Grooms, we’ve got you! You’d be forgiven if you thought that grooms didn’t even shop for their wedding outfit – there’s hardly any literature out there for grooms who want and need some support in the suit domain. However, we totally understand that grooms also worry about looking and feeling great on their wedding day – and many people forget, it is your day too! – so we’ve chatted to some our favourite tailors to bring you a wedding suit guide.
Whether you’re going faaaancy or super-lowkey, here’s our guide on how to choose your wedding suit:
What should clients look for when choosing a suit?
Karlus, co-owner of Karlus G. Tailor, says the first thing to think about is where you’ll be wearing the suit. As this is a wedding blog, you may think this has been pretty conclusively covered, but there’s more to it than you think: “Whereabouts in the world will you be wearing the suit, and how regularly will it be worn?’ he asks. “These are important questions as the fabric here will be very important. I would always recommend choosing a natural fabric, like wool, cotton, linen, silk or a blend of them – they’ll allow your body to breathe in the warmth but can also help keep you warm in the cold. There’s nothing worse than feeling hot and clammy in your suit on your wedding day!”
Jessica from The Vintage Suit Hire Co. also notes that it’s good to think about what your priorities are with your suit. “Is there a group of you? Do you want to match your groomsmen, compliment them or contrast against them? Our customers like how the hire suits we offer are the same design as our purchase suits so grooms can buy theirs to keep and groomsmen don’t have to make the same investment, but that they’re also in complementary shades so there’s always the option to mix and match colours.”
Karlus also says looking at elements of wedding suit styles you like and want to emulate is handy. “A typical conversation we have with a new client goes like this: “So what type of suit would you like?” “Black, blue, or grey.” “So what style do you like?” “Erm…what do you mean?!” Things to think about are lapel type – peak, notch or shawl? Wide or narrow? Pocketswise, do you want jetted or patch? Do you want vents (splits) in the side or centre? Patterned or plain?” There’s loads of ways you can personalise your wedding style so you can end up with a GQ-worthy wedding suit!
How far in advance do you need to buy/hire a suit?
The sweet spot for suit buying or hiring is about 6 months before, according to our top tailors. “This gives us enough time to get all party members in to be sized up, and to make sure we can get all sizes in stock.” Vanessa at The Bridgewater Menswear explains. However, for peace of mind, you can secure your slot earlier: “We find that we can get fully booked at least 3 months ahead for popular wedding dates during Spring to Autumn, so some clients first come to see us a year or more ahead of their wedding date for peace of mind,” Jessica notes. This isn’t to say that you’ll have your in-depth fittings done then though, just to secure your date: “It’s best to have the work started on a wedding suit about 3 to 6 months from when you’d like to wear it,” Karlus says. “Any longer, and your body may go through changes, so a shorter time period tends to avoid these extra fittings.”
What happens if you don’t want to wear a really formal suit?
One of the downsides to not having much wedding suit guidance out there is that a lot of the time, grooms still feel like they have to dress super formally, even when there’s a proliferation of alternative wedding advice for brides. However, suit shops won’t be stumped if you go in looking for a less formal suit style for your wedding – in fact, they’ll be positively delighted! “Creating a bespoke suit that eschews the formal suit is what whets our appetite as creative tailors who like to give our clients choices!” Karlus says.
Vanessa suggests no waistcoat or an open shirt with no neckwear is a good starting point to making a more relaxed wedding suit. Jessica also recommends: “tweed suits are great for a more relaxed, rustic vibe, and are really versatile. For something less formal, think about the style of shirt you wear underneath – it doesn’t necessarily have to be a stiff collar and double cuff. Maybe look at swapping the trousers for dark chinos – we’ve even had a couple of grooms buy an extra pair of trousers to get made into shorts! Even something as simple as the fabric a tie is made from can instantly relax a suit – instead of formal fabrics such as satin and silk head towards cotton and knitted ties. These are great for softening a look down.”
What happens if you’re a groom who struggles with body confidence and self-esteem issues?
If you deal with body confidence issues and self-esteem worries, the wedding suit shopping experience may be particularly daunting – but try not to worry too much. If you pick your tailor or hire shop right, you’ll be in safe hands (Especially with the gems we’ve featured in this blog post, as it was a non-negotiable requirement that they were a welcoming space for all!)
With suits ranging from size 34 to size 52, Vanessa points out: “We deal with grooms and groomsmen of all different shapes and sizes, so we will make you feel comfortable – don’t worry chaps!”
“Remember – there is no normal body shape.” Karlus says. He highlights how a tailor can cut and fit a suit bespoke to your shape, so you will look amazing regardless of your body shape: “You don’t need to be slim to be a slick groom. If you want to feel slick in your suit, what matters is something that fits really well and compliments your body. And something that you feel amazing in too – my big tip is to be an individual, and stand out from everyone else in your wedding party. Don’t dress the same as your groomsmen – the bride doesn’t dress the same as her bridesmaids! It’s a big day for the groom too, so make sure you look and feel special too.”
And finally, know you’re not alone in having body confidence issues! “It’s so hard to be body confident with today’s media pressures,” Jessica says, “but our best advice is to be yourself and work with your best assets. Different colours flatter people in different ways, so don’t be put off if you don’t feel instantly comfortable in the first suit you try.”
What makes a fun wedding?
Unsurprisingly, when we asked these paragons of wedding styling what made a fun wedding, they all said the key was to be true to your own style. When the days reflect your personalities, are filled with love and celebrated by those who love you, what can go wrong?
The Vintage Suit Hire Co. was born out of owners Tom and Jessica’s desire to find Tom’s suit for their own wedding. Something a little off-beat and personal was either eye-wateringly expensive or non-existent, so they set up their own collection of beautiful suits to reflect grooms’ personalities to both hire and buy. They have a super useful measuring guide online for grooms who can’t make it to the shop (https://www.vintagesuithire.co.uk/a-guide-to-measuring), and their blog is a minefield of useful info: (https://www.vintagesuithire.co.uk/blog)
Karlus G. Tailor is one of the few bespoke Birmingham tailors, and is run by Karlus and Hilary who have over 50 years experience between them. All their garments are lovingly cut, stitched and finished in house in their studio. Your involvement in the process is key to them, as they LOVE to create bespoke pieces – by arrangement you can even come in and see some of the process that goes into the creation of your bespoke tailored garment.
The Bridgewater Menswear are a Lancashire-based family-owned business who specialise in making grooms look dapper for the big day. Their showroom has a vintage feel, like a traditional gentleman’s outfitters, with a wide range of styles from full tweed to sleek traditional suits.
Looking for a wedding dress? Check out my previous blog post all about everything you need to think about when choosing your wedding dress 😀
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