the ultimate guide to dressing your guy

Whether’s its your husband-to-be, his groomsmen, or your own father, you’re going to want them to look their best at your wedding! Courtesy of The Dark Knot (creators of gorgeous silk ties, and tie of the month clubs! Hello perfect groomsmen gift…) today’s post is truly the ultimate guide to dressing your guy!

Rishi Chullani is a necktie entrepreneur and men’s formal wear style blogger with The Dark Knot.  With approximately 120 designs, The Dark Knot carries printed and woven silk ties across a range of patterns and styles. Please read through to the end of the article to see our fabulous special discounted rates we are offering Burnett Board’s readers, along with one amazingly packaged set (limited time only) and a Six Tie Giveaway!

The Ultimate Guide to dressing men for your weddingFrom The Wedding Chicks, shot by Kallima Photography

So how do we guide your husband to be in choosing the perfect wedding suit? While seasonal, theme and body type considerations should come into play, it should all ultimately be worked backwards from the color selection and theme you are adopting for your wedding, and be worked in from there. If you know you are really striving for that gorgeous purple wedding gown you’ve had your eyes on for a while, for example, a linen suit may not perfectly line up with a brightly colored purple tie that you would like him to adorn. From there, you could meet each other half way as he chooses based on alternatives of darker colored suits such as a navy or charcoal grey. As long as the effort is collaborative, with your color and theme in mind, we should be able to help you guide your man to look just as snazzy (ok, maybe half a notch below!) you on the big day! Picture Perfect!

Please remember, we are assuming that these wedding suits are considered options only once you have worked out your wedding colors and themes. Working backwards from there will be significantly easier than having him pick a suit and then realizing it doesn’t gel with what your vision is for your biggest day.

With all of this having been established, let’s lay out the essential considerations that we will detail below in helping your fiancée choose the perfect wedding suit or tuxedo. These considerations will save you money in the long run, will help him look his best, and most importantly, will help you two reach your savvy and stylistic potential that your wedding day deserves!

  1. Ensuring that his wedding day attire is in sync with your dress, and hence the theme and color choice of your wedding.
  2. Deciding whether to Buy versus to Rent (as you will see, buying is a better long-term investment!)
  3. Finding the right tailor for his bespoke suit or tuxedo!
  4. Ensuring that the fit of the Suit / Tuxedo meets quality Bespoke Standards.
  5. Formality level (Black Tie vs Semi-Formal / Casual)
  6. Wedding venue considerations (City Wedding vs Country Wedding vs Beach)
  7. Seasonal Considerations (Spring/Summer vs Fall Winter) and Time of Day (Morning / Night)
  8. Your Fiancée’s body type considerations.
  9. Accessories considerations.

Geez, that is a lot of information we’re going to have to digest! Don’t worry about it. I have broken this down in as organized a manner as possible, providing enough detail to springboard your and his thought process about how he should dress!

  1. His attire should coordinate with yours

This special day is an opportunity to show off your joint efforts! While you may not actually want to try on your gown in front of him before the wedding, you will want to make sure that your styles coordinate. If your dress is a ball gown, you will not want him strutting a linen suit; you’d prefer him in a classic black tuxedo. Other combinations that could work well are: a rustic lace gown paired with a tailored tan suit, or a streamlined city-appropriate gown combined with a tailored cut grey suit.

Groom's AttireFrom Style Me Pretty, shot by Bryce Covey Photography

  1. Buying a Wedding Suit or Tuxedo versus Renting

Irrespective of your choice of wedding color and theme, I would advocate buying a wedding suit or tuxedo, and specifically, tailored, versus renting. While rental saves cash in the short run, the potential cost of alterations plus not being able to wear the suit or tuxedo on days leading up to or after the wedding really suggest that buying is a better investment.

  1. Finding the Right Tailor

Coming from a tailoring family background, I can safely say that seeing your fiancée in a bespoke wedding suit or tuxedo will make you feel that he is wearing the suit, versus the suit wearing him, which is unfortunately the case with many an off the rack retailer.

  1. Finding the right tailor. As we know, fabric and fit mean everything for a gentleman’s suit, and without the right tailor taking the best measurements and without your best interests at heart, the suit will inevitably ending up looking shoddy. Finding the right tailor is like searching for a needle in a haystack (as cliché as that sounds), and so start your search for a tailor as early as possible! A bespoke tailor, by trade, is supposed to be an individual that treats his product with compassion, and as an extension of that, cares about every detail in your outfit. This meticulousness should be the yardstick by which you measure his craft as a tailor. Most tailors are pump and dump houses. They want you in and out. They probably won’t even check your measurements once construction is finished. A meticulous, caring tailor on the other hand, will really pay attention to the details.

If the tailor is attentive to what you want, and asks for what you are specifically interested in, chances are a lot higher that he is a tailor of significantly higher quality than average. If he asks what kind of collar you would like your shirt with, whether you want center or side pleats at the back of your shirts, how much longer than your suit you want your shirt sleeve length to be, whether you want an allowance on one cuff for your wrist watch, what type of monograms you want, and whether you want collar stays in your shirt, you know he is attentive!

Ultimate guide to menswear for weddingsFrom One Fab Day, photographed by This Modern Love

Regarding the suit, if he asks your fiancée about his preferred lapel width, how many buttons he would like, whether he would like workable buttons (most suit sleeve buttons are permanently sewn in), his preferred lining color and whether he would like reinforced fabric on the back of his pants so that his shoes don’t wear it out, you know he is attentive!

If on the other hand he is taking measurements quickly and seems eager to move onto the next guy / girl and doesn’t generally offer you choices unless you specifically ask for them – and when you do ask for them – he seems a little hesitant, then you know he’s in the game for one thing only – and that is volume and selling as many bespoke suits and tuxedos as possible, irrespective of quality. That’s when you run for the doors!

  1. Fabric Quality. Once the right tailor has been chosen, it all starts with the fabric. There are methods aplenty for sewing a suit, but it ultimately boils down to the ingredients, in this case, being the fabric. Your fiancée’s suit fabric will not only determine how his suit will look and feel, but also how it will perform over time. Try avoiding anything with a synthetic blend, and start to look for a 100% worsted wool from a trusted mill in the ‘super 110’s to 120’s’ thread count for the best combination of luxury and durability.
  1. Understand that tailors specific cut. Every tailor will have their own style of cut that they prefer. Some tailors may work more closely with older clientele, who often prefer a suit with slightly more allowance, while tailors catering to younger clientele may be used to a more slim fitting cut that is tapered and shorter (suit jackets typically end right where the rear end is cut off!). Trying on a sample jacket or suit will give you a sense as to how this tailor likes to typically cut their suits!
  1. Avoid trends as much as possible. If a current trend seems extreme, which trends often are, such as super narrow or super wide lapels, refrain from them. If you are investing good money in a bespoke suit or tuxedo, it is best to go with something that is timeless, and that will look timeless when you are looking back at your wedding pictures!
  1. Avoid being impressed by really high thread counts. Thread count represents the number of fibers spun into a unit measure of cloth, and indicates only the fineness of the fibers. It can mean that the cloth can have great feel and sheen, but its important to note that the finer the fabric, the less durable it is. A Super 150 or Super 180 suit is a great buy if your fiancée’s wardrobe is already stacked with suits. If this is only his third or fourth suit and will be wearing it leading up to the big day or post wedding, it is best to go with a Super 110 count or so.
  1. Get to a stable body shape before ordering. If your fiancée is planning on or currently working through a major body transformation in preparation for your big day, try to wait until he reaches a stable weight level before investing good dollar into custom clothing. There is nothing more frustrating for a buyer of a finely constructed tailored suit realizing than the suit has become too tight or is too loose a couple of months after having made a purchase. Remember, the goal is to minimize stress in the period immediately leading up to your wedding, and so having these finer details paid attention to will help you both immensely in keeping calm before your special day!
  1. Take care of your suits! Generally speaking, he should dry clean his suits as little as possible (only when they are physically dirty from spills or sweat). Dry cleaning is a chemical wash that slowly erodes fabric – essentially scraping away at the surface layer. Alternatively, if you or him feel that his suit should be ‘refreshed’ he can have it steamed or pressed.

Blush tie for groomFrom Burnett’s Boards, photographed by Anastasiya Belik

4. Suit / Tuxedo Fit

So now that we have a general guideline regarding finding the best tailor possible, how do we determine if his wedding day ensemble is of the right fit. Here are a few key items worth considering when discerning so:

  • The jacket sleeve hem should fall at the wrist bone, with about one-quarter to one half of an inch of the shirt cuff exposed below the jacket sleeve!
  • The bottom hem of the jacket should cover his rear end and the vent shouldn’t pull open. If it does, this means that it is too tight!
  • The collar should lie flat on the back and sides of the neck without any gaps or bulges 
  • Pants should fit comfortably when standing and sitting and break across the top of the shoes so that they cover the upper one-third.
  • A bow tie should fit snug around the collar

Groom's TuxFrom Brides, photographed by Lilian Haider

  1. Black Tie vs Semi-Formal / Casual

Before delving into formal wear attire, most commonly known as ‘Black Tie’, I would like to point out that formal wear with regarding to wedding attire used to historically be reserved for white tie weddings, with tail coats. However, given that close to 99% of people would never really consider a white tie wedding, I thought it would be appropriate to break out this section with Black Tie vs Semi Formal / Casual.

Black Tie

So you want your wedding to be the fanciest event in town? Who wouldn’t?!? A Black Tie wedding, which connotes the wearing of a tuxedo, is your perfect option here. A single breasted tuxedo with a notched lapel would flatter any body type. Peaked lapels, as seen below, help to accentuate slimmer and longer torsos, which are always a great option if your fiancée is tall and /or athletic looking, with the points of the peaked lapels really drawing attention up from his torso and towards his face. Contrary to what most men actually believe, the whole purpose of wearing a well fitted suit, tuxedo or any item of clothing for that matter, is that it should draw attention up to the wearer’s face, while providing as few distractions as possible. This is why we will see, as discussed later, why color and pattern theory are so critical to creating the most seamless look.

So before I digress, a fantastic alternative to the peaked lapel (favoring slimmer/ more athletic body types), is the shawl lapel. Because a shawl lapel is rounded and wraps all the way around the wearers neck, it is best suited to taller, more athletic looking men. Our goals are always to accentuate areas that we consider a ‘positive’ aesthetically and to minimize areas that we would like to taper in. With a slimmer fiancée, the shawl lapel will really help to accentuate that. Conversely, a shawl lapel with a more heavy body type will accentuate rounded features.

A formal tuxedo shirt will have a pleated front (to the waist only, so that it doesn’t buckle when he sits down!). The waist is always covered with either a cummerbund, waistcoat or double-breasted dinner suit jacket, which should remained buttoned at all times.

Tuxedo trousers typically have a stripe up the outside leg of the seam of satin, silk or grosgrain (ribbed fabric), that matches the lapel and button facing of the jacket! While tuxedo pants can be pleated, given the modern man’s inclination towards fitted jackets, for both suits and tuxedos, flat front pants would be an ideal option. Oh, and please, try to avoid cuffs for his Tuxedo!

Southern Wedding AttireFrom Southern Weddings, shot by Jonathan Canlas

Semi-Formal

Semi-Formal Attire in Wedding parlance is otherwise considered formal wear in everyday life i.e a suit, shirt and tie. The choice to wear a suit is often adopted in modern-day weddings as an alternative to a black tie event. It still presents the groom with an opportunity to dress for the day, with more flexibility as compared to a black tie wedding. The choice of suit will often be accompanied by other factors such as wedding venue (discussed below) seasonal considerations (discussed below) and potentially your fiancee’s body type (also discussed below!), but can be largely broken down into the following categories:

Modern Day Suit – Simple, elegant, preferably slim fit (depending on the groom) two piece suit and easily accessorized with a fun colored necktie to coordinate with the bridal party.

Slim Cut 3 Piece Suit – A Dapper and fun alternative to the Modern Day Suit, a 3 Piece Suit will allow your fiancée to really stand apart from the crowd, while still looking modern and fresh. A smart choice of cufflinks and ties are essential (please read below), while a pocket watch could add a vintage feel!

Waistcoat & Bow Tie / Tie – A relaxed and informal look for a groom, and probably best suited towards a summer wedding. It is probably safest to buy a jacket if needed, just in case! 

Casual Suit / Jacket – A linen or cotton suit can make for a casual yet extremely comfortable wedding ensemble for your fiancée / husband to be! In winter, he can opt for a woolen jacket and trousers instead. Either can be accessorized with a different textured fabric tie or bow tie to add variation and intrigue to his outfit!

  1. Wedding Venue Considerations

City Wedding

City Weddings are generally better suited (no pun intended) with darker colored suits. If the both of you are investing in a bespoke suit, a suit that would be functional year round would be your best bet (unless he already has 10 suits in his wardrobe and this is specifically just for wedding day!). A Darker, navy blue or subtle pinstripe or self-striped (stripe same as pattern fabric) charcoal grey suit would suit the occasion extremely well. Note that a self-striped suit, for example, a charcoal grey herringbone self- striped suit (alternating stripes with diagonal lines in opposing directions) would add an element of texture and weave to a suit that from afar looks like a solid but up close exhibits a finer attention to detail.

How about adding in some color combinations that make the outfit look interesting, such as a red or pink tie against a blue shirt? As we will discuss below, remember to keep patterns of similar style in different proportions so as to ensure that the outfit does not look overly busy.

Country Wedding

For a country wedding, the attire can be dimmed down accordingly. A pale grey, pale blue or cream suit would work perfectly in this situation, especially if you envision yourself, as most country weddings should be, standing on the lawns of an esteemed estate! Hence, you generally should have more flexibility with your suit colors and choice of fabric. Now would be a great time to experiment with a linen or cotton suit, especially if it’s during the summer!

Groom's AttireFrom Ruffled, shot by W&E Photographie

Beach Wedding

Need we say more? A lighter, more breathable fabric, along with spring and summer pastel colors would work really well here. An example could be a Linen or Seersucker Suit with a Pink or Lilac Tie!

  1. Seasonal Considerations

Depending on the time of year that the wedding is at, seasonal considerations can help point you in an appropriate direction regarding colors for your suit. Lighter colored options can be used for accessories, if not the suit and shirt itself, during spring and summer months, and darker colored ties can be used during the fall and winter such as navy blue, olive-green and burgundy!

The time of day the wedding is taking place can also prove to be helpful when discerning which colors your husband to be should strut. Again, lighter colors generally work better during the day and darker colors look more appropriate at night.

Beach wedding attireFrom Style Me Pretty, shot by Emily Blake Photography

  1. Body Type Considerations

It is important to note, that as a general rule of thumb, your fiancee’s body type should dictate his suit. If he’s tall and thin, neither of you have to fret too much! Most tuxedos and suits will flatter his frame. If you would like to increase his perceived width, try a double-breasted suit, which will make him look broader. To increase his perceived vertical lines and hence ‘slim’ him down, try a fitted suit that is well tapered around the waist, accentuating a leaner silhouette.

Darker colored suits are generally preferred over lighter colored suits when looking for perceived slimness. Shorter grooms should look for a two or three button jacket with a lower button stance to increase vertical perceived lines and hence elongate the torso and body.

  1. Accessorizing His Suit

When choosing to accessorize his suit, try to inject some flair with the details such as lapel flowers or his cufflinks.

Lapel Flowers

Lapel flowers could match the color of the actual flowers at the wedding, or to a secondary color in your bridal gown!

Cufflinks

His cufflinks could match a detail such as the color of his vest, or metallic wise match the color of his belt buckle

Ties

– Regarding neckties (which The Dark Knot specializes in), there are several considerations to make when choosing the right tie if you haven’t opted for a Black Tie wedding.

– If your wedding palette has two colors, he can wear one of the colors for his tie while the groomsmen’s ties could be the other color

– If your wedding color scheme is a ‘traditional color’, for example Scarlet Red or Ivory, you are more likely to find matching ties or cravats as these colors are widely available. However, the more specialized the color of your wedding, the more flexible you will have to be with his choice for ties, as most necktie manufacturers will make ties in a few shades of color. In situations like this, you will need to find your closest match.

– As with other wedding attire considerations, the wedding venue, season and time of wedding should all play into the tie that he chooses.

– Providing you are getting married in the city and / or the evening, a darker colored solid tie or patterned / abstract tie with a subtle design will most likely do the trick. If he can incorporate all of this while matching a tie to your gown, or incorporating certain color elements of your gown, you will be sure to stand out and look elegant as a couple.

– Wearing a solid colored tie will allow him to look sophisticated, yet muted, allowing you to take center stage!

– Conversely, for an evening or winter wedding, he could go for a subtle patterned abstract tie. Single Tones usually work well in this regard, as a lack of contrast between two necktie colors will have him looking sophisticated in a somewhat understated way. This will allow him to look refined while still drawing attention to your beautiful wedding gown!

– Another option that he can exercise is to select a tie that matches his metallic accessories such as his belt or cufflink. In this case, a subtly patterned grey necktie would work wonders.

– For a day time wedding, especially if it’s during the summer, why not try on a lighter colored pastel solid tie? Alternatively, you could experiment with an animal motif print tie! These ties provide a vibrant color scheme from afar, and whose patterns are only noticeable upon closer examination! These ties are a great way to inject flair and personality into his wedding outfit!

Groom and GroomsmenFrom The Wedding Scoop, photographed by Ben Yew

The Dark Knot is offering Burnett Board’s readers the following special discounted offerings (please use discount codes at checkout):

15% off all orders sitewide: BURNETT1
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Apply this 25% off to our Tie Starter Kit (already discounted at 6 Ties for $249 versus $330 original value), and you will get 6 Ties for $187, with Free Shipping Globally!! In addition to that, we will help your man with a Free Style Consultation, whether its ties for himself and his groomsmen for the big day, his daily work needs, or other lifestyle areas such as presentations, social life or events like the Kentucky Derby that he would like his ties for!

So that will be $187 for Six Ties, Plus a Free Style Consultation, with Free Shipping Globally (limited time offer for six tie set, available until end of June 2015).

Additionally, The Dark Knot is giving away six free ties to a lucky winner!  Please sign up at THIS page.

Contest ends 11:59PM EST Wednesday June 24th. The winner will be announced on Thursday, June 25th, 2015.

*Partnered Post from The Dark Knot

About Sara Burnett

Editor of Burnett's Boards, which she founded to showcase global creativity in the wedding industry. Sara currently lives out of a suitcase while island hopping the Caribbean and beyond. Learn More // Follow on Instagram.

Comments

  1. Great post!

  2. Thank you Stephanie! Glad you found the information helpful!