Men´s Attire: 4 Ways The Groom Can Stand Out

September 3rd, 2004

Though senior prom may have been the last time you donned a tux, you´ll need to improve upon your high-school fashion sense for your wedding day. What´s more, the rules traditionally state that the groom and his henchmen all wear similar outfits, so it´s important to set yourself apart to help guests identify you as the guy who just locked lips with the bride at the altar.

First, learn the basic tenets of tuxedo wearing. The codes of conduct are stricter, the more formal the event. If you and yours are opting for an ultra-formal affair, your team will wear virtually the same togs, so being singular becomes a tougher task. The more casual the celebration, the more leeway you´ll have. But regardless of the sartorial dictates of your wedding, you can still shine for your nuptials -- even if you and the fellas will be garbed in similar attire. We polled the pros for the following four solutions.

Subtle differences in your jacket from those of your groomsmen are a surefire way to make your mark. For a less than ultra-formal wedding, such as a daytime affair, if you dress in a cutaway coat, your boys can wear stroller coats instead. If you select a double-breasted jacket, put your men in a single-breasted cut, suggests Colin Cowie, wedding expert and author of For the Groom. Likewise, put yourself in a one-button jacket and have the groomsmen sport a three-button version, or, if your tux has a satin lapel, the boys´ could be plain. Another option: wear a white dinner jacket, and put the groomsmen in traditional black tuxes (or vice versa).

A unique boutonniere, a "mini-corsage" worn on the jacket lapel, is the easiest way to help guests single you out. If your wedding will be very formal, run with this option. The groom can distinguish himself in several ways according to Jen Stone, owner of New York´s StoneKelly Events and Florals. The most popular boutonnieres are made of the same flower (such as stephanotis) for the groom and his groomsmen, but the groom´s would include a berry or herbal accent, such as rosemary, oregano, or mint. Another alternative would be to select a different but very similar blossom: wear a lily of the valley boutonniere, and have your men sport stephanotis. It´s a good idea to keep the flowers in the same color family for a consistent look, advises Peter Krask, a floral designer and owner of Peter M. Krask Design in New York. He suggests the groom adorn himself with a 2- or 3-blossom boutonniere and the groomsmen wear a single bloom of the identical flower. Krask also proposes the groom wear a fully open blossom while the groomsmen don buds of the same flower.

Boost your "all about me" factor by wearing a different colored tie or bow tie than the gang. For instance, if you wear a silver tie and matching vest, the groomsmen could sport a vest and tie combo that complements or matches the bridesmaid dresses. Grooms can go one step further and wear a different type of neckwear from the guys. If you choose a bow tie, the groomsmen could wear neckties with a Windsor knot, which has a triangle-shaped knot, larger than your standard, everyday four-in-hand. Or, if you plan to wear an ascot, select a matching necktie for your men.

Vests are another element of the tux with which grooms can experiment. Pick a vest that´s a different color from your groomsmen, but be sure to match patterns if you´re mixing colors. If you choose a black tie and black vest, you could put the groomsmen in a color that matches the bridesmaid dresses. Or, set yourself apart in a cummerbund and put the guys in vests.

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