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Evolution of suits & tuxedo style: a modern guide

We initially decided to write a guide about groom style but realized that today there are so many options besides just bride and groom. We celebrate the modern wedding including bride and groom, groom and groom or bride and bride! There are more fashion decisions than ever and we can help you navigate the regular ole suit, tux or maybe a pantsuit or two. One of the biggest overall mistakes we see is an improper fit. We’ve got you covered with this Guide. 

1. Suits. We strongly recommend you purchase a new suit for the event. If a woman chooses a suit or pantsuit (and we hope more will), she usually buys it and we think men should too! Even though it can be subtle, mens suit styles change so use your wedding as an opportunity to update your closet. Consider purchasing a specialty suit or custom suit. Definitely have it tailored well before the wedding so you can make adjustments, if needed. We cannot stress the importance of great alternations and it can be expensive, but always worth it. Men if you are wearing a two button suit, never button both buttons, always the top but never bottom. For a three button suit use the rule “sometimes, always, never.” Sometimes button the top, always button the middle and never the bottom button. If you are having two suits we would suggest coordinating but not matching. We want both parties to express their own personal style but at the same time not clash! If you are two grooms or brides, have fun with the possibilities. Women, slouchy suits (yes, think the late 90’s) are coming back this fall and I hope it will cross over to weddings.

2. Be Creative. There are lots of ways to add personal style and creativity to your overall look. We have seen shirts with embroidered monograms, the wedding date sewn on the inside pocket, a custom winter suit with a fun liner, a blue embroidered suit, or a vest. Custom cufflinks are an easy way to infuse your personality. Finally choose some statement socks and even if they are tacky they are hard to see so unlikely to offend your partner. A trend we love are custom loafers without socks. Women, embroidered shirts are IN this season. Choose an unexpected reveal: removeable skirts, capes, cutouts, sexy pantsuits and color are all trending.

3. Boutonnieres. First, if you hate them, don’t wear one! We have seen plenty of sharp looking grooms or brides in a suit with no boutonniere. You can get away with a pocket square or nothing! A boutonniere is always to be worn on the left lapel of a men’s suit or sport jacket- never directly on a shirt. If you are not wearing a jacket then forego the boutonniere entirely. The boutonniere should be small and not overwhelming. For traditional bride + groom’s we’ll request that your bride stand on the opposite site of the boutonniere-- visually it can interrupt the look and sometimes, depending on height differences it can be annoyingly close to your face. Women, I think anything goes if you are wearing a suit but we see most women choosing to go sans boutonniere and carry a bouquet, if anything.

4. Black Tie: Many weddings choose black tie as their wedding dress code, meaning a regular suit is not dressy enough. The men should ultimately be in a tuxedo jacket (white or black works) and a black bow tie. We suggest that you go for a real bow tie. It’s a great photo opp to have men actually tying the bow. If you need help learning how to tie a bow tie, take care of that long before the wedding. Tying a bow tie is a lost skill that everyone could take pride in learning. In a pinch there is always YouTube for immediate assistance. One time the St. Regis butler stepped in to save the day.

5. White Tie vs white jackets: Although rare in modern times, white tie is the most formal in Western high fashion. For men, it’s a black tailcoat worn over a white starched shirt, marcella waistcoat and a white bow tie worn around a detachable collar. Think Downton Abby! Although we haven’t seen a woman wear a white tie tuxedo, I’m sure you could find something super modern and chic in this vein. White Tie is completely different than a white tuxedo jacket or a white dinner jacket. Men can wear a white or ivory dinner jacket for tropical events with a suit but prepare to stand out. A white tuxedo jacket is always a classy look for men but really looks best with a black bow tie. Women can wear white jackets anytime! If you are getting married in a cold climate consider a jacket over your dress or over your pantsuit. Infinite options but be prepared because if you are cold it makes it impossible to take photos outdoors!

6. Renting: If you must rent, we highly recommend The Black Tux or Rent the Runway At either website customer service agents will help you get fitted and choose a garment that matches your style. Get your measurements taken at a professional alterations shop. Both sites have a wide and modern variety and are already focused on shipping directly to you (or your hotel) vs a retail location so it’s perfect for destination weddings. For the perfect fit, rent it ahead of your event to allow time to try it on and send it back or pack a solid backup. Rent the Runway allows you to order two sizes when available but you will not be able to alter their garment. There is nothing like a wardrobe disaster in a remote location! Fashion tape to the rescue. We definitely recommend packing backup shoes if you plan to rent formal mens shoes.

If you look good, you will feel good and that is half the battle with photography. Do not choose something that is uncomfortable or a style you would never wear. Chances are you will hate the photos.

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