Archives: Weddings

How to choose a vintage wedding suit

Vintage weddings seem to be all the rage right now.

A quick survey on Pinterest will show a whole range of different men’s style when searching for “vintage wedding.” Some grooms are wearing 3-piece suits, whereas others are skipping the suit altogether! Some have bow ties. Some have neck ties, both skinny and wide. Some grooms wear a wide jacket lapel while others, the more Mad Men-style slim suit. The list goes on and on.

And so it is with a little bit of hesitation, and a bit of a disclaimer, that I say a vintage wedding is whatever you make it.

If by vintage you are aiming for somewhere around 1970, then your suit is going to look a whole lot different that one modeled after the 1950’s, or the 1920’s for that matter.

Nevertheless, those of us at Bespoke Edge are never short of an opinion. And so here we go, here’s our take on what a vintage wedding suit ought to look like.

The suit

So the elephant in the room is that a lot of vintage weddings out there look like the groom forgot his jacket in the car. Because there he is, standing next to his beautiful bride wearing only a vest.

Obviously, I’m a little biased since I’m in the suiting business, but I think that most brides would agree with me that they would prefer their groom be dressed in a suit.

That being said, you have a couple of options.

For a refresher on notched versus peaked lapels, check out one of my older blogs here. The takeaway is that a peaked lapel is going to be a bit more formal and the notched lapel is going to come off looking more traditional.

So you have to ask yourself, is the wedding theme going to lean towards the 1920s-Great-Gatsby-all-dressed-up look, or more like a casual outdoor gathering with a nod to the past? The former scenario may call for a peaked lapel on your jacket, and for the latter you could probably go either way, depending on the suit fabric.

And as I eluded to earlier, the lapel width will be dictated by the period. Lapels on men’s jackets were once very wide in the early 20th century, then they narrowed during the 1950s and 1960s, only to swell once more in the 1970s and 1980s (something else to bear in mind).

Wedding photographer Ashley Kidder has seen a lot of weddings and she says that “a vintage style for grooms almost always involves a fitted suit, and not the standard tuxedo. Colors other than black are very common, and navy has been a huge hit for my grooms who have looked to add a bit of vintage flair to their suit.”

Whew. Suddenly men’s style is sounding a bit complicated!

But don’t worry. Pick a time period, talk it over with your bride, and stick to it. You’re going to look great.

The tie, or bow tie

Let’s talk about the bow tie first. Because this is personally what I see most often in “vintage wedding” photos.

They are usually colorful, and that’s a great thing. It should be easy to match your bow tie to your overall wedding colors, so be sure to do that.

But what about the size? Similar to how lapels on jackets have changed over the years, so too has the width of bow ties and neck ties. There are many different styles, so many in fact, that I’m going to defer to the experts on this one.

So what about neck ties? Well, if you can find a neck tie that is actually vintage (i.e. it’s decades old!), lucky you. Just be sure that it still looks great and not like you literally found it in the bottom of an unmarked clothing trunk and didn’t bother to clean it first.

Wear a tie bar too. Tie bars sort of went away in the 1990s and early 2000s, but now they are back, and they were certainly in style during any of the vintage time periods you’re eye-balling. And nothing too flashy – the center piece is your tie, wait, scratch that – it’s your bride.

Accessories

A great fitting suit is mandatory for your wedding. But it’s the well chosen accessories will say “I know what I’m doing.”

Suspenders

Vintage weddings often have a knack for the accessories. And one that often finds its way into the limelight are suspenders. They are undoubtedly a nod to the past. Your grandpa wore suspenders and probably still does.

You should be wearing them too. Whether they are for your wedding attire or not.

But I digress.

If you are going to wear suspenders to your vintage wedding, there is really only one rule you absolutely must follow:

No belt when wearing suspenders.

One is a substitute for the other. You can wear either one, but not both.

Beyond that, have fun with it. Find something that subtly refers to your neck tie or bow tie, but that doesn’t match it exactly.

Cuff links

If you’re getting all dressed up, nothing beats cuff links.

They may take a little getting used to at first, but once you get the hang of them, you’ll be popping them through your cuffs like a pro!

Cuff links are the singular item most akin to jewelry for men. And that’s why they are usually gold, nickel plated, platinum, or something else shiny.

But for a vintage wedding, you’ll want to go a little less shiny.

And ideally, you’ll find a pair of cuff links that have just a touch of color and match the rest of your outfit. Bonus points if your cuff links refer to your neck tie.

Wrap up

One last thing to bear in mind is that certain fabrics photograph better than others. According to Ashley, “…suits with simple fabrics that don’t have much texture photograph just fine, but those with materials such as tweed, suede, or corduroy, for example, always add depth to the photos.”

Are you planning a vintage wedding? Did you find this post helpful? Let me know in the comments below.

Alternatively, did I miss my mark? Do you have a completely different interpretation of what a vintage wedding is or should be? Let’s hear your thoughts below.

By Ryan Wagner

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BE guide: How to choose a wedding suit

semi-casual wedding

A lot of couples today are realizing that they don’t want to go to the mall and rent a suit or tuxedo for their big day. Instead, grooms are beginning to realize that their wedding is the perfect opportunity to invest in a great looking suit, one that they can wear after the wedding – be that to the office or for a date night.

But when you do decide to buy a suit or tuxedo in lieu of renting, you have some decisions to make.

So, where to begin?

Based on the countless grooms we have worked with to date, we’ve complied this guide for you – a handy roadmap so that you know how to choose a wedding suit.

Follow these simple steps, and you’ll see that it’s easier than you think to find that perfect suit or tux.

#1: Occasion

Ordinarily, this is the first question you’d ask yourself when shopping for a new suit – what’s the occasion?

Fortunately, you already know this!

But we still need to consider what time of day you’ll be having your wedding. For instance, events at night usually require a darker fabric, while lighter shades like grey and tan are better for occasions held during mid-day.

Now, this isn’t to say that you can’t bend the rules a bit and sport an elegant white or cream tuxedo for an evening event, but as a rule of thumb – lighter shades for during the day and darker shades of fabric for the evening.

#2: Level of formality

Now that you know when you’ll be getting all dressed up, you need to ask yourself a few questions about the level of formality of your wedding.

As you may expect, a very formal wedding will likely be a black tie event. But what about a very casual wedding? Or someplace between the two extremes?

Let’s go over a few examples.

Casual

For discussion sake, let’s take a look at a beach wedding. This will likely mean a linen or linen/wool blended suit is appropriate. Or, at the very least, a 100% cotton suit. The weather is going to be warm so your fabric will need to breathe well to keep you comfortable and your shoes will probably be relatively casual, since you may be standing in the sand!

And you’re probably going to want to stick with a tan or other light colored fabric to refer to the beach theme.

Semi-casual

But what if you’re someplace between a formal, black tie event and the beach?

You’re not going to be wearing a tuxedo in this instance. And maybe you’re considering a venue outside. It could be a grassy open space, a chic barn, etc.

Consider the featured image above; the couple had an outdoor wedding, but the groom still opted for a 3-piece suit. He chose a softer shade in almost a grey tone, but up close the suit fabric still had a lot of texture and character.

It’s a great look.

 

Formal

This is the look that you’re probably most familiar. It’s what you see at a lot of weddings and it’s become the go-to standard. On one end of the spectrum, you have a full tuxedo with a black bow tie, and on the other end, a dark suit.

Regardless, a formal wedding means that you will want to make sure that everything else in your wedding is at a similar level of formality. Mason jars at the reception will clash with your elegant tuxedo, for instance.

formal wedding

Photo credit: Ash Imagery

 

According to Heather Dwight, of Calluna Events, “The groom’s individual style should match that of the bride, neither being more formal or less formal than her but right in line. For example, if the groom is wearing a tux the bride shouldn’t wear a short dress, but a more formal gown…The groom could opt to match the bride’s coloring – if her dress is more of a champagne his tie or pocket square could also be in that tone.”

#3: What does your bride have to say?

Did you ask your bride-to-be? She probably has an opinion!

Heather makes a good point, “Obviously, she doesn’t have to tell [you] what her dress looks like, but what type of suit would best pair with her would be a good conversation to have.”

#4: Versatility (for after the wedding)

This is an important consideration. When do you think you’ll be wearing the suit after the wedding? Hopefully, you’ll be wearing it to the office now and again. Or, maybe for fancy events with your significant other?

Let’s take a look at a couple of examples:

For work

OK, let’s say you’re going to end up wearing your (former) wedding suit to the office. If it’s your first suit, then go with something dark, like a charcoal or near black shade. It will be the most versatile for your needs.

If it’s going to be your second suit, then you have a few more options. I would recommend a navy or grey suit. Not many men own grey suits and that will help to set you apart. Navy is a little more conservative, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t sport something with a subtle plaid or textured look.

But remember, whatever you opt for, it can’t be too wild and crazy because it’s going to be your wedding suit after all!

For going out

Do you want a suit that James Bond would approve of? Then a tuxedo is the obvious answer, but a dark suit with a custom fit would be a close second.

You could go with a handful of different suit fabrics, but the takeaway is that you need something dark. Why dark? Because you’re going to be wearing this suit out and about. Whether it’s a swanky bar, another wedding, or a gala-type event, it’ll likely be at night, and so therefore, you need something dark.

#5: The Fit

A wedding suit is still a suit and that means that fit is very important – in fact, it’s the first thing people are going to notice.

So, regardless of whether you end up with a tuxedo or a dark suit or a very casual outfit, fit is key.

Even if you don’t decide to go bespoke (what!?), make sure whoever is helping you knows what he/she is doing. Because a great fit is the easiest way to look your best on your wedding day.

#6: Customization

Step #6 is the fun one!

Once you make it through Steps #1 through #5, you’ve more or less framed the scope and you know what you’re looking for.

But because a wedding suit is a very special thing, we encourage you to go the extra mile and add a few unique customizations.

Monogram

At the very least, have your name monogrammed on the inside of the jacket. Remember when you wrote your name on your jacket in grade school so that the other kids wouldn’t take it by mistake? Same thing here!

And something else that you may be interested in is adding your wedding date to the jacket, and your bride’s name. That way when you wear the suit again in the future, you’ll find a thoughtful reminder of your wedding date.

From here, you can select a handful of other customizations that can nod to the overall wedding. Maybe you want to highlight your lapel button hole with a contrast thread color that will refer to your overall wedding colors? Or maybe you want working button holes on your jacket – one of the signs of an indisputably custom suit.

Whatever you choose, make it your own

It’s your wedding, and so no one else but you and your bride should be making the decisions above. And when you know you look great in a custom suit, you can devote your attention elsewhere, where it belongs.

Remember, if we’re building a custom suit for your wedding, we’ll need at least 7 weeks to get your suit manufactured. We want to make sure it’s absolutely perfect!

By Ryan Wagner

Need some more resources? Check out our Weddings page here.

Please let us know if you have any questions with your wedding attire, we’re happy to help.

And the best way to stay in the loop with those of us at BE, is with our twice-monthly newsletter. No nonsense, only the things you want to know about dressing sharp and the occasional James Bond reference!

5 Style Tips for Grooms

Recently, I caught up with Kelly Hinde of the Little White Dress Bridal Shop and asked her if she was interested in helping me out with a blog post. In the context of Kelly’s world, I was interested in learning more about the style flaws that grooms make on their big day.

Fortunately, she was willing to share some of her insight. And after reading her responses below, it became clear that these tips aren’t just for grooms. In fact, with only minor changes to the content, I could see the headline of this blog being 5 style tips for men.

So, here you are, courtesy of Kelly Hinde of the Little White Dress Bridal Shop, 5 style tips for grooms that will help make your wedding day the best it can be.

1. Whatever you wear, make sure it fits well.

[Kelly] If you follow any advice about what you wear on your wedding day, it should be this: A groom can wear an expensive luxury suit, but if it doesn’t fit properly it just won’t look good, period. You want people to see you on your wedding day, not you in a suit that doesn’t fit well. Because trust me, if it doesn’t fit well, it’s very noticeable and distracting in person and in photos.

2. Splurge, just a little.

[Kelly] Almost all brides and grooms have to stick to a wedding budget, but what you wear on your wedding day is an area where it’s worth it to splurge, even if it’s just a little bit. Your bride is most likely spending more on her dress than she has for anything else she has ever worn, and even if style doesn’t matter as much to you, a very special day calls for special clothing. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a tux or anything too fancy, but spending at least a bit more effort on your wedding day attire than you do on a day-to-day basis is part of what makes your wedding special for you as well as for your future wife. (In other words, please no jeans! Just please.)

3. Accessorize with care.

[Kelly] I’m all for colorful socks and cuff links that show off your personality, but does your tie need to be in your favorite hockey team’s colors? No, it does not. Because you’re probably not having a hockey-themed wedding. (I may have made this exact point with my husband as he was about to order an orange Flyers tie. We compromised – I gifted him cuff links made from Flyers game-used pucks, and he bought a very classy navy blue tie.) Similarly – this is for brides too – the groom’s tie / pocket square / socks / cuff links does not need to match the exact shade of coral that you have so carefully picked out as your primary wedding color. Classic accessories with small touches of color and personality are stylish, timeless, and handsome on grooms.

4. Take charge of what you wear on your wedding day.

[Kelly] What do you want to wear as you get married? Your future wife may point you in the direction of what she pictures you wearing and what will work with the level of formality with your wedding and with the setting, but what you wear should be your own decision in the end. And while the spotlight may be mostly on your wife on your wedding day, it’s your wedding too and what you wear shouldn’t be an afterthought. Months before I chose my wedding dress, my husband told me out of the blue that he wanted to wear a navy suit – very out of character, as he is not usually one to think much about clothes. I thought, “Great! One less thing I have to figure out!” That being said, if your future wife has always dreamed of a black tie wedding but you’re more of a jeans and t-shirt guy… consider it your first act of love as a husband that you will be wearing a tux!

5. Be confident.

[Kelly] Stand up straight, smile, and be confident: you’re marrying the love of your life! The best way to look your best on your wedding day is to let your happiness show.

By Ryan Wagner, Bespoke Edge and Kelly Hinde of the Little White Dress Bridal Shop

Featured image: Ash Imagery

What’s a dinner jacket?

For many years I was under the impression that a dinner jacket was merely a jacket that you wore to dinner. No parties, no nights out. Just for dinner.

Fortunately for me, the dinner jacket’s name does not restrict its usage.

So, just what is a dinner jacket when should you wear one?

Simple answer: A dinner jacket is a tuxedo.

When we call a tuxedo a dinner jacket it’s really just using the British nomenclature. Because the two are really one in the same – a satin shawl collar and with a similar stripe down the out-seam of the trousers.

However, countries like France and Italy have been known to reference the dinner jacket as a smoking jacket.

Regardless, just think tuxedo.

According to rather second hand sources, the tuxedo first made a splash back in 1886. A gentleman by the name of Griswold Lorillard, who was the son of one of the Tuxedo Park founders (Tuxedo Park was more or less an early suburb in New York) wore a jacket to a fancy party that we would recognize today as a tuxedo. With every other guy wearing more formal attire, Griswold made an impression.

Connecting the dots, local papers coined his jacket the tuxedo.

And if you need a little guidance on what to wear to a black tie event (clearly Griswold didn’t!), I wrote an article recently on just that very topic.

But the key takeaway here is that a dinner jacket is indeed a tuxedo for all practical purposes.

So, should you receive an invite this fall to an event calling for a dinner jacket, don’t expect a big meal!

By Ryan Wagner

What’d I miss? Let us know in the comments below.

References:

Difference between a dinner jacket, blazer and sports coat

And the other version of the tuxedo’s origins: History of the tuxedo