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At 27 years old, I’ve attended eight weddings, served as a member of the wedding party in three and a best person in one. In the coming year, I will attend another three. It seems that an avalanche of weddings is a part of reaching your late twenties.


I now have dressing for weddings down to a science and have concluded whether the occasion be lavish and extravagant or a simple backyard redwood celebration, knowing how to properly “suit up” is a must for anybody — attending the wedding, tying the knot or otherwise.

Here are a few tips for choosing the right attire for the big day:

Plan Ahead

Every great outfit needs planning. Give yourself time to explore your options. Some things to consider: Are you renting or are you buying? Do you need to match your partner or coordinate with the wedding party? Is there a particular style youshould adhere to? Do you feel comfortable with the tailor taking your measurements? What is your timeline? Answer all these for yourself before you head to the tux shop.

Getting Prepared

A good suit or tux needs to be fitted properly. This means a tailor will be all up in your business, so be prepared and find a tux shop or tailor that respects your boundaries and makes you feel comfortable. Once you’ve found the one (no readers, I don’t mean that one), make an appointment. Plan to bring the shirt and shoes you’ll be wearing for the big day so they can tailor the suit or tux accordingly or so you can choose the appropriately-sized rental. If you already own a suit or tux, consider getting it tailored for a sharp, updated look. For those of us on a budget, thrift shopping for a suit is a fun and practical option. A good tailor can turn your find into a wedding-worthy look.

Style

Whether you’re purchasing or renting a tux, many decisions lay ahead of you. Firstly, you must choose the color of your shirt and coordinate your neck tie or bow tie accordingly. Vests are also an option, though many choose to go without. Then, there are accessories: handkerchief, cummerbund, suspenders, pocket square and anything else you desire. Some folks might take this opportunity to check in with their partner — what is their vision for the wedding? Others may have to coordinate with the wedding party and consider the couple’s overall aesthetic plan. Last but not least, think about your own personal style. Subtle differences in your choice of color, fit and accessories can alter the look drastically. The cut of your jacket is perhaps the most noticeable stylistic choice you’ll make. Consider a cutaway or morning coat, which is more traditional and formal, while a stroller coat — a variation of a morning coat — has more whimsical flare. A dinner jacket will give you that classic Bogart-in-Casablanca look. You might choose tails for your jacket, which are typically worn with suspenders, vest and bow tie for a very formal celebration. Then there is the tuxedo — the James Bond look, which you can also update with satin trim. My personal favorite for the folks who choose not to wear a tux: the dark suit. This one is dressy but not the typical formal look. It has become the more modern choice of attire for those who like to dress down for comfort. Again, you should consider the desires of your partner or the overall style of the wedding, too.

Fit

How many fittings does it take to get the right fit? Any professional tux shop or tailor is going to want to fit you multiple times. For this reason, it’s important to plan ahead and be prepared when you go to each fitting. As mentioned before, this includes having the shoes, shirt and any accessories you’ll be using for the big day. For non-binary folks like me, this also includes deciding which binder, underwear, etc. you’ll be wearing. Be sure to bring these to every fitting. Making sure your body is in the form that feels most like you is imperative for achieving the best fit and boosting your confidence. For larger folks, tuxedo and suit retailers usually carry an array of sizes or can special order sizes that work for you, but it’s a good idea to check beforehand. At minimum, you should be prepared for two fittings, one on the day you choose your attire and one when you pick it up to check if further adjustments should be made. The initial fitting will involve extensive measurements — up to 35 specific points — so be prepared to have your tailor in your space, and remember, we want them there to get the fit right. Give yourself time to try on your tux/suit again before the big day.

Feeling Good

The fundamental part of choosing the tuxedo or suit for you is about finding one that fits, well, you. Not everyone has worn a tux before and finding the right fit can be daunting, especially if you are someone who folks wouldn’t generally classify as having the “traditional” or “ideal” body type for a tux. Throughout this process, remember the most important component of “suiting up”: confidence. You should feel good in the tuxedo or suit you choose. That’s always a good look. 
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C. Wells

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