What to Wear
Your tuxedo salesman wants to know what kind of wedding you're planning, how many guests, what time of day. Is this guy nosy or what? No, he actually isn't. He needs to know these things so that he can set you up with an appropriate outfit. He does not want you showing up to a formal wedding wearing that snakeskin tuxedo you've been eyeing in his shop. That's the kind of word-of-mouth advertising he doesn't need, and your bride will have a few words for you, too, if you show up dressed inappropriately.
As good as you're going to look (and you know you are), the fact is that your tux and your groomsmen's tuxes will pale in comparison to the outfit your bride has chosen for herself. Tuxes don't draw a lot of attention, generally speaking — unless they're completely
If you have any doubts about the ensemble you're putting together, give in to those doubts. Better to err on the side of caution than to end up regretting this particular wardrobe choice forever.
Is it formal, semiformal, daytime, evening? What difference does it make, you ask yourself? Snakeskin tuxedos go with any décor, any time of the day. Keep reading. Please.
Your main choices for categorizing your wedding:
Daytime semiformal. Your good dark suit should suffice. Your groomsmen should dress as similarly to you (and to each other) as possible. In the summer months, you can consider lighter colors or fabrics (linen, for example).
Evening semiformal. You can opt to wear your suit to this wedding, or you can choose a black tuxedo. Add a cummerbund and vest, a bow tie, and a white wing-tipped shirt.
Daytime formal. Here's where you start dressing the part of a movie star! Gray or black jackets (cutaway, strollers, or tails are all acceptable); striped trousers; vest; striped tie or ascot.
Evening formal. “Black tie.” Black tux; white shirt; black bow tie (or a four-in-hand); vest or cummerbund.
Daytime very formal. Black or gray cutaway coat; gray striped trousers; vest; ascot; cufflinks; gray gloves. Add spats and a top hat at your own peril.
Evening very formal. “White tie.” It doesn't get more formal than this. Black tailcoat; black trousers; white wing-collared shirt; black vest; and yes, a white bow tie.Vocabulary
That's fine and well, you're saying, but what the heck is a wing-collared shirt? (It's a formal tuxedo shirt with a triangle-shaped collar … that kind of looks like an origami bird. Kind of.)
Other common shirt types include:
Mandarin collar (i.e., no collar at all — no tie needed)
Spread collar (has a wide space between the points of the collar in front)
Crosswyck (crosses in front)
White pique (refers to the fabric and is very formal)
Then you've got the jackets:
Tails. They've got tails. A fairly formal look.
Tuxedo. Your basic tux jacket. Single-or double-breasted with a slew of lapel choices.
Mandarin. Stand-up collar, minus the lapel.
Cutaway or morning coat. Short in front, long in back.
Stroller coat. Actually a semiformal suit jacket cut like a tuxedo coat, for daytime wear.
And then … you have
Double-breasted. No, it's not a medical condition. It's a jacket with two rows of buttons. Single-breasted coats have a single row.
Lapels. You've got your notch, your peak, your shawl, your Mandarin. A quick overview of these: Notched lapels are notched and are commonly seen on single-breasted jackets; peak lapels come to a peak and are commonly seen on double-breasted coats; shawl lapels are rounded (like a shawl); and Mandarin jackets have no lapels at all.
Cummerbund. The pleats should face
Accessories. Bow ties; gloves; cufflinks; shoes; top hats; canes. These can make or break your appearance. Use your best judgment. If your tuxedo salesman is trying desperately to talk you out of (or into) something in this area, listen to him or her. Remember: There
You want a better idea of what you should wear? Look to your bride. Your tux should complement her dress. If she's planning on wearing a hand-beaded frock with a ten-foot train and a floor-length veil, you'd better not show up in your linen suit. The gasps from onlookers will be audible.
You shouldn't expect your bride to hand over a picture of her gown, but she should be able to give you some idea of where she's headed with that dress.