Last week I received an e-mail from Amy, a Seattle area bride, with this great question about men's wear... "What is your opinion on what a groom should wear for an evening civil ceremony/reception at a hotel? Armani suit (should it be black?) or tux? I am wearing a floor length bias cut gown. Help!"
Here are my thoughts on the topic.. For your groom's attire during an evening civil ceremony, it really comes down to the look and feel you are hoping for, and what represents your style as a couple the best. I could absolutely see the groom wearing a sharp, nicely fitted suit in dark gray or navy for a slightly more casual feel, or a black suit for a tux alternative. Elegant black suits with either a black or white tie have become very popular as modern options in men's formal wear, and are nearly as formal as a classic tuxedo. (Think about all the men wearing suits on the red carpet of award shows and film festivals!) A tuxedo would be a great option if you're going for a formal or classic feel. Tuxedos lend an air of glamour and tradition which could be a gorgeous compliment to a bias cut gown. Perfect for an old school Hollywood look.
Most importantly, you want your fiance to feel comfortable. Some men aren't big on dressing up, so wearing a tux can feel like a costume to them. If he will feel more relaxed and like himself in a suit, then he'll look a million times more handsome in that than in a tux he can't wait to get out of.
For some great information from a true expert, here is a Groombug interview on the basics of buying a suit or tux with Mario's Men's Wear Buyer, Simon Chan.
What differentiates a suit from a tuxedo?
A tuxedo will have satin or faille trimming details on the jacket lapels, buttons, and out seams of the trousers, and the trousers will not have belt-loops.
How does a man know which to choose? Are there general guidelines about when a tuxedo is appropriate as opposed to a suit?
What to choose and what's appropriate all depend on the feeling or "theme" of the wedding. If it is a very formal or traditional type of wedding, you'll definitely want to wear a tuxedo. If the theme is not as traditional, then a suit may work just fine. It could be a simple black dressy suit or a casual linen or cotton suit if the wedding is in an outdoor setting, like the beach, Mexico, Hawaii, etc. But at the end of the day, it's probably best to check with the Bride first!!
Buying vs. renting, what's your opinion?
This is simple. If you want a keep-sake for the wedding memory or if you often attend formal or black tie events, then it would be a good idea to buy a tuxedo. Otherwise, there is nothing wrong with renting.
Walk us through the suit buying process. What steps should it entail and what decisions should a man be prepared to make regarding style, fit, fabric and color?
To begin the suit buying process, have an idea what you'll be wearing the suit for. Besides your wedding, will it be for work, party, or other special occasions? This will dictate what type of fit and fabric it may be. And of course, you should always visit and consult a sales professional and learn about different fits and fabrics before buying and investing in a suit.
Are there any current trends in men's wear that you are especially excited about?
Men's formal wear trends are somewhat settled. The 3 button suit has been dominate for quite sometime and may even be viewed as the standard fit, but the 2 button suits are now widely seen as the new standard. On the 2 button suits, the stance of the button has been moved up slightly, giving it a masculine and sexy silhouette. The 2 button suit is a great way to instantly update your wardrobe.