burt can admit to this and then get up nerve enough to criticise his son Kurt for planning to wear a very elegant formal kilt to his junior prom...
    • And apparently Artie takes fashion advice from Burt, because the cherry-red outfit he wore to the junior prom made him look like Austin Powers.
  • Home Improvement: Al and Tim wear these.
  • Australian comedian and talk show host Andrew Denton made a documentary on the Just for Laughs comedy festival in Montreal called Montreal: The Funniest City in the World. When interviewing comedians or conducting vox pops on the streets, he wore a tuxedo. However, for every segment he was wearing a different tux jacket. These ranged from the conventional (black, white, navy blue) to the fashion forward (scarlet) to the truly outré (a tuxedo jacket in the Australian Army "jellybean" camouflage colour and pattern). And he somehow made that last one look awesome.
  • That '70s Show: Bob Pinciotti wears one in green and gold, the same colors as the Green Bay Packers, when he renews his wedding vows with Midge.
  • Bubbles on Trailer Park Boys skipped the disco ensemble and wore something even tackier to a wedding: a T-shirt with a tuxedo design on the front. Then again, this is Trailer Park Boys.

  • ZZ Top: Despite naming a trope, the outfit described in "Sharp Dressed Man" is neither a snazzy suit nor full formal evening wear, but a mishmash of clashing styles that make the narrator look like he's trying too hard — silk suits are worn during summer but topcoats are for autumn, top hats are for formal white tie but he's wearing a long tie, and how is he wearing gloves and a diamond ring at the same time?

    Video Games 
  • In Façade (2005), the couple's wedding photo shows groom Trip dressed in a black jacket, gray pants and pink bowtie, with a teal "flower" (really just a circular blob) in his lapel.

    Web Comics 
  • In an early storyline for General Protection Fault, the eponymous company gets invited to a black-tie event. While Nick and Dwayne end up picking sensible tuxedos, Fooker chooses this one. Amusingly enough, Nick complains about Ki and Trudy getting into a fight over wearing the same dress despite all the men wearing the same thing, only for Fooker to walk up to him.
    Fooker: Hey, he said "black tie." The tie's black. See?
  • Questionable Content: Will once went to a job interview in a suit better suited to the Regency. (Apparently the only other option involved a blazer that looked even weirder.) Fortunately for him, his interview was at the Local Hangout, which had a previously-established Running Gag about dressing up in old-timey outfits.
    Will: Hello, I'm here for the interview—
    Owner: You're hired.

     Web Original 
  • In the CollegeHumor sketch "Too Many Weddings," Zac is a guest at a wedding somewhere in the US every weekend that summer. He has a normal tux, but doesn't have time to patch it up or get it dry-cleaned in between each of the weddings he's attending, and it starts falling apart and being "patched up" with duct tape. He also wears a frilly, powder-blue tux from The '70s, when he is actually one of the groomsmen.

    Western Animation 
  • In The Batman, The Penguin is shown wearing a tuxedo that's several sizes too big for him, with coattails that drag on the floor, sleeves that almost slip past his hands, a waistcoat that goes down to his knees, a bowtie the size of his face, and a top-hat as tall as he is. This bizarre ensemble, which he wears at all times, is a visual clue that the character is a classless boor putting on airs of refinement.
  • Batman Beyond: Willie Watt wears an orange version to the spring dance in the episode "Golem". Made worse by the fact that other episodes show that future formal fashions are even more streamlined than those of today, meaning it was really, really out of date and it wasn't actually a formal occasion (the only guys are wearing pretty casual clothes).
  • Grojband: Kin Kujira wears one by default. Although due to the way he's drawn, it's hard to tell if it's a real tux or actually just a black t-shirt with a tuxedo pattern on it.
  • Ron Stoppable wears one of these in Kim Possible, saying he borrowed it from his dad. Fortunately, for the homecoming dance he wears a much better suit.
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Discord and the Smooze show up to the Grand Galloping Gala wearing Lloyd and Harry's color-coordinated tuxedoes — except even tackier, in this case, since Discord eschews everything below the waist, while the Smooze forgoes everything but the bowtie and top-hat.
  • The Simpsons: Homer wore a blue version with a ruffled shirt in contrasting pink to his high school prom in "The Way We Was". He gets a pass, though, as it was legitimately the style at the time (1974).

    Real Life