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Former Greenville resident Sue Draz well remembers the day in 2011 that she saw a news report about a teenage girl who had been denied entry to her high school prom because she wanted to wear a tuxedo.

“I have a daughter who would not wear a tuxedo to prom, but if she wanted to wear one to prom, I don’t see why anyone should stop her,” Draz said. “I found it outrageous that this young girl didn’t have a choice, and I thought, ‘I want to do something about that.’ A woman whether she’s young or old should be able to wear whatever she wants to.”

Draz, who is Iraqi by birth, had no knowledge about fashion or business, but her son, Omar Nahil, did. The Greenville businessman acted as an advisor, helping his mother start her online business with very little investment or knowledge. In 2012, Her Tuxedo became the first online retailer to specialize in tuxedos for women. In collaboration with an experienced courtier, Draz designed a tuxedo tailored specifically to fit the female body shape along with accessories to offer on the website. Today, www.HerTuxedo.com receives orders from women from as far away as Australia, China, and Italy, she said.

Draz said her customers range from powerful businesswomen to young women looking for formal attire.

“I know it sounds crazy,” she said. “It was done more as a way of standing up to anyone who would stop any woman from doing anything she wanted, especially something as simple as wearing a tuxedo. As a mother, I felt driven to do it.”

The growing business recently launched a new website, and although Draz now lives in the United Kingdom, her son remains in Greenville, where they often collaborate on the company.

“He’s been amazing,” she said. “I could not do this without his knowledge of business. I now do the computer part of it, and my son in Greenville does the shipping.”

While many tuxedos are only available in custom sizes, Her Tuxedos are ready-made sizes because Draz recognizes that not all women are able to afford made-to-measure clothing.

“Our tuxedos are not like the fancy tuxedos a lot of actresses are wearing now,” she said. “They’re more traditional.”

Her Tuxedo also offers waistcoats, tuxedo shirts, and other accessories such as bow ties, cravats, and handkerchiefs at what Draz hopes are affordable prices.

“This company was started to empower women — especially young women so they don’t feel different for any reason,” Draz said. “I never thought I could make money out of it. I have a daughter, and I treat my son and daughter exactly the same. I don’t believe in any type of discrimination whatsoever, and that is the reason this company exists. It has been wonderful that so many people have responded positively to what we’re doing.”

To shop or learn more about Her Tuxedo, visit www.hertuxedo.com .

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