Formalwear 101

Choosing a tux might just be the easiest wedding-related decision you’ll make. After all, it’s hard to go wrong with a suit that has changed so modestly in the past 120 years. In fact, if you compare today’s tuxedo with the one your father wore at his wedding, you’ll likely see only slight variations (provided dad didn’t wear a ruffled shirt). The single-breasted notch lapel tuxedo, is a classic look that never goes out of style. Searching for your own take on the traditional tux? From ties and vests to buttons and shoes, here’s the straight talk on your options, along with styles that best suit your groom’s silhouette.

TIE ONE ON

When it comes to ties there’s standard, and then there’s spectacular. While the classic bow tie will always be a perennial favorite, there are other options for grooms who choose to venture outside the norm.

One of the most popular styles, the four-in-hand, is similar to a standard business tie. Paired with a matching full-backed vest in a subtle pattern, a four-in-hand is the top choice.

JACKET REQUIRED

The key to a flattering tuxedo often lies in the jacket. The right one can whittle the waist, lengthen the torso, or add the appearance of broader shoulders. The most common jacket is single breasted with a shawl lapel. This look is perfect for both short and tall men with more of a stocky or husky appearance. The same jacket with a notched lapel would flatter a short, thin groom because the notch in the lapel gives the appearance of broader shoulders.

A double-breasted jacket is great for thinner men because the eyes are drawn to the two rows of buttons at
the midsection and gives the illusion of girth. With a double- breasted jacket, the shoulders can also be padded a bit to give the wearer the appearance of broader shoulders while still retaining the look of his trim waistline.

 

SOMEWHERE BETWEEN BLACK & WHITE


The color of your groom’s tuxedo is up to the two of you. Take into account the formality of your celebration, along with the time of day. If you’re planning an afternoon ceremony, a gray tuxedo with a stroller jacket is the standard look. A more casual celebration closer to evening might call for a white dinner jacket with black trousers and tie. A formal evening affair warrants the classic black tuxedo. Keep in mind, however, that traditions are just that and the two of you should choose the style and color that you want, no matter the time of day or the formality of the occasion.

FINISH THE LOOK

Finally, complete the formal look with matching socks and shoes. The guys’ socks should either be the same color as their shoes, or show some personality and match the colors in your wedding, which make for some great photo ops. Nowadays men are choosing less formal shoes and also showing personality with matching “Chucks” or “Toms.” But if needed, formal shoes can be rented from your formalwear company. Styles vary from slip-on versions with a parade shine to mock wingtips in classic black.

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