Prenuptial Prep Work

If you’re going to a wedding this summer—June is the most popular month for weddings—you probably already know. Etiquette says wedding invites go out six weeks or so before the wedding, but many couples send save-the-dates months ahead. Put This On gets questions pretty often asking where and how to get proper wedding attire (as a groom, groomsman, or guest) on very short notice. Don’t let it get to that point.

You’ll likely need some lead time if you want a proper ensemble like the Prince of Kent or Simon Crompton (pictured above). Think about what you might want to wear now, identify holes in your wardrobe, and then you can fill them at a leisurely pace via ebay and judicious purchases. Some updated tips from the PTO archives:

For Everyone

  • Morning coats, white tie formal, and black tie are traditional forms of dress. Wearing them appropriately keeps fading customs of men’s attire alive. Accordingly, if the wedding starts in the daytime, avoid black tie.
  • Tuxedos can be great, but for most modern weddings, lounge suits are a fine option for all men attending. Solid, dark suits are the best fit; stripes and black are best avoided.
  • Shirts should be white, preferably with a spread collar and french cuffs. Not a bad time to buy a nice new white shirt.
  • Stick with black shoes for all but the most casual ceremonies. Plain or captoe balmorals are more appropriate here than bluchers, brogues, or loafers.
  • A traditional wedding tie would be nice, but isn’t strictly necessary.

For the Groom

  • Congratulations, it’s your day! Haha, no it’s not. But it may well be the best excuse to wear a fantastic new suit and tie you’ll ever have. So do it up.
  • Details that border on flashy for business, like peak lapels, waistcoats, or one-button or double breasted suits, are great for weddings.
  • The bride, groom, and groomsmen need not all match, colorwise, but coordinating the level of formality is important or you’ll look like you’re going to different parties. If your bride is wearing a simple cotton dress and you’re getting married in a sunlit garden, it’s probably not a black tie occasion for you.

For the Groomsmen

  • As a groomsman, respect the couple’s wishes. If that means you have to rent a notch-lapel tux with a long tie and wear it before 6 p.m., just accept it and enjoy the open bar.
  • Get a haircut and shine your shoes.
  • If you’re a bride or groom and are deciding what to ask your groomsmen to wear, be considerate: new suits, especially specific, unusual new suits, can be expensive.
  • A good way to coordinate the groomsmen is to provide them with a boutonniere or tie, rather than forcing everyone into the same suit.

For the Guests

  • Again: solid suit, white shirt, black shoes.
  • Linen and cotton can be great in the summer. Seersucker, too, where regionally appropriate.
  • Add a swank wedding tie and/or a lapel flower for some personality.
  • It’s better to be a little overdressed than a little underdressed. But try not to outdress the wedding party. I know; it’s hard for Put This On readers.

For more on wedding attire, browse PTO’s archives or read probably the best single piece of writing on the subject: Nicholas Antongiovanni’s Wedding Attire in the Modern World.

—Pete

Because You Are An Adult, You Need A Sincere Suit
Not every man should wear a suit and tie every day. I myself wear a suit once a month at most. But every man in America should own a suit. I am defining “man” broadly here - let’s call it sixteen and up. One suit. For when it matters.
"What do you mean, ‘for when it matters?’"
Well, I get an email about three times a week that says, “I’ve got an unexpected (funeral/wedding/job interview/christening/wake/big meeting/court appearance) coming up next week. Where can I get a good suit on short notice for a good price?”
I usually (almost always) help these people. I suggest Brooks Brothers or maybe Suit Supply, two very good sources for suits, and I suggest they try to find a passable alterationist to work on short notice, and I suggest they not try to save money on this because it’s important and because as engineers say: “cheap, fast, good: pick two.”
But there’s something I really want to say to these people that I don’t. Something a little sour. Something I will say to you, man-who-has-not-yet-faced-sartorial-crisis.
YOU’RE A GROWN MAN. YOU SHOULD ALREADY OWN A SUIT.
This particular event may have been unexpected, but did you seriously not expect that something would come up in your life that would require grown-up clothes? Even professional surfers who live in beach huts in Bali have great-uncles who die back in Fresno. And great-aunts who’d feel bad if their grand-nephew showed up at the funeral in khakis and a polo shirt from his catholic high school’s uniform. 
You will need a suit, and it is better to buy it on your time. When you buy a suit on short notice, you get something ill-fitting, you pay too much, you don’t have time to make your own decisions about what you want, you can only go to one store, you might not even be able to get it altered… in other words: you’re fucked from the word “go.”
So get real. Take some time, and buy yourself a good suit. One good suit. What my mom calls a “sincere suit.” It should be solid gray and conservatively styled so you can wear it for a good five or ten years when this stuff comes up. A plain, mid-gray suit can be worn to any event which requires a suit, from Easter Dinner at grandma’s to your co-worker’s unexpected wake.
Get yourself a shirt and two ties, too - one very dark for funerals, one a little happier, though still sober, for not-sad events. Neither of these ties should have Bugs Bunny on them, by the way. And some dress shoes, and socks and a belt. Just one set of basic, serious-business clothes. Because you will need them. Not all the time, but sometime. Inevitably.
You don’t have to be a suit-and-tie guy. You don’t even have to be a wears-pants-instead-of-shorts guy. But if you’re a grown man, you should own a suit.

Because You Are An Adult, You Need A Sincere Suit

Not every man should wear a suit and tie every day. I myself wear a suit once a month at most. But every man in America should own a suit. I am defining “man” broadly here - let’s call it sixteen and up. One suit. For when it matters.

"What do you mean, ‘for when it matters?’"

Well, I get an email about three times a week that says, “I’ve got an unexpected (funeral/wedding/job interview/christening/wake/big meeting/court appearance) coming up next week. Where can I get a good suit on short notice for a good price?”

I usually (almost always) help these people. I suggest Brooks Brothers or maybe Suit Supply, two very good sources for suits, and I suggest they try to find a passable alterationist to work on short notice, and I suggest they not try to save money on this because it’s important and because as engineers say: “cheap, fast, good: pick two.

But there’s something I really want to say to these people that I don’t. Something a little sour. Something I will say to you, man-who-has-not-yet-faced-sartorial-crisis.

YOU’RE A GROWN MAN. YOU SHOULD ALREADY OWN A SUIT.

This particular event may have been unexpected, but did you seriously not expect that something would come up in your life that would require grown-up clothes? Even professional surfers who live in beach huts in Bali have great-uncles who die back in Fresno. And great-aunts who’d feel bad if their grand-nephew showed up at the funeral in khakis and a polo shirt from his catholic high school’s uniform.

You will need a suit, and it is better to buy it on your time. When you buy a suit on short notice, you get something ill-fitting, you pay too much, you don’t have time to make your own decisions about what you want, you can only go to one store, you might not even be able to get it altered… in other words: you’re fucked from the word “go.”

So get real. Take some time, and buy yourself a good suit. One good suit. What my mom calls a “sincere suit.” It should be solid gray and conservatively styled so you can wear it for a good five or ten years when this stuff comes up. A plain, mid-gray suit can be worn to any event which requires a suit, from Easter Dinner at grandma’s to your co-worker’s unexpected wake.

Get yourself a shirt and two ties, too - one very dark for funerals, one a little happier, though still sober, for not-sad events. Neither of these ties should have Bugs Bunny on them, by the way. And some dress shoes, and socks and a belt. Just one set of basic, serious-business clothes. Because you will need them. Not all the time, but sometime. Inevitably.

You don’t have to be a suit-and-tie guy. You don’t even have to be a wears-pants-instead-of-shorts guy. But if you’re a grown man, you should own a suit.

Went to a close friend’s wedding this weekend. My wife was Matron of Honor, so I ended up with the choice accessory.

Went to a close friend’s wedding this weekend. My wife was Matron of Honor, so I ended up with the choice accessory.

Kansas City haberdasher & president-to-be Harry S. Truman on his wedding day in 1919. Note that his suit looks almost completely contemporary, despite the photograph being 92 years old.

Kansas City haberdasher & president-to-be Harry S. Truman on his wedding day in 1919. Note that his suit looks almost completely contemporary, despite the photograph being 92 years old.

"Love"
via BigHappyFunhouse
Bill sent us this wedding photo, which I’ve cropped to protect the guilty.
I’d say this is a pretty solid example of too-long pants, wouldn’t you?
(Hint: yes, it is.)

Bill sent us this wedding photo, which I’ve cropped to protect the guilty.

I’d say this is a pretty solid example of too-long pants, wouldn’t you?

(Hint: yes, it is.)

PTO reader Matt writes: I just got married a few weeks ago. I was 100% clueless about what to  wear on the big day, then stumbled across PTO. Thanks to your advice, we  ended up in navy/charcoal leisure suits and wedding ties, and everyone  looked great. It was great to just trust everyone to dress well in  clothes they already owned and knew would fit. It was such a relief to find good advice about this stuff. We would have  been in skanky rental tuxes without you guys, so cheers; and thanks!
(Photo: Josh McCullock)

PTO reader Matt writes: I just got married a few weeks ago. I was 100% clueless about what to wear on the big day, then stumbled across PTO. Thanks to your advice, we ended up in navy/charcoal leisure suits and wedding ties, and everyone looked great. It was great to just trust everyone to dress well in clothes they already owned and knew would fit.

It was such a relief to find good advice about this stuff. We would have been in skanky rental tuxes without you guys, so cheers; and thanks!

(Photo: Josh McCullock)

Controversy is brewing in the UK over outfits. Prime Minister David Cameron has issued a press release, announcing that he won’t be wearing morning dress to the impending wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton. Instead, he’ll wear business dress - a suit and tie. He will be the first Prime Minister to shirk the traditional dress code, and will perhaps be the only man so dressed. (Above, by the way, are Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles at their wedding.)
Many speculate that Cameron is dressing this way to avoid the stigma of his upper-class past. Cameron was a member of Bullingdon, an Oxford club notorious for its exclusivity and its destructive binges. He’s shunned formal dress since his past became an issue when he rose to national prominence, and this is in keeping with that pattern.
It’s tough for an American to judge a choice like this, since class plays so differently here, in a land where we at least pretend that it is a fluid status that comes with hard work and seized opportunities and so forth. Besides which, we have no monarchy, and essentially think of the British royals as amusing anachronisms. So I write from the perspective of a bemused outsider. That said, Cameron’s decision does strike me as both disingenuous and self-centered.
It is disingenuous in that it is an attempt to obscure his past. When Prince Charles dons Highland Dress, it is not because he is trying to pretend to be a Scottish warrior, or lead people to think that he anything other than an English Prince. Instead, it is an act of fellowship and a gesture of respect. Part of dressing, particularly for men, is to humble yourself, even if you are a Prince, by asserting that the custom of the whole is as important as your personal choices. This is why we wear business dress, as well - it is an assertion that we’re all in the same boat, all respect the importance of the situation, and we’ve chosen ceremonial clothing to reflect that fact.
Perhaps if Cameron were a representative of the proletariat he could genuinely claim that breaking this tradition was a revolutionary act. One could then quibble with whether he was leading a just revolution, of course, and the answer would depend on how one felt about the monarchy and so forth, but he would at least have some ground to stand on. Instead, it seems transparent that this is an act of obfuscation in the service of self-interest.
Indeed, it is that self-interest that is the most annoying here. The reason that we all dress the same way for a wedding is respect for the occasion. For those of us in the pews it is a joyous day. For those on the dais it is the most important day of their lives. This is true for Kings and Queens just as it is for street sweepers. We wear clothes that reflect that celebration, but we also wear clothes that indicate ceremonially that we understand how important that day is, clothes that reflect that we are the community that binds together the couple being wed.
If given the opportunity to chat with the PM, my message would be simple, and it wouldn’t have anything to do with the fact that these people getting married are royalty.
I’d just tell him this: it’s not about you, man.
(Thanks, Ari, for emailing about this.)

Controversy is brewing in the UK over outfits. Prime Minister David Cameron has issued a press release, announcing that he won’t be wearing morning dress to the impending wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton. Instead, he’ll wear business dress - a suit and tie. He will be the first Prime Minister to shirk the traditional dress code, and will perhaps be the only man so dressed. (Above, by the way, are Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles at their wedding.)

Many speculate that Cameron is dressing this way to avoid the stigma of his upper-class past. Cameron was a member of Bullingdon, an Oxford club notorious for its exclusivity and its destructive binges. He’s shunned formal dress since his past became an issue when he rose to national prominence, and this is in keeping with that pattern.

It’s tough for an American to judge a choice like this, since class plays so differently here, in a land where we at least pretend that it is a fluid status that comes with hard work and seized opportunities and so forth. Besides which, we have no monarchy, and essentially think of the British royals as amusing anachronisms. So I write from the perspective of a bemused outsider. That said, Cameron’s decision does strike me as both disingenuous and self-centered.

It is disingenuous in that it is an attempt to obscure his past. When Prince Charles dons Highland Dress, it is not because he is trying to pretend to be a Scottish warrior, or lead people to think that he anything other than an English Prince. Instead, it is an act of fellowship and a gesture of respect. Part of dressing, particularly for men, is to humble yourself, even if you are a Prince, by asserting that the custom of the whole is as important as your personal choices. This is why we wear business dress, as well - it is an assertion that we’re all in the same boat, all respect the importance of the situation, and we’ve chosen ceremonial clothing to reflect that fact.

Perhaps if Cameron were a representative of the proletariat he could genuinely claim that breaking this tradition was a revolutionary act. One could then quibble with whether he was leading a just revolution, of course, and the answer would depend on how one felt about the monarchy and so forth, but he would at least have some ground to stand on. Instead, it seems transparent that this is an act of obfuscation in the service of self-interest.

Indeed, it is that self-interest that is the most annoying here. The reason that we all dress the same way for a wedding is respect for the occasion. For those of us in the pews it is a joyous day. For those on the dais it is the most important day of their lives. This is true for Kings and Queens just as it is for street sweepers. We wear clothes that reflect that celebration, but we also wear clothes that indicate ceremonially that we understand how important that day is, clothes that reflect that we are the community that binds together the couple being wed.

If given the opportunity to chat with the PM, my message would be simple, and it wouldn’t have anything to do with the fact that these people getting married are royalty.

I’d just tell him this: it’s not about you, man.

(Thanks, Ari, for emailing about this.)

It’s On Sale
Drakes of London Checked Tie
Anybody getting married?
£55 from £85 at Drakes

It’s On Sale

Drakes of London Checked Tie

Anybody getting married?

£55 from £85 at Drakes