Wedding Dress Guide I: The Suit
First part of Szymon Jeziorko's (author of AllTiedUp blog) guide to wedding dress.
Author: Szymon Jeziorko
Wedding is a serious thing. Sure, it’s a reason for joy and celebration, but it can also be stressful for many. There’s just so much to take care of before the big day: preparations, plans, logistical and organizational issues - and you also have to dress well. I’ll try to help out a bit with that last part.
First - a brief overview of all the available options.
The Morning Suit
The most classic and formal men’s wedding attire is the morning suit. It consists of a dark grey or black morning coat, with a single button on the front, and the front parts gently curve away to form a pair of tails behind; striped trousers; and a waistcoat. The waistcoat is usually light grey, but other pastel colours are not unheard of, like light yellow or blue. The morning suit is worn with a white shirt and a tie.
I’d say it’s a great option for menswear enthusiasts. It’s difficult to buy a classic morning suit off the peg, so the best way to get one is order bespoke. But in this day and age, most men won’t find much use for it other than their wedding, so it can share the fate of the wedding gown - it’ll be worn just this once.
The Dinner Suit
A dinner suit - or a tuxedo - is not really a wedding dress, or so the classic rules say. I’m not going to prohibit you from wearing one if you want to - how do you imagine me doing that? - but I won’t recommend it.
A classic suit is by far the most popular option for men’s wedding attire. A simple thing, one might believe: a jacket and a pair of trousers made of the same fabric - it’s not really rocket science. But there are a few things to keep in mind.
One big advantage of wearing a suit to your wedding is that it’s quite a versatile thing and you will wear it in the future too. Every man should have at least one decent suit he’ll use for all those family or business situations that require him to dress properly.
The simplest option is a worsted wool navy or dark grey two-piece suit. Two buttons on the front of the jacket, lapels that are not too skinny, flap pockets on the hips, no cuffs on the trousers. It’s quite easy to buy a suit like that, and the most important thing is to get the size right. I would recommend taking a suit you bought to an experienced tailor, who will have a look at it and help you decide whether it needs alterations to fit you better. There are small things that can change how you look in a suit quite drastically - taking in the waist, narrowing and shortening the sleeves, so that a little bit of the shirt cuff shows, hemming the trousers.
If you want the suit to look a bit more festive and formal, you can add a waistcoat. It can be made of the same fabric as the rest of the suit - and then you’ll have a three-piece suit - or it can be an odd waistcoat. A navy suit and a grey waistcoat in a subtle pattern, like Prince of Wales check, is a classic and tried combination that can look fantastic. Because the waistcoat will be covered by the jacket most of the time, you can play with more fancy details here - pick a waistcoat with lapels, or a double-breasted one. I’d steer clear of the shiny, cream-coloured ones with jacquard flowers or other things like that - they never looked good.
The jacket of a wedding suit can also distinguish itself from the common workhorse jacket with some details of the cut. It’s possible to harmoniously incorporate details that come from more formal attire, like a morning coat or a dinner jacket. Wide peaked lapels, single button on the front, besom pockets - all of this will elevate the suit above your regular work dress.
Another nice idea is a double breasted jacket. Traditionally it should have wide peaked lapels, and it looks dignified and serious. It’s not true only tall and slim men can wear double breasted suits - if it fits well, if will flatter many different body types.
The suit trousers are made of the same fabric as the jacket. They aren’t usually in the centre of attention when shopping for a suit - but if you end up with wrong ones, they will make you feel uncomfortable. I recommend at least trying on a pair of high-waisted trousers - ones that go up to your natural waist and the navel. It’s a good idea to wear trousers like that with braces rather than a belt. It is stylish and classy, yes, but it’s also so, so comfortable. The trousers stay where are supposed to, and the shirt is more likely to stay tucked in. All of this affects both the comfort and the aesthetics of the dress.
Trouser legs shouldn’t be too narrow. They shouldn’t hug your leg at any point - the ideal you should strive for is the crease going in a straight, uninterrupted line from the waistband to the hem. And you should have enough room in the thigh and knee to walk and sit comfortably, without the fabric pulling too much. You’re supposed to put the trousers on and forget about them.
This entire guide is basically a starting point for your own decisions. It’s based on some classic and quite conservative rules and standards. If you follow them, you’ll most likely look good - these are all tried solutions that have been refined to perfection over time. They’re simple instead of flashy - but the beauty of classic menswear lies in its subtlety and understatement. It’s also a good way to go if you don’t want to thing too much about what you’re going to wear for your wedding.
You don’t have to like this kind of style though. You can get creative about those rules and play with them; go off the beaten path and create your own. The traditional and classic menswear can still be an inspiration though, and I encourage you to look at it this way.