Michael, Atlanta: I’m a long time reader and have greatly enjoyed your posts, and have even more enjoyed applying their message.
I’m about a year away from my wedding and am looking to have a suit made for it. I am looking at either a black with a white chalkstripe, or a medium grey with a white chalkstripe. A standard three piece, with three-button jacket, slanted unflapped pockets with a ticket pocket on the right, and an eight-button double-breasted peak lapel waistcoat. This will be accompanied by an unadorned white spread-collar shirt and plum tie and pocket square.
That, I’m aware, is quite a lot of look (stripes, peaks, buttons, and pockets) even though we are looking to incorporate throwbacks of vintage styling. I’m uncertain about the pairing of the waistcoat and the jacket – is having both peak-collared something that will look ridiculous? And the combination of single and double-breasted seems to make sense in my head, but is it commonly borne out?
Lastly, would black and white spectators work, or pull the whole thing apart and make it look even more like costume?
Dear Michael, you are right in your description of this a lot of look. To be honest, I think it is too much. But it can also be saved fairly easily I think.
Let’s start with the colour of the suit. Go for the medium grey, not the black. A black suit with chalk stripe can too easily make you look like a wide-boy trader or a gangster, and besides, black as a colour suits almost nobody. The mid-grey should be more flattering, seem more formal at the wedding and provide better use later on.
The pockets need to be quietened down a little as well. Unflapped pockets may look a little odd with a suit that isn’t that formal elsewhere, and a ticket pocket produces the opposite effect. Equally slanted pockets. It feels like you are trying to throw too many quirks into one area. I would pick just one: two unflapped, straight pockets, for example, or three with flaps.
On the waistcoat and jacket, don’t worry about the double and single breasted, but do worry about the lapels (the collar is the top section, around your neck by the way). Having both peaked will look too much – like you are trying to wear two outfits instead of one.
Instead I would go for a collarless waistcoat – I have a suit and waistcoat in exactly that configuration and the sweep of the waistcoat underneath the jacket adds subtle verve without being over the top. If you must have a collar on the waistcoat, make it a shawl collar – a very traditional look on a double-breasted.
And the advantage of paring back in all these areas is that it is the only way you’ll be able to get away with wearing spectators as well.
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Thank you for your reply. Since I wrote you I’ve read back through the history of your posting as well as some others and came to many of the same conclusions.
I recently reviewed some swatches – the medium gray actually features a light-gray stripe (and the black really sports a dark grey stripe). Would the grey then be best with brown/white spectators or black/white?
Thank you again,
Comment by Michael — July 8, 2009 #
I would still go with the black and white spectators, though it is hard to say for sure without seeing the swatch of material.
Comment by Simon Crompton — July 11, 2009 #
Dear Mr. Crompton,
I wrote to you a few months ago about…some vital style concern.
As I’ve sought suits and separates lately, I’ve learned that while I thought that I was a 40, I am truly around a 38 long – sometimes a 36. In-turn, I’ve learned that some designers will fit me better than others and in ways that I prefer. After having bought two suits, a Valentino and a Z Zenya, from Bloomingdale’s at more than 50% off, I write to you again.
I know that these names, as well as Hart Schaffner Marx, Armani, and many others are high-end brands. I know that Boss is a little bit lower and Ralph Lauren, except for his purple and black label, is lower still.
Without giving me an exhaustive and exhausting list of names, please tell me the tiers of men’s suits and brands. Or if you’ve already done so, please direct me to the column link.
WrightsWords.com |[email protected]
I agree 100% with the advice you gave Michael. His initial description was a bit over-the-top, and you scaled it back in just the right places. I even had the same thoughts on what to do with the waistcoat lapels!
You’re sure to have a wonderful look at your wedding, especially if you follow Simon’s advice. I might suggest a two-button jacket; three button jackets flatter fewer men, while two buttons looks good on everyone. Also, I’d save the spectators for the honeymoon. I love spectators, but they’re just not formal enough for a wedding. You could even wear them at the reception, but I think they’d be out-of-place on the bridegroom during the ceremony. After all, the bridegroom is supposed to let his beautiful bride shine, not be the center of attention himself, and spectators will draw too much attention away from her.
I will reply in a post sometime this week.
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Wedding Suits, look at this:
Hi my name is Shela I am from New York
i am here to say that your designs are great.
I have a wedding in November and I’m struggling to find the right outfit.
My wedding will be in the Maldives (a luxury beach resort) and starts at 4.30pm going till late.
Ideally I would like to wear a tuxedo however I don’t know if this is appropriate being a destination wedding.
All the recommendations for online are for a cream or linen attire. That’s really not my style.
Do you have any suggestions?
Don’t wear a tux
How about a pale grey suit, white shirt, monotone subtly patterned tie, and white linen handkerchief. Then a small flower in your buttonhole
First, I am a big fan of your site. Thank you for all your hard work in providing us with quality material.
I am getting married in the fall and have decided to go the tuxedo route. I have purchased the tuxedo and shoes, and am now on to the shirt. Could you give some advice on the different styles of shirting for tuxedos and why (or why not) a person should wear a shirt with a bib, or studs, etc? Would it be possible to “get away” with a standard white shirt with hidden buttons, for example?
Yes, a shirt with hidden buttons is fine, and in fact could be cleaner and more modern. Studs are more dressy, and might be nice given it’s your wedding and such a special event. A starched bib is probably too much though, unless you’re going for something very formal.
first of all let me congrats for your blog. I would like to ask you an advice for my wedding. I’m going to get married on June 2017 in Italy. The ceremony and the party will be celebrated in a Tuscan 10th century abbey in a country chic setting.
My intention is to have a bespoke suit but I really can’t decide both what kind of suit and what tailor.
I would like to avoid any formal tuxedo and I would prefer something both flamboyant and elegant.
Do you think that a double breasted jacket can be an option? Maybe with cream/white pants or a complete double breasted suit in light grey or blue?
Regarding the tailor, do you think that Caliendo could be the best choice?
It’s worth reading my advice on weddings more generally – there is a category here: http://www.permanentstyle.com/category/weddings
A jacket can work nicely, but it has to be very smart – perhaps in charcoal. Otherwise my favourite recommendation is for a DB pale grey suit, which will look fantastically smart and formal (really the point of a wedding as a formal day event). White tie, grey or dark navy/charcoal tie.
As to the tailor, it depends a lot on the style you want. How much structure etc. But a Caliendo suit would be beautiful, and tone down the formality of the whole piece a little as well
Hope that’s helpful
Very helpful. Thank you
Would you use also a light green or pale blue tie with that DB suit?
Perhaps, but do try to keep it very sober and monotone. Colour is for the flowers. (Including boutonniere)
Yes, I mean everything monotone and very sober.
Thank you very much!
I have read through your posts on wedding suits which I have found very useful. I am going to commission a db suit in navy from Solito. What weight of cloth would you recommend for an English wedding in September? What would your preference be in the type of cloth? I was thinking either a worsted or a flannel? Many thanks in advance, Tom
For that time of year you should be able to get away with at least 11oz.
A worsted will look more like a business suit, which will mean it has more potential use after the event.
A flannel will be more unusual and perhaps more interesting, but also perhaps of less use after.
Thanks so much for your contribution.
Just like the other readers and comments left above, I have a wedding in May next year at Bali. This is a destination wedding by the beachside cliffs overlooking the ocean. The groom usually wears something more on the casual side due to the location and environment but I prefer to be more on the formal side. I was thinking of a two or possibly three-piece suit if weather permits in a beige/ oatmeal color or possibly grey/beige (greige). Contain some texture to keep it interesting. Suggestions on shirt and tie color? Would French cuffs be overkill? White handkerchief to finish off with brown cap toes.
Sounds like you’re on the right lines. I’d go for a white shirt and dark tie for elegance, but to keep it relaxed given the setting, I’d stick with two piece, avoid French cuffs, perhaps have a linen shirt, and wear a casual shoe like a loafer or even a slipper without socks
Hi Simon, love your work!
I’m going to be the MC at my sisters wedding, London in July.
The venue is a warehouse in East London and there aren’t any specific rules regarding attire.
I’m going to get a suit made and am keen for something a bit different. I’ve done some research and love the casual Neapolitan look. I am leaning towards a double breasted, relaxed look, white shirt without a tie (open collar).
I’m also thinking a loafer (brown snuff tassle or gucci horsebit)
Any ideas on colours/fabrics to pull of a relaxed look? Or am i in danger of upstaging the groom! 🙂
I think it’s a good idea to go for something slightly conservative in the material – it is a wedding after all, and you don’t want to upstage anyone, and it means you might feasibly wear the suit for more than one day. So my recommendations would be for a navy or a mid-grey. Also, to be honest, I’d wear a tie or – if not – then separate jacket and trousers.
Separates could work. I felt double breasted and tie was a bit too formal. I’ve seen some lovely seersucker on this site, in navy and green. How about a single breasted seersucker? I appreciate I’ve got quite a few ideas still running round my head, good job the wedding is not till next year!
Seersucker would be nice – only question being how often you’d wear it again
Dear Mr Crompton,
Dear Fellow Readers,
I read several of your articles here and I have found them very useful. I am facing a similar challenge for my wedding as well and looking for some guidance as I am relatively new, but also sincerely enthusiastic to classical men’s wear,
My options are determined by the venue (a late 18th century mill) and the time (late afternoon in early October).
I thought to wear a midnight blue or navy suit with a contrasted waistcoat, an ecru shirt, black grenadine tie and a black cap toe derby. In my mind the suit ought to be simple, single-breasted with a wide notched lapel, the single-breasted waistcoat collarless either in grey or preferably beige, the shirt with French cuffs. The latter cannot be white, because the dress of my fiancé will also be ecru. Would it be better for me to consider the shirt in light blue?
Any advice is much appreciated! Thank you very much in advance.
Thanks for your question. I can see where you are coming from with the outfit, in that the dark suit will be good for the evening light, and the whole will look smart and formal.
I worry rather about the contrasting waistcoat though. It could look a little flash, and doesn’t fit into any conventions of such waistcoats. It might also look better with a mid-grey suit than a navy. The black tie, as well, could look a little funereal to some.
Could I suggest something else that avoids looking too business-like? Perhaps a double-breasted style, a suit with a check, or just relying on a handkerchief and flower to look celebratory?
Dear Mr Crompton,
I have played with the thought of a Prince of Wales check, but is it suitable for a wedding? Double breasted would be great but I am afraid I have a bit of a belly (180 cm and 92 kg) to look in that well enough. Anyway, I will ask my tailor to show me some options; maybe I am just too cautious.
My idea would have been something such as this in my mind.
Whether it’s suitable is really up to you and the bride (or the bride’s family, depending how traditional you are).
Thanks for the link – that makes things a lot clearer. That could certainly look good, but in that case do ape his colour choices – a cream waistcoat, not grey or beige, a white shirt, and a pale silk tie. They work nicely together.
I would be on your side for the suit colour though – a navy rather than this brighter blue would be more elegant
Dear Mr Crompton,
Thank you very much for your insight. Now I wait my appointment to the tailor even more eagerly!
So pleased I could help Marton
Thank you for your insightful post (and fellow readers’ invaluable input). I am planning for a wedding next year, possibly in an outdoor setting in the evening and continuing into the night.
Regarding your recommendation on a pale grey suit, may I know if this only applies for a day wedding setting, and that a mid-to-dark grey suit would be more suitable in my case? Also, would you suggest commissioning a SB suit if this is only my first or second suit commission?
Lastly, other than a black and white tie, are there other colours which you would pair with a mid-to-dark grey suit and a white shirt?
Pale grey is best for a day wedding, yes, but if it’s not too light, it might be OK in the evening. I realise there is a balance to be found there: pale grey is also nice because it doesn’t look like a work suit, and it’s nice to retain some of that. So perhaps a mid- to light grey, yes.
I wouldn’t worry about commissioning a DB for your first suit, no.
Most dark ties would look nice with that combination. Navy would be attractive too, but perhaps a little too corporate. Silvers, dark greens and perhaps purples. But keep it as muted and simple as possible. Minimise the colour and pattern – that looks more formal and smarter.
I hope the day goes wonderfully
For my wedding in April I’m considering having the following suit made: a very dark navy (midnight blue), single breasted with one button, wide lapels, high rise forward single pleated trousers with 4cm cuffs. I have a few questions:
Apologies for the long list!
1. Yes, this sounds very elegant. The width of the lapels will determine how subtle or showy it is, but it sounds great.
2. Yes that’s probably about right. It depends a lot on the size of your chest though – it’s best thought of as a ratio of your chest width.
3. Something very classic and simple. This is a serious, formal event. Something like a wedding tie and a white linen handkerchief
4. Not a derby. An oxford, or a smart loafer at the most.
And no worries. There are other articles in the wedding section of the website though – under Categories. Might be worth a browse of all of them if you have any other questions.
Thank you, Simon. Much appreciated!