Most of us are familiar with choosing an everyday business suit; which styles are available or in fashion, which colours or fabrics we like... but when it comes to dedicated wedding or gala suits many men feel less secure. There seem to be too many options that it can be overwhelming. In this post we want to help you by putting all the options into perspective, and giving you a guide to make your choices.
This post focuses on designing a suit designed specifically for weddings and galas, if you are looking for tips how to design a suit that you can wear for these events but also at other occasions, please read our blog post "One Elegant Suit that Works for Every Occasion: 5 Design Tips"
Step 1: Decide your suit "type"
For everyday wear you basically only have one option (the suit). However, for wedding or gala there are 3 major options:
Tailcoat - the most elegant version suitable also for white tie events
Tuxedo - the elegant classic for black tie events (galas) or weddings
Suit - increasingly popular when designed with special, elegant lapels and other design elements.
Since white tie events and weddings with tailcoats have become rather rare, we will focus on the other two options - but we are happy to help you with personal advise if you want to create a tailcoat for your wedding. Click here to arrange a personal design session.
What is the difference between a tuxedo and a very elegant suit?
Both have the same general cut.
Tuxedos have a lower button stance with only one button to close them and often no vent (slit) in the back.
The lapels of a tuxedo are usually from a different fabric than the rest of the jacket (most often satin), and are traditionally shawl lapels. You will also increasingly find peak lapels in modern tuxedos.
Tuxedo trousers traditionally have a satin stripe going down the length of the trouser.
Tuxedos are rarely worn with a vest, but rather a cummerbund (while you would never wear a suit with a cummerbund).
Which one do we recommend? Honestly, we love both garments for weddings or galas - if well done.
Here are some arguments in favour of a tuxedo:
a.) Historically it is perceived as more elegant,
b.) In case you want to reflect your brides colour scheme in your wedding suit, people tend to do it through either the vest or cummerbund and the cummerbund is a smaller, less dominant piece of your attire than the vest - hence a plus point for a tuxedo.
Step 2: Choose between single and double breasted
Both tuxedos and suits can be designed as single or double breasted. So which one to choose?
Double breasted suits or tuxedos tends to look more elegant than single breasted when buttoned up, especially on tall men with a slim waist. Unfortunately, it is less flattering if your waist is not as slim, or when you wear it unbuttoned (which is usual for inside events during the majority of the evening).
These simple technical considerations lead us to favour the single breasted variation. An exception might be if you decide to only wear your jacket standing during ceremonial moments, or spend the rest of the reception without your jacket.
Step 3: Choose your main body fabric and colour
1.) Don't compromise on the quality
Keep in mind you are creating a highly elegant suit dedicated either for your wedding or for elegant black tie events. So please choose a pure fine wool, silk or other high quality elegant fabrics.
Do not create a special suit or tuxedo from a wool-polyester blend. There is generally nothing wrong with a good quality wool-polyester blend for an everyday suit, but an elegant suit can easily be cheapened in look and feel if you opt for a less elegant fabric. Often, these things can easily be detected, and can make you feel out of place.
2.) For gala suits keep to the classical dark colours
At some galas, you might see people who wear great looking satin tuxedo jackets in eye catching colours like green or burgundy. But those tend to be rather involved in the entertainment or hosting of the event. At The Tailor Network we always encourage our customers to experiment and show their uniqueness through their suits, but there are better ways to do this than choosing a jaunty main colour. Wait till we talk about lapels, offset elements, and the inside of your jacket.
For the main body stick to black, charcoal, and dark blue, preferably with fine but noticeable structures woven into the fabric..
3.) For a dedicated wedding suit choose stronger colours
At your wedding you are the set centre of attention and you want to look that part. You might want to choose a fabric colour that boldly sets you apart from your guests.
Another aspect to consider is the colour scheme of your wedding. Either way, be expressive and choose beautiful, strong colours. This is recommended if you want to wear your suit or tuxedo only for your wedding.
If you want to wear it again for galas, rather follow the gala advise and keep to the darker classics.
Step 4: Decide on your lapel and potential offset fabrics
1.) Stay away from a notch lapel!
What ever you choose, make sure you elegant suit or tuxedo does not have a notch lapel!
Notch lapels are the common standard for your everyday suit today, so you do not want it for your special suit.
For both a tuxedo or a suit, you have a variety of elegant lapel choices:
Shawl lapel (the classical tuxedo lapel, also possible on a suit),
Peak lapel, OR
The Tailor Network’s signature “elegant notch lapel”, a modern take on the old fashioned shawl lapel... very elegant and dynamic.
2.) Choose an offset lapel - at least for a tuxedo
As we have previously mentioned, one of the defining elements of a tuxedo is that the lapel, and often the side pockets, are made from a different fabric, most commonly black satin.
And in general while we do not recommend to experiment with offsets on high quality fabric suits, choosing a black satin lapel is a nice feature for any elegant wedding or gala suit - even if it is not a tuxedo.
For dedicated wedding suits, lapels are a great way to reflect the colour scheme of the wedding - read more about this by visiting "The Best Ways to Integrate Your Bride's Colour Scheme Into Your Wedding Suit."
3.) Choose elegant offset elements
Even though you especially want to keep a gala suit clean and elegant, small delicate offset elements are what gives your suit the unique, personal touch.
The target is to integrate a small note of colour which catches the eye but does not interfere with the austere elegance of your suit.
Our favourite places for those small colour notes are:
Lapel button hole - thread colour
Side pocket - fabric colour
Sleeve button hole - thread color (for one or all of them)
Vest back fabric (if you design it with a vest)
Vest front button hole yarn (for one or all of them)
Trouser pocket fabric
Step 5: Get creative on the inside of your jacket
Regardless whether you design an elegant gala suit in classical darker colours or a beautiful wedding suit in stronger colours - you want the inside of your jacket to shine!
1.) Choose a beautiful, strong lining colour
Some people think the inside of a jacket does not deserve so much attention - in the end, nobody sees it, right? Wrong!
When designed with beautiful and strong colours, the inside of your jacket draws a lot of attention.
Think about it - you are standing in a room conversing, your jacket is usually open and strong coloured lining will peak out. Or how much time does your jacket spend hanging on a chair, where a beautifully designed inside with strong colours catches attention?
2.) Form an ensemble through piping and the pocket flap
While you can choose to make a statement through choosing a strong inside lining colour alone, another elegant way is to think about the strategic combination of your main suiting fabric with the inside lining.
You can achieve this by choosing an inside pocket flap and piping in a matching colour which also creates a beautiful transition between the main suiting fabric and the lining fabric.
3.) Personalise it with an embroidered monogram
Monograms are certainly not for everyone. But some customers like to round off their elegant suit with a monogram. Either with their name, especially for gala suits, or for wedding suits with a dedication to their wedding, showing the name of bride and groom.
Whatever your choice, elegantly executed it can be a beautiful addition to your jacket.
Our in-person design sessions are free, and you are not committing to anything.
We will discuss your ideas and preferences, walk you through the styles, fabrics,
and all the finishing touches - and design the perfect suit for your wedding or gala.