When it comes to weddings, the spotlight often shines brightly on the bride. Conversations about dresses, themes, and decorations dominate the scene. However, it’s crucial not to forget the groom’s significant role in the wedding and the attention his attire deserves.
We spoke to Michael Andrews, New York’s most experienced customed tailor, to explore the world of men’s wedding fashion, specifically, the difference between custom-tailored suits and off-the-rack options, ensuring that both grooms and groomsmen look their absolute best on the big day.
Introducing Michael Andrews: The Man Behind the Suits
Michael Andrews is a former M&A lawyer who founded his company, Michael Andrews Bespoke, 13 years ago. His motivation was simple yet profound: to provide men with better styling and fit options for their special day. He noticed a lack of style and fit options in the market, which led him to create his own path. Over the years, Michael Andrews Bespoke has become New York’s premier custom tailor shop, dedicated to providing men with exceptional styling, fit, and choices. Michael shares with us his top tips on groom and groomsmen attire — read on to uncover his expert insight!
When to Start Planning Your Wedding Attire
If you’ve ever wondered when to start thinking about the groom’s wedding attire, the answer is simple: the sooner, the better. As a general guideline, once you have chosen the wedding venue, theme, and wedding dress, it’s time to turn your attention to the men’s attire.
Starting early allows ample time for decision-making, fittings, alterations, and ensuring everyone looks their best. It’s recommended to initiate the process around six to eight months before the wedding. This provides sufficient time to explore different attire options, decide between a custom-tailored suit or buying in store, choose colors and styles that complement the wedding theme, and schedule fittings to ensure the perfect fit. Early planning always reduces stress, minimizes the risk of last-minute wardrobe issues, and ensures a polished, coordinated appearance for the entire wedding party on the big day.
Suit vs. Tuxedo: What’s the Right Choice?
Deciding between a suit and a tuxedo is a fundamental step in the process. Currently, formal wear is making a strong comeback, but the choice between a suit and a tuxedo largely depends on the formality of the wedding. Here’s the breakdown:
Slightly less than half of weddings are formal events these days. With the rise of destination weddings in exotic locations, there’s a growing trend towards less formal attire. If the wedding invitation specifies cocktail attire or dressy casual, a suit is appropriate. Opt for a well-fitted suit in classic colors like navy, charcoal, or light gray. Pair it with a dress shirt, tie, and dress shoes. Lighter-colored suits work well for spring and summer weddings, while darker suits are suitable for fall and winter.
Traditional black-tie weddings are timeless classics. If the wedding invitation states “black tie,” a tuxedo is the way to go. Locations like Manhattan ballrooms often demand black-tie attire. Traditional black tie attire includes a black tuxedo jacket, black trousers, a white dress shirt, a black bow tie, and black dress shoes. Navy and charcoal options can offer a modern twist.
Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, and it’s essential to align your choice with the wedding’s theme and location.
Navigating Personal Style: Custom-tailored vs. Store-Bought
Now, let’s tackle the heart of the matter: should the groom go for a custom-tailored suit or opt for something store-bought? The choice between custom and store-bought ultimately depends on your budget, the level of personalization they desire, and the importance they place on fit and quality. Remember, the groom’s outfit is an investment that can be worn for years to come, making custom tailoring a compelling option. Let’s look at reasons for store-bought vs custom-tailored suits.
Why You Could Consider Store-Bought Suits
Cost-Effective: Store-bought suits are often more affordable than custom-tailored options. This can be a significant advantage, especially if you’re working with a tight budget or if groomsmen are responsible for purchasing their own attire.
Convenience: These suits are readily available at a variety of retailers, including department stores, men’s clothing shops, and online. This makes the shopping process convenient and accessible for both the groom and groomsmen.
Accessibility for Groomsmen: Groomsmen are often scattered geographically, making it challenging to visit a tailor for custom fittings. Store-bought suits can be ordered online or purchased locally, accommodating the needs of all members of the wedding party.
3 Reasons to Go for Custom-Tailored Suits:
The fit of a custom-tailored suit is unmatched. It’s made to the men’s precise measurements, ensuring a flattering and comfortable fit. They are crafted to fit each groomsman’s body like a glove, which ensures a sleek and polished appearance, enhancing their overall comfort and confidence on the wedding day. Custom suits are exclusive and designed specifically for each groomsman. This exclusivity can be a meaningful and memorable part of the wedding experience.
For those choosing the custom route, the jacket lining is a hidden canvas for personal expression. It may not be immediately visible, but it offers a unique opportunity to add a personal touch to their attire. They can select from various fabrics and even include personal mementos that hold meaning to you as a couple. Some memorable personalizations I’ve witnessed include a client who had a map from Afghanistan as their lining, and another who had a picture of their proposal moment sewn into their tuxedo lining. The possibilities are endless, making the groom’s wedding attire truly their own.
A well-crafted custom suit is a long-term investment. It’s an outfit that they can wear repeatedly, making it a worthwhile expense. Maintaining quality control and attention to detail is paramount in the world of custom tailoring. Each garment is bench-made by a single tailor, ensuring that every detail aligns with the client’s vision. A well-tailored suit can last for many years, making it a valuable addition to each groomsman’s wardrobe. It also serves as a lasting memento of the special day.
Final Tips for Grooms and Groomsmen
Here are some final tips to consider when selecting the groom and groomsmen attire, to ensure they look smart and elegant all day.
Coordinating Wedding Party Attire
Let’s address the common question of whether the groom and groomsmen should match. While strict matching isn’t always necessary, it’s crucial to have a coordinated look for the wedding party. The consensus is that the groom and groomsmen should coordinate their attire while maintaining room for individual expression. As for the fathers of the bride and groom, coordination is key, but they don’t need to wear identical outfits. Everyone can express their style while adhering to the wedding’s broader theme.
If you and the groom want a coordinated look for your wedding party but still desire some individuality, custom tailors can create suits that share common elements, such as matching lapels or lining, while allowing variations in style or color to distinguish the groom from the groomsmen.
Avoid Renting Tuxedos
Rented tuxedos often don’t fit well and may not meet your expectations. Also, many brides invest a lot of time and effort into finding the perfect wedding dress. Renting a tuxedo for the groom and groomsmen may feel like a mismatch in terms of the level of investment and commitment to the wedding attire. Couples who have a specific color or unique style in mind may also find it challenging to achieve their vision through rentals. If the groomsmen already own a well-fitting tuxedo, encourage them to wear it. It’s a cost-effective and stylish choice and better than renting a tuxedo just for the day.
Overall, the groom’s wedding attire is an essential part of your big day. It’s an investment that should reflect their unique style and personality. Whether they choose custom-tailored suits or store-bought options, make sure it aligns with your whole vision and makes them feel exceptional on this significant occasion.