Thursday, March 22nd, 2012 by Faye

What’s a Groom to Wear?

Grooms, by now you’ve probably heard so much about wedding dresses that you know the difference between toile and tulle, a-line and mermaid. But have you thought about what you are supposed to wear? Read on for a rundown down of groom style elements and tips on what to wear.

Location: The more formal the setting the more formal the dress. Ballrooms can handle a formal tuxedo whereas a classic suit works best for outdoor settings.

Season: The time of year will decide the fabric weight and color. Lighter colors and fabrics such as linen, light grays, and seersucker work for spring and summer. Heavier fabrics, such as wool or velvet, and darker colors are great for winter and fall.

Your soon-to-be’s outfit: You and your soon-to-be should coordinate. We didn’t say match the flowers to your suit and cummerbund, but your respective looks should work together. If her wedding dress is a full-length ball gown you should wear an equally formal tuxedo. A tailored suit works best with brides wearing tea-length or less formal dresses.

Basic Types of Men’s Formal Wear

White Tie
White tie is the most formal option available to grooms and usually includes a tuxedo jacket with tails. For day weddings the Morning Suit is the best option. For evening weddings the Full-Dress with Tails is as formal as you can get. There are equally formal variations of military dress and Scottish Highland Dress.

Black Tie
This is the standard wedding look for most men and what comes to mind most frequently when you hear tuxedo.  Plus, every man looks amazing in a well-fitted tux! Typical elements include the jacket, un-cuffed pants with a stripe down the side, cummerbund or vest, suspenders, bow tie, cuff links, white shirt, and dress shoes. A tuxedo should not have a visible waistband, thus necessitating a cummerbund or vest.

Classic Suit
Every man should have one perfectly fitting suit in his closet and a wedding is the perfect time to get that suit.  Typical elements include the jacket, matching pants, collared shirt, tie or bow tie, and possibly a vest for a three-piece suit. For summer or spring weddings, linen pants with a different colored jacket work nicely.

The Jackets

The Cutaway or Morning Jacket
This is the most formal attire for a daytime wedding. Typically the single button coat has a broad tail in back and is black or grey. Pants are grey or grey with pinstripes. The style mandates a vest, winged-collared shirt, and an ascot or broad tie. Grooms can choose to further accessorize with a cane, formal gloves, spats, a top hat, and a cane. Beware, this style turns into a costume quickly if you don’t match the formality of the event and can’t walk with confidence!

Full-Dress Tails
Imagine Fred Astaire, Clark Gable or Prince William. AKA formal men at the most formal of evening events! The jacket is shorter in front and has two long tails in the back. A white pique shirt with white bow tie is standard, as well as a vest and suspenders.

Single Breasted Tuxedo

Grooms cannot go wrong with this classic cut. A well-fitted tux with a single button at the waist is quite slimming and flattering to most. The tuxedo jacket is standard attire for formal events after 6pm, but can be worn at a wedding where the ceremony takes place at noon followed by an evening reception. Typical colors are black and grey, with either a shawl, peaked, or notched lapel. Satin accents on the lapel and matching the tuxedo strips on the pants are common. Accessories include a vest or cummerbund, tie or bow tie, suspenders, cufflinks, and a white shirt.

The Stroller
This is a lightly less formal variation of the Morning Jacket. The stroller has no tails, but is longer than a tuxedo jacket and therefore more formal. A tie or ascot and a vest go with this typically grey jacket.

Double Breasted Tuxedo
Similar in most aspects to the tuxedo jacket except in place of one row of buttons there are two. This style is always worn closed and without a vest of cummerbund, but with suspenders. A tie or bow tie works. Typical lapels are the shawl or peaked style.

The Lapels

The notched lapel is similar to what you see on everyday suits. V-shaped cutouts point inward to where the collar and lapel meet the jacket. Because this style accentuates the horizontal, it is not ideal for heavier men.

This dramatic style has two points of fabric that face upwards with narrow spacing in between the lapel and collar. The peaked lapel can give definition to rounder faces and can be fairly slimming.

Most recognize the shawl collar as vintage-inspired and it certainly adds a touch of retro and rock n' roll to any wedding style. This lapel has a round line with no peaks and works for most body types.

The Shirts and Collars
Grooms today are allowed to have more fun with shirts.That being said there are a few guidliens. A lighter colored jacket (such as linen) can work with a non-white shirt, but a black suit works best with white.  The overall rule is to make sure your entire suit matches the style of the wedding and coordinates with your soon-to-be. We don’t recommend novelty shirts, you are almost sure to look back at the photos and grimace.  For collars there are three standard styles:

You will recognize a winged collar on most men’s dress shirts. It looks elegant and works with a bow tie or necktie.

This more contemporary look works best with a simple necktie.

This collar is a single band, has no folder over aspect, and cannot be worn with any neckwear. It is a stunning style and its simplicity is quite elegant.

The Shoes
Guys have always been lucky in the shoe department because you don’t have to wear heels! Now you are even luckier; shoes are one area where most style rules have gone out the window. We see (and love) guys wearing Toms (they even make them in leather for a more formal look), Nikes, and Converses of all colors. We do not condone flip-flops, unless you are on the beach.

If you want to save the sneakers for the gym here is a run down of the classic styles.

In either black patent leather or very shiny leather this is the natural choice for a tuxedo.

Often made out of suede or matte leather, this style works best with more casual suiting, non-black colors, and is the perfect choice for warm weather weddings.

Velvet Evening Slipper
This classic and dashing choice is perfect with a formal tuxedo for a polished look.

Don’t forget!
Socks! This is not time for white tube socks or letting your toes go commando. Dress socks finish the look. For a more playful vibe, argyle or patterned novelty socks are fun and make clever groomsmen gifts.

Keep the jewelry minimal. A simple watch, your wedding band, and a nice pair of cufflinks are all you need for the wedding day. And if you don’t have a set of cufflinks worthy of your white aisle, consider dropping a few hints to your soon-to-be about what a nice groom’s gift they would make!