‘Like superstars’

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AUBURN – Edward Little senior Chris Nunn stepped out of the dressing room Thursday wearing a tuxedo.

When his mother saw him, her face went soft.

“You’re SO handsome! I don’t know how you got to be so good-looking,” gushed Louise Nunn.

Chris smiled as if to say, she’s right; I look good.

Most girls bought their gowns weeks ago, but the prom boys were getting ready Thursday, Friday or even today. That’s cutting it close: Lewiston’s prom is tonight; Edward Little’s is Sunday, as is Winthrop’s.

Compared to girls finding the right dress, picking out a tux is less complicated. There are fewer decisions. You don’t buy, you rent. And while gowns are not forgiving of female shapes, tuxes make good-looking guys even better-looking.

Still, getting the tux involves work, planning and money.

As his mother admired his tux, Caldwell’s Bridal tuxedo specialist Emily Moniz hurried over, ready to serve.

“How’s everything feeling?” Moniz asked, wondering how the pants fit.

“They feel good,” Chris said.

He said he was looking for a classic tux, something “a little slick, but not something like a wedding.”

That’s what he got, Moniz said, a Barrington by Ralph Lauren.

“It’s quite dapper,” Chris said, laughing as he looked in a mirror.

Some juniors pick funkier styles, but seniors are more serious, Moniz said. “That’s the picture that will hang on the wall. They want to look normal.”

Asked how much he was spending, Chris looked at his mother. His tux would cost $110. “That’s what I would pay for it if I had a son,” he said, grinning at the woman with the checkbook.

When it comes to prom preparation, boys have it easier than girl, Chris acknowledged. “The girls end up spending a lot more. Girls go out and buy their amazing dress. Then they get shoes, hair and all that stuff. Boys just rent for the night.”

Chris said he’s looking forward to his prom because this fall he’ll leave for college in Philadelphia. “This will be the last reunion of all my friends, the last hurrah.”

Over at the Formal Image in Lewiston, Stuart Blanchard, a junior at Winthrop High School, tried on a tux with tails.

He got a few tips from shop owner Nelson Peters: The bottom button on a vest is never buttoned. It will make the vest pull. And never button a tail jacket.

Stuart couldn’t be more formal, Peters said. “He’s got tails on, it’s all black with a white shirt. He could go to Carnegie Hall like that.”

At Strictly Formal in Auburn, Seth Champagne and Joe Gardner, both juniors at Edward Little, showed up to pick out a tux for Seth. He wanted something that matched his date’s dress.

Store manager Myndi Loan helped him pick out a classic, two-button coat, a yellow vest and tie and a black shirt “to spice it up a bit.” He had several shoe styles to choose from: shiny or matte, round or square-toe. He went with shiny and round-toe.

The total bill: $133.

Both Seth and Gardner said they were looking forward to the prom. “It’s fun to go out and look all fancy for a day,” Seth said. “We’ll be like superstars.”

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