Lori’s Black Tie Attire Tips
Some of my favorite episodes of Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta has revolved around my grooms, which may come as a surprise to so many of my viewers since it’s a behind-the-scenes part of the show that many people don’t get to see. While I have my no roosters in the henhouse rule when it comes to wedding gown shopping, I’m always excited to help outfit the groom and his groomsmen. It goes without saying that the bride is the star of the show, but I always tell my brides that she needs to put the same effort into her groom and groomsmen as she does with her bridesmaids. You know what they say, the star is only as good as her supporting cast!
Trends in formal menswear have evolved over the years, and it’s no surprise that themed weddings have impacted the way our grooms dress and outfit their groomsmen. When we first opened black tie by Lori, which was just a small section of Bridals by Lori, we were surprised and excited to see so many of our customers were men! I’ve outfitted grooms in casual, taupe linen suits for island weddings and have had the best time ordering formal wear, wool kilts for a traditional, winter wedding in Scotland. It didn’t take long for us to dedicate an entire floor of the salon to menswear, and I just love attending bridal fashion week where I select and shop for new tuxedos and black tie suits that we offer for sale and rent at the salon.
As a Southern girl, I practically swoon when I see a groom in an elegant, fitted tuxedo walking down the aisle. I take in the entire look and I notice everything, from the fit of the suit to the flair of the accessories, which can be a matching boutonniere, a silk swatch pocket square, and the fashion stories told by a pair of cufflinks.
Whether you’re the groom or you’re attending a black-tie affair, here are just a few of my tips for selecting the perfect outfit for the occasion:
- R-E-S-P-E-C-T – Formal wear is all about respect for the event you are attending. If you’re a guest at the Inaugural ball then you should be wearing an elegant tuxedo, but if you’re the groom at a Boho-themed wedding, then a relaxed, open-collared, tailored tuxedo or suit would fit with the theme. As you shop for the perfect outfit, it’s essential to keep in mind the formality of the event at hand.
- Cut to fit – Before we even think about color and styles, fabric, or accessories, you need to think about the cut and fit of your suit. The cut is essential as the suit needs to be altered for your body. It is highly unlikely that you will be able to find the perfect cut of the suit in something off the rack; just like our wedding gowns, the suit needs to be altered to your dimensions. A bad cut will make you look sloppy and no one wants to see that, especially not on your wedding day.
- Buttons & Breasted – Most modern tuxedos will be single-breasted but double-breasted jackets are making a huge comeback. Traditionally, heavy double-breasted jackets were the ultimate in formal attire. These days, modern double-breasted dinner jackets in lighter materials are showing up on the runways and at winter weddings. It’s a personal choice if you want buttons that show on your dress shirt or if you want them hidden. Either way, it’s the combination of the jacket and its lapel, along with either a vest or a cummerbund and suspenders, that pulls the entire aesthetic of the tuxedo together.
- Colors & Fabrics for every season – If you have searched on Pinterest over the past couple of years for popular wedding color schemes, you will see a bevy of navy blue-suited groomsmen supporting bridesmaids in jeweled tones. This modern, color pairing is a trend that is not going out of style any time soon. When it comes to colors and fabrics, your general rule of thumb should be a no-brainer: the groomsmen aren’t just there to make your bridesmaids look good. Fabrics should be selected based on location and season; no one wants to see armpit stains because you’re sweating through a wool suit in the middle of a Hotlanta summer.
- Bowtie, skinny-tie, or no tie – I’ll admit, I’m one of those women who just loves pairing a bowtie with a classic, black tailored tuxedo. These days, long, black skinny ties are almost expected from a style perspective. Be bold and make your style statement; bowties are truly timeless, and not just for the Grandfather of the bride.
- Shoes & Accessories – We have come a long way from the tried and true, black Oxford shoe. These days, black tie footwear comes in an array of color choices and lace options. The Venetian slipper, which has no laces, is another popular look that beautifully complements modern and formal tuxedos alike. Finally, and this needs to be said, don’t tell the world which football team you like to root for on Sundays while waiting to receive your bride on your wedding day. Be creative and show your personality with your cufflinks but keep it elegant and respectful.
Do you have your favorite look when it comes to formal attire for men? Share your preferences in the comments!