In this age of digital cameras, camera phones and disposable cameras on every table at the wedding, you will be in so many photos during your wedding and reception. Gone are the days when just a few formal poses would be taken with the wedding photographer, people will be snapping your photo all through today’s wedding celebrations and there will probably even be video. Therefore, every aspect of the groom’s and attendants’ attire must be photo perfect.
Bear in mind that men’s formal wear fashion is always evolving and changing. In the 70’s and 80’s, it was fashionable to choose colored tuxedos, often very unusual “Easter egg” colors. In the early 70’s, I attended a wedding where the groom and his attendants chose a wide variety of tuxedo colors and styles. While the groom and father of the bride both chose black pants and white jacket combos, the color choices of the groomsmen were, to say the least, unusual. One fellow chose robin’s egg blue, another chose crushed maroon velvet, and one went with black. It was certainly memorable, but the clear lesson from this was how important it is for the bride to communicate exactly what the color choices are to the groom and his attendants before they step foot in the tuxedo shop.
Happily, the days of those lurid-colored tuxedos are gone, and not a minute too soon. The trend now is to go with simple black or slate gray tuxedos and then pick up the color to match the bride’s attendants’ dresses in the men’s vests. Cummerbunds are not being seen as much these days -they have been replaced by vests in many weddings. Coordinating the vests to the bridesmaids’ dresses is such a popular trend that some of the tuxedo rental companies have even set up their websites to make it easy to find the colors to match based on the manufacturer of the dresses. For example, you select where the bridesmaids’ dresses were purchased, what brand the dresses are and then see a palette of color choices come up so that the vests can be coordinated perfectly. Skeffington’s website even offers to send an actual swatch of vest material to you by mail so that you can be sure before you ever order the tuxedos, that the colors will be a correct match. I’m sure most of the better formal wear retailers would be glad to help you coordinate.
The classic bow tie is back in fashion after being somewhat out of style for a while. The style of a few years ago of the long tie with a Windsor knot instead of a vest or cummerbund has slipped out of fashion and is being shown very rarely. Long ties and band ties are still around but nothing is quite as appealing with a tuxedo as the classic, elegant bow tie, preferably in silk or velvet. Dolce and Gabana now offer silk cravats instead of ties but this hasn’t really caught on yet. It has been seen widely on the Hollywood red carpet, however, and as most formal fashion trends start there and gradually make their way more and more into every day formal wear, we will probably see more of them as the season progresses.
Dress shirts are almost entirely crisp and white, with or without pleats. Thankfully, the somewhat silly ruffled men’s shirt has also gone the way of the dinosaur. The crisp, neat look of the white shirt highlights the highly tailored, sophisticated, monochromatic look of the black tuxedo jacket and pants.
As a final part of your formal look, the choice of formal footwear is also a very important choice on the big day and a popular new look is the “men’s opera slipper” in black patent leather complete with a black grosgrain ribbon bow. Even if you choose not to be quite that “cutting edge” in fashion, you will want perfectly neat, black, highly-polished dress shoes.
One last note of caution: It is important to choose the retailer you deal with for men’s formal wear very carefully. Cutting corners may sound like a good idea, but investigate first. Make sure that the company you’re dealing with for your big day has adequate stock for your entire wedding party and can guarantee top quality. I have heard of groomsmen finding that their shirts are ripped, stained, missing buttons, etc. at the very last minute. When the wedding is hours or minutes away, you do not want surprises likes this.