By Taylor Seale - 02/14/13 04:23 PM EST
Menswear is just coming off a breakout year, particularly for wedding fashion. While the groom’s attire tends to take a backseat to the bride’s dress, menswear has seen a steady resurgence in the past decade, and along with it a growth in tips and tweaks a groom can use to make the day equally his own.
There are a few keys ways to stand out on the big day, but perhaps the most important is simply having a suit or tuxedo that fits. Few know this better than tailor Michael Andrews, who specializes in contemporary, slim-fit menswear at his recently opened shop, Bespoke, in Dupont Circle, an offshoot of his successful New York store.
Off-the-rack suits and tuxes generally have a larger, more conservative cut designed to accommodate a wide range of men, and as a result they lack the personalized fit of custom garments.
“For the most part,” Andrews notes, “tuxedos are going to look pretty similar. The fact that yours fits compared to ill-fitting garments worn by others makes a big difference.”
Another tip is the use of color, whether in the fabric of the suit or tuxedo itself or through colored linings or stitching.
While most grooms tend to stick with black tuxedos, Andrews notes that “the original tuxedo was in fact midnight blue, because it tends to look darker and richer than classic black under artificial light. The color has recently cropped up again as a choice for grooms looking for small changes to an otherwise standard formal outfit.
Fancy-colored linings can also add a bit of personality: while most people might not see it, a unique lining can give your suit that something “extra.” Andrew’s store carries hundreds of unique linings for men to choose from during the design process.
Different lapels can also insert a bit of charm, and he mentions “alternatives like velvet, textured or patterned silk, and paisley” instead of traditional duchess satin as a few of the many custom options available to grooms.
While tuxedos have a limited range of appropriate fabric and styling options, suits and other outfits for semi-formal affairs give the wearer a lot more room to play around, making it easier to separate visually from the groomsmen.
Grooms could chose a blue suit, for example, while groomsmen don gray, or the wedding party could vary the colors of ties and pocket squares.
For tuxedoes, Andrews references grooms in a bowtie and cummerbund, while the groomsmen wear long ties and vests. The key is to go for a look that is “elegant and dramatic,” while the groomsmen maintain a classic style.
While a wedding day is a chance to stray from a few fashion rules, Andrews says that one rule should never be broken: be sure to know your audience, and know your venue.
“If you’re getting married in the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan at night, you better be in a tuxedo,” says Andrews.
Likewise, a light-gray suit with a simple white shirt and brightly colored tie would be more appropriate than a tuxedo for an outdoor, warm weather wedding.
Another tip is to use the wedding’s location to your outfit advantage. For a destination wedding on the beach, Andrews suggests going tieless with a linen suit, or accessorizing with a cowboy hat or boots for a wedding held out West. The more casual the wedding, the more options one has with incorporating personality or location tweaks into the style.
While Andrews acknowledges that most of the day’s focus does to the bride, the groom (and his style) still play an important role.
“It’s definitely not our day, but we get ten percent of it, says Andrews.”