“What in the world?” I thought to myself.
Having grown up in the heart of the Midwest, I’ve seen it all, and I’m bound to see more. “Was he really wearing a purple vest?” Sometimes I step back from weddings either I’ve shot or attended and just ponder the vestige of men in attendance – grooms, groomsmen, grandpas, well, maybe not grandpas. I’m here to say, men, you have options. Options other than simply choosing which tux rental store.
I’ve grown up around the wedding world. When my sister was 16 she began working at a wedding reception venue throughout high school and college. After graduating, she took on their wedding coordination and outside sales. A couple years later she opened up a wedding boutique. I was 15 when I began my career working (on and off up through college) at the same wedding reception venue as my sister. When I graduated college, I soon began photographing weddings. And recently I’ve even started designing wedding dresses. All that to say, I understand weddings, and I get the dress code of weddings and the confusion that sometimes comes with it.
Men and women, guys and gals, grooms and brides, let’s consider a few different ways to approach the man’s wedding apparel. Ready? We are going to review a few images from weddings and digest the groom, et al., formal wear.
First, let’s examine Thomas and his friends.
In the above images, Thomas is wearing a plain ole tux. But what do you take note of immediately? It fits nicely on him, right? It’s not baggy or noticeably loose but it looks classy. A downfall of men is that they rarely buy formal wear that fits. Thomas bought his tuxedo. And when you buy a tux as opposed to renting one, you can do two things: 1) You can have it altered to fit you so you look like a million bucks. Take it to your local tailor, tell him to bring the seams in, take some out of the back end, and in case you want button-suspenders have them add braces buttons – because clip-on suspenders have no place in a man’s wardrobe. 2) You can wear your tux at other formal occasions. Unlike the one-time rental, your purchased tuxedo will have a long life past its value.
Renting tuxedos generally range from $150 to $500, and purchasing $200 to 800.
Second, we have Matt and his friends with a story similar to that of Thomas. Matt purchased a fitted suit from H&M. The benefit of purchasing a suit is, again, its longevity. Matt can wear his suit ad nauseum. And what Matt told his friends is to find a gray suit – not any specific kind, just a gray one. Instead of having the typical purple vests – purple being the color of his wedding – they worked the color into the boutonniere so as to not sacrifice Matt’s handsome suit. Buying a suit can cost anywhere from $99 to $1000. A few times I found a suit I really liked, but there were front pleats or maybe too much shoulder pads that I didn’t like. A really good tailor (often referred to as a master tailor) can easily take pleats out, remove those superabundant pads. When looking for a suit, take into account what your tailor can do.
At this point you’re presented with just a few of many options that exist. But does deciding which fashion alternative to pursue appear vexing or overwhelming? Here’s a fun solution. If you love to people watch, then just grab a cup of coffee, sit outside and watch for the different styles of fashion that go by. Once you find one you like, flag him down, ask him what he’s wearing, maybe take a pic and go from there (see man below). Your wedding day apparel is the skies the limit.
Tell us what you think in the comments!
The Urban Gentlemen is a full fledged men’s fashion website, so it includes plenty more than what we need, e.g., tuxedos and suits. Notwithstanding that, a great resource for accessories.
Those on a tight budget looking to purchase tuxedos, I recently purchased a Tommy H. tux from Macy’s for just over $200. I had it tailored and now it looks fabulous.
J.Crew – though a bit pricey – offers some slick suits and tuxedos.
Images courtesy of Jonathan Daniel Frey.