The Gentleman´s Attire: The Right Tuxedo For A Wedding

October 9th, 2004


Wedding rumor has it that the only person people notice is the lady in the white dress. Not true! Grooms get noticed, too -- especially if they´re dressed like high school prom refugees circa 1985. We know you´re used to dressing yourself in casual clothes -- but what about formal? Read on for tips and advice.

GETTING STARTED
What´s the "right" tux? Bernard Toll, a spokesman for Lord West Formalwear (they make Lord West, Perry Ellis, Chaps Ralph Lauren, and Pierre Cardin tuxedos), advises clueless grooms-to-be to enlist the help of a formalwear expert -- the salesperson at the formalwear store -- to find the right style for your wedding. "He has dressed hundreds of grooms and groomsmen," says Toll. "He knows his business." Tell him what time of day you´re getting married and how formal the wedding will be (describing where it is and what´s in store will tell him all he needs to know). Then, get ready to try on lots of styles: "The key is to see what looks and feels best, because the truth is you never know."

WHAT´S YOUR WEDDING TYPE?
Different types of weddings call for different versions of formalwear. Know these guidelines and you´ll impress everyone with your overarching fashion knowledge:

Semiformal, daytime
The groom and groomsmen wear suits (navy or charcoal are great year-round; reserve khaki or white for warm seasons) with nice shirts and four-in-hand ties (like the neckties worn with business suits). The groom can sport a unique boutonniere. Fathers, the ring bearer, and ushers also wear dark suits.

Semiformal, evening
The groom can choose a dark tuxedo with a bow tie and a cummerbund or vest (alternatively, he can wear a nice dark suit). His shirt should be white with a wing-tipped or turned-down collar. The groomsmen, fathers, and the ring bearer should wear similar formalwear, perhaps with cummerbunds that match the bridesmaid dresses, although this look can be a bit too precious. For summer weddings or tropical locales, white dinner jackets are an acceptable alternative.


Formal, daytime
Grooms have many choices for a formal daytime wedding: tuxedos, tailcoats, or gray strollers (less formal versions of the tuxedo jacket, worn with pinstriped trousers) are all appropriate. The groomsmen and ring bearer should wear similar outfits, and the fathers of the bride and groom can wear formalwear of their own choice (if Dad owns a tux, have him break it out).

Formal, evening
In the evening, formal usually means black-tie. The groom and groomsmen wear black or navy blue tuxedos with white, pleated formal shirts and black bow ties, cummerbunds, or vests. The groom may wear a vest while his groomsmen wear cummerbunds, and the groomsmen should sport different boutonnieres than the groom. Fathers and ring bearers should wear tuxes identical to the groomsmen´s. If the wedding takes place during the summer or in the tropics, a white dinner jacket with formal trousers offers a cooler option.

Ultra-formal, daytime
The groom traditionally wears a cutaway coat, gray striped trousers, gray or black vest, ascot or striped four-in-hand tie, and patent leather shoes. If you want to go all out, you can also add a top hat, spats, and gray gloves. The groomsmen, fathers, and ring bearers should wear a similar style, but can sport a different boutonniere and a slightly different shirt and tie.

Ultra-formal, evening
Break out the white tie. The groom and groomsmen should wear black tailcoats with white pique waistcoats, white pique wing-collared shirts, and bow ties. The guys can also wear fancy studs and cufflinks, and should stick with black patent leather shoes (you can skip the top hats and canes!). The groom distinguishes himself with different shirt studs or a special boutonniere, usually a sprig from the bride´s bouquet. Fathers and ring bearers wear outfits that are identical to the groomsmen´s.

by - Sara Fiedelholtz
at The Knot  

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