Your wedding day is one of the most significant days of your life so it’s important you rock up to the altar equally sartorially prepared as your glamorous Bride – without upstaging her of course. Forget about ill-fitting business suits you may have worn in the past and invest in a made-to-measure, or if your budget can stretch to it, bespoke suit in a timeless classic style: something impeccably well made that will stand the test of time. Consider it an investment with equal importance as that classic car or case of vintage port you’ve got ageing gracefully in the cellar. But if both these options are out of the question then there are plenty of RTW options which will have you looking just as sharp.
Think with your sustainable head on and don’t regard the suit as a one-off piece that gets jettisoned to the back of the wardrobe the moment you head off on honeymoon. Think of it as something you can wear again in the future, either in its entirety, or as I like to do, broken up as separates. And there’s a little trick I’m happy to share with you here. If you invest in a patch pocket jacket when making your suit selection, when you wear it as separates people won’t think you’re wearing a suit jacket with your chinos.
So where do I start I hear you ask? Be a bit different, it’s your wedding day afterall. If you promise me you won’t buy a skinny fitting wet look suit I’ll guide you through the fabric options you should be beating a path to. Consider the climate and choose a season-appropriate cloth for when you tie the knot. If it’s summer, then opt for something lighter – and you’re not just limited to linen here. Although if you do, opt for Irish linen as it feels slightly more substantial and although it will still wrinkle, the wrinkles are larger and far fewer. I’m a huge fan of a tobacco-hued linen suit worn with a white shirt and black (yes black, and I don’t condone it in many other ensembles than this) knitted silk tie. Seersucker can look cool and you can even be forgiven – and it’s always a great bone of contention this – for going sockless with this option. As is Fresco, another lightweight fabric made from tropical wool with a porous weave designed for maximum air circulation. English Gabardine is a great choice – firstly it’s great at retaining its shape, has a subtle needle-cord like texture, but because it’s a mid-weight fabric it makes for a suit that can be worn all year round in most places across the globe. It was a favourite of Savile Row revolutionary Tommy Nutter back in the 70s and the likes of Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger were notable evangelists. Not that I’m advocating huge flare kick trousers! For cooler climes don’t rule out Tweed. Whilst not traditionally associated with Weddings, it’s the perfect choice if you’re exchanging vows in a glamorous Highland Estate or Irish Castle. I would probably steer clear of adventurous statement checks (unless they’re feint) and plump for a dark green Donegal suit characterized by colorful slubs in the weft yarn and a neutral colour in the warp; a melange or a Grey Harris Tweed. Corduroy is back in vogue too and can be an interesting textural suiting option and what’s more it’ll hardly crease.
Yes navy or dark grey are the colours which spring most readily to mind, but don’t be afraid to be a bit more adventurous and go for something like olive or bottle green – even aubergine, teal and dusky pink.
THE SUIT JACKET
The devil is in the detail: suits can be a bit of a minefield to the uninitiated, but start off by deciding what kind of lapel style you want – there are a plethora of options here, each catering to your particular body shape. General rule of thumb is that lapels should always reflect the jacket’s proportions. While a wider lapel will sit better on a well-proportioned man, the same lapel on a smaller man can dwarf his frame. The lapel should extend to the mid-point between the collar and the shoulders.
• Double-breasted – it’s definitely more flamboyant than its single-breasted cousin, but one of the things I love about a double-breasted jacket, besides its undisputed more theatrical appearance, is that it hides a multitude of sins i.e. it keeps everything neat and tidy. There’s no shirt gape or tie worn too short on display as there can often be with single breasted. It’s a style that can be defined as boasting wider overlapping front lapels teamed with two columns of buttons: one functional set, and one purely ornamental.
• Single-breasted – double breasted is not for everyone as its flamboyant look can turn some people away. Single-breasted is the most common style of suit jacket in existence favoured by the more conservative of wearers. Single-breasted suits are characterised by a single column of buttons with no fabric overlay, a front closure in the centre of the jacket, secured by 1-3 buttons.
• Peak lapels If double-breasted is perhaps a step too far for you, why not consider a peak lapel jacket with a single fastening. Edward Sexton offers a contemporary twist on the iconic suits he once crafted with Tommy Nutter when the pair tore up the Savile Row rulebook in the swinging sixties. These have strong edges pointed upwards towards the shoulders. A peak lapel is more formal and always found on double-breasted jackets. It’s not for everyone, but it’s pure unadulterated sartorial flamboyance.
• Notch lapels lapel fashions fade in and out but there’s been a resurgence in wider lapels of late – which can look super elegant on the right frame. The top of the lapel and the bottom of the collar meet in a notch. My rule of thumb is to leave slim lapels (and slim suits for that matter) to the teens and twenty somethings as I just don’t think they are as flattering on a 30-40+ man.
• Shawl lapels defined by a continuous curve without a break like a peak or a notch lapel, shawl collars have traditionally been seen on tuxedos and worn on exclusive occasions like a black-tie night but can be a stylish, understated choice for your Wedding day.
• Morning Suit – I’m quite old school and a morning suit is my first port of call for Weddings where appropriate. It’s also one of the rare times I’m seen sporting a black jacket, aside from dinner suits. If done right, it’s a head-to-toe look that’s difficult to match, although a little word of warning. Be sure to check the dress code on the wedding invitation – don’t be the only one (and I speak from experience here) wearing morning dress when everyone else is in lounge suits!
Because your Wedding is a date of great significance, consider dispensing with belt loops on your trousers and instead embrace the idea of high-waisted trousers with side adjusters or braces? If you’re a fan of Hollywood silver screen glamour do as Cary Grant did and don a pair of Hollywood top trousers – the only exception I will make to the no belt rule. I love a 2-inch cuff on the bottom of my trousers as they sit perfectly on top of a pair of Oxfords, Derbies or Monk Strap shoes.
MY TOP 10 OFF THE PEG SUITS
6. OLIVE PEAK LAPEL LINEN SUIT (Available November 2021)
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