Even a small and intimate wedding is a big undertaking. You want to make sure every detail is perfect. Your bride will be the most beautiful person in the world to you on that day and looking your best sends a message of love that will last your entire lifetime.
But what are you going to wear?
The traditional attire for weddings—tuxedo, bowtie, and cummerbund—has taken on a new look and feel as many men are opting for style and function for themselves and their groomsmen.
Style and function… now there are concepts worth exploring.
What to consider when deciding between a custom suit and a tuxedo
Here’s the great news: adding a custom suit as one of the options for what you wear on your wedding day gives you flexibility to dress up or down to the type and style of wedding you and your bride are planning.
While many weddings lean to the formal, “black-tie” side, the trends are toward something less formal. For example, if your bride is wearing a tea-length dress, then a custom suit is an appropriate choice. Or, a custom sport coat and trousers with a casual, open collar shirt is a perfect choice for a destination wedding on the beach or in the mountains with a few friends and family.
Not a week goes by without customers inquiring about their options with custom suits. That growing trend is what drove us to write this article.
There is no right and wrong answer when it comes to custom tuxedos or suits. To us, it’s all about options and flexibility, and there is a lot of both when you start digging into what is available.
Price is no longer a significant barrier for custom suits or tuxedos.
Earlier in the article, we talked about the possibility of not only a custom suit for the groom, but also the groomsmen.
Not that many years ago, that would have been a bridge too far for most customers simply because of the cost.
Today, many forward-thinking manufacturers have invested in technology and processes that greatly reduce the cost of a custom suit (and the shirt, too). Your searching has likely uncovered many “custom” options with prices that rival quality off-the-rack retailers.
In fact, we also carry quality ready-to-wear suits that will meet just about any budget.
Style and function… we love it!
The price-value factor
Let’s dive into style and function.
As cool and stylish as custom tuxedos can be—with far more options today than even four or five years ago–most will slip to the back of a man’s closet after the wedding, seldom seeing the light of day again.
Custom suits have long shelf lives, even when you consider changing styles. For example, we have several customers who bought a lot of suits with pleated trousers in the 90’s. Pleats phased out of style in favor of plain fronts but, guess what, they’re back and they have stood the test of time well.
Also, the accessories with a custom suit (e.g. belts, shoes, socks, etc.) can not only give you a unique look on the big day but will give you many options in both business and social situations.
That is a lot of function and value.
The wedding party factor
So, what about spreading the “function” to the entire wedding party? Traditionally, groomsmen will dress like the groom and it’s not uncommon today for grooms to take advantage of lower pricing and give suits to the groomsmen.
If you go the tuxedo route, you can still provide suits to the groomsmen that coordinate with your look.
The tuxedo is finding that style is fun.
That said, the modern tux is no longer just a classic black and white look. Many newer styles incorporate grey, navy, tan, and many other colors.
What primarily differentiates the tux are the details such as satin lapels, buttons, or a satin stripe down the side of a pant leg. Black patent dress shoes are often worn with tuxedos, but that “rule” is also changing, giving grooms the option to dress down a tux with fine quality leather shoes. Shirts for tuxedos often have a wing or turndown collar.
A fun trend we are seeing is customers coordinating a classic black tuxedo pant with a jacket in just about any color they want.
Building a custom suit for your wedding… and beyond
Whether a custom suit or tuxedo, here is the process we use with customers to ensure they get exactly what they envisioned:
Step 1 – Analysis. While the primary goal is to build the perfect outfit for your wedding, we also urge customers to spend time thinking about how their new custom suit will fit into their current business casual wardrobe. It is not unusual for customers to start the process with a specific idea, but the discussion often expands once they dig into what is in their closet.
Step 2 – Vision. This is where It gets fun as you drill down into the specifics of how you want to look for your wedding and beyond. What do you want the suit to say about you? Can you dress it up for the wedding and dress it down for work? We want to make you a suit that is all you. And, if you just want a special suit that raises the roof at your wedding, we can do that, too.
Step 3 – Planning. We create a plan for how you can make your suit function in many business and social situations, whether with a variety of shirts or accessories, from ties to cufflinks to socks.
Step 4 – Implementation. You have a specific wedding date and custom suits are not created overnight. We recommend giving yourself at least eight weeks to be safe (Covid-19 has certainly taught us that).
Step 5 – Update and Maintain. Think of your custom suit as an investment and like any other investment, it needs care. We will provide guidance on how to care for your big purchase (it is easier than you think and not that expensive).
A closer look at the vision and planning processes
There are six key considerations:
Maybe you have been lucky enough to be born a perfect 42 regular and fit has never been an issue. For most men, fit can be elusive.
For example, how many times have you seen men whose suit coat just does not look right? Maybe the jacket does not fit close to the shirt collar? Or, maybe it is one gust of wind away from becoming a boat sail. If you notice, so do others.
In fitting process, quality custom clothiers pay close attention to all aspects of your body type to ensure your custom suit fits YOU. Most of the time, department store sales staff and alterations departments are inconsistent, which is unacceptable for any day, much less your wedding day.
Quick look at the important decisions you must make
- Style. What style best suits your body type? Let your eyes be the judge. Generally, a fuller cut suit coat or jacket benefits a heavier man, whether short or tall. A thinner frame can better handle today’s shorter, trimmer styles.
Which style is more appropriate for your office? Pay attention to the written (and unwritten) dress codes, but when in doubt, dress to the high end of the range and you will never go wrong.
- Coat length. More traditional suit coats or jackets typically cover the rear end, where the butt and hip meet. The new shorter jackets tend to fall somewhere between that point and the waistline.
- Coat sleeve length. Sleeve lengths are more about personal style preferences these days. Ask us what we think looks best for suits and we will tell you no more than one-half inch of your shirt cuff should be exposed at the end of your coat sleeves. The shirt cuff should hit right around the large bone of your wrist when your arms are relaxed. When in doubt, err on the side of too long with your suit coat sleeves. It’s an easy adjustment to make if needed.
- Buttons. The coat should button comfortably with the lapels smooth against your body. For a more traditional style, close just the top button on a two-button coat. If you notice an X-shaped crease forming or the lower edges flare, then it’s too tight.
A small opening at the bottom of the coat, just above the waist of your trousers is perfectly fine, and little, if any, of your shirt below the coat buttons should be visible. For trimmer styles, the same rules apply for when a jacket is too tight; if the fabric wrinkles when it is buttoned, it is too tight.
- Pants. They should fit smoothly across your legs and buttocks. The drape should not form sagging wrinkles below the seat. If the seat is too tight, you will typically see horizontal wrinkles under the buttocks.
When it comes to the length of pants, the traditional approach is for the hem of your pants to fall just on the top of your shoes, with a slight crease where they hit. The back of the pant should fall no lower than the top of the heel of your shoes. But more and more we see pant lengths getting shorter, in some cases several inches above the shoes.
- Shirts. You should be able to fit one finger comfortably between the collar and neck. Most off-the-rack shirt collars are cut at one-half inch intervals. At Savile Row, we cut our collars to the one-quarter inch. The shirt should have three to four inches of extra fabric around the torso.The best length for a shirt sleeve is to hit just below the wrist bone (or just above the hand), ensuring it does not crawl up when you raise your arms. If you purchase custom shirts, you can have the cuff on your watch hand-made slightly larger to accommodate the watch.
Another important benefit of custom is having extra fabric in both the jacket and pants just in case a few pounds sneak in down the road. Generally, most custom-made clothing shops add extra fabric to their trousers and high-end retailers carry brands that do the same thing.
When trying on your custom suit, put it through some paces. The fit needs to be perfect. You should be able to move around comfortably, so at the final fitting twist, raise your arms, and even break out a few dance moves. People love to dance at weddings, and so should you!
In the end, do what makes you happy so you feel exceptional on the big day.
Again, we offer our heartiest congratulations.