It’s suits month at Polka Dot Groom and boy, do we have some ground to cover. There are so many options when it comes to suiting up that it can be difficult to know where to start. I’ve been lucky enough to chat to a wealth of talented stylists, tailors and purveyors of fine suits in the last few years and I’ve picked up a handy treasure trove of suit advice as a result.
But where to begin? Let’s start with the mistakes, after all, the last thing we want is to make a fashion faux pas when you’re standing in front of all your family and friends.
Carl Nave from Carl Nave Individually Tailored – a Melbourne business which specialises in tailored suits, once told me there are two areas to keep an eye on to avoid making rookie suit errors: shoulders and sleeves.
“If the shoulders are too tight, or too broad, the rest of the suit is not going to fit well,” Carl says. “The length of jacket is crucial in achieving the right proportions from width to length. Cropped jackets are uncouth, your jacket should always cover your back side and crotch, adversely you don’t want the jacket to be too long either, you’ll look like you’re wearing your dad’s jacket and the whole thing will swallow you up. Sleeve lengths are paramount to executing the perfect look.”
If you’ve never worn a pocket square, you’re probably asking yourself: why on earth do I need to wear one? Fair call. And when you factor in how much of a pain they can be to fold and keep at the right height in your jacket pocket (speaking from personal experience there), you could be forgiven for doing away with them altogether.
But there is method to the madness when it comes to the little square fellas – they can take your look from ‘guy in a suit’ to ‘groom in a suit’ in a heartbeat.
Stylist Sally McKinnon, who runs Styled By Sally told me pocket squares add personality to your suit. “Whether it’s a simple white pocket square folded in a square or a satin paisley, a well-chosen pocket square will complete the outfit,” Sally says. “Pocket squares can help to differentiate a suit from the everyday to a special occasion. It allows the groom to stand out from his groomsmen or for the wedding party to stand out from the wedding guests. It also allows the wedding party to have some fun with colours, prints and patterns.”
This can be one of the hardest things to nail down as a groom. Maybe you’ve decided you don’t want a black suit or perhaps you’re thinking about some bright colours to match the flowers of the brides and bridesmaids. But where on earth do you start with colour matching? Aussie model Sam Wines told me three basic colour options which are perfect to get you started.
- Complimentary Colours: Try orange and blue or yellow and violet. “These colours are directly opposite each other on the colour wheel and when combined, will be completely contrasting, making both colours pop.”
- Analogous Colours:Try violet and blue. “These are colours directly adjacent to one another on the colour wheel. It is softer and offers less contrast to that of the triad or complimentary colour schemes and is always a safe bet.”
- Triad Colours: Try red, yellow and blue. “This is probably the most useful of the three for a groomsman, or anyone in a suit for that matter, as it allows you to balance the tie with the shirt and suit or any other element of the look.”
Black and white
Of course, colours aren’t for everyone and there’s nothing wrong with keeping it black and white when it comes to your fashion choices on the big day. Let’s face it, by keeping It simple you remove any uncertainty about colour selection.
Oscar Hunt Tailors General Manager Chris Edwards told me a classic black dinner suit with a crisp white shirt, black bow tie and a white pocket square is a difficult thing to go past. “That’s a classic look. Even though it’s been done a million times in the past, it’s still such a great look. Personally, it’s pretty hard to go past that.”
Ultimately, the classic black suit and white shirt is a win-win for any groom – it takes the stress out of colour-matching, provides you with a look which will stand the test of time, and most importantly, you’ll look sharp as a tack at the end of that aisle.
Tailor or not tailored
To tailor or not to tailor? That is the question. We know getting a tailored suit can cost a few extra pennies but the difference in the final product can be worth it. I’ve said previously that I’m an advocate for a tailored suit, and over the past few years I’ve spoken to a bunch of stylists and tailors who often agree.
Mauricio Rios – Wedding Manager at InStitchu – custom, tailored menswear – told me wedding suits should be a reflection of you, and often the only way to achieve this is through tailoring. “Your wedding suit should be unlike any other outfit you own,” Mauricio says. “Custom, tailored suiting is all about achieving the perfect fit and expressing who you are through the garments you wear. It (tailoring) enables grooms to create their dream wedding suit that they have pictured in their mind. It will fit like a glove and be uniquely your design – from the fabric, to the buttons, to the lapel, to the cuff, to the collar, to monogramming and so much more – the sky is the limit.”
And what about the dollarydoos? Mauricio says tailoring isn’t as pricey as it used to be. “Historically, custom, tailored suiting was expensive and priced a lot of people out of even considering it as an option, but we’re changing all that with custom, tailored wedding suits starting from $399 and shirts from $89, driven by the belief that every man should be able to afford a custom, tailored suit without breaking the bank or compromising on quality.”
“Contrastingly, when you buy off the rack, you’re essentially buying someone else’s design, made in bulk, to standard measurement patterns. Chances are you will have to pay extra for alterations if you don’t fit standard sizing too.”
So there you have it, a handful of suit tips to get you started on your journey to the perfect wedding suit.
Ms Zebra Says: There’s nothing better than a well dressed – and well suited man! This is especially the case for one of the most important days. Thanks Mr Houndstooth for sharing this invaluable suiting know-how!
About Mr Houndstooth: I am a happily married man. I enjoy a fine whisky, a new suit and swashbuckling around town with my beautiful bride. Looking back on my wedding day always makes me smile, even though it began to rain just as I said ‘I do’.