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Just as fashion designers have seen the opportunity in bridalwear, so, too, have tailors, who are increasingly urging grooms to think outside the traditional tuxedo box.
“Men are less bound by the traditional rules of the wedding suit [today], which follows the trend for brides not to wear white on the big day,” says Jason Broderick, fashion director of menswear at Harrods. “This has opened up the floor to more casual suiting and the opportunity for grooms to experiment with colours and patterns.”
For example, Broderick says, “For summer weddings, where a full three-piece might be slightly too rigid in the heat, we’ve seen a surge of interest in unstructured shapes and casual fits. Tailoring has undergone a resurgence, with fashion houses experimenting more with designs and moving towards separates. This allows men to mix and match their suits with growing confidence.”
Similarly, London-based menswear designer Joe Casely-Hayford urges grooms to leave the full break trousers for winter. “This summer is about a slightly cropped trouser hem or a good turn-up that sits exactly on the shoe,” he says. “Wool-and-mohair mix is a fabric we are pushing for this wedding season.”
“It shouldn’t look like a work suit, so you can afford to go with something that has more of a summer feel,” says Mehmet Ali, design director at Savile Row tailor Hardy Amies. “Lightweight mohairs and high-twist, tropical wools are good because they’re less likely to crease – you’ll be in it all day so, even if the tie comes off after the speeches, you’ll still look smart by the end of the night.”
Tailor Richard James says, “We’ve noticed a great demand this summer for light to mid-weight air force blue and light grey three-piece suits.” As you’d expect from James, big strokes of colour are also in demand. “Our hot pink and turquoise linen suits are popular for wedding guests, as is our slightly subtler aqua cool wool suit.”
Alessandro Sartori, artistic director at Berluti, advises men to invest in something classic and understated. “I’ve always thought that for such a special moment you need to look as handsome as ever without being transformed into someone you are not,” he says. “A bespoke navy blue three-piece suit, a bespoke white crisp shirt, a sevenfold navy blue silk tie and lace-up court shoes are the perfect ingredients.”
Of course, bespoke offers the greatest options for customisation. Matthew Libling, 25, an associate at consultants McKinsey, spent just over £5,000 on a suit from Norton & Sons for his wedding this year. “It was a combined wedding and Christmas present,” he says. “I’ve always wanted a bespoke Savile Row suit and this was a good excuse. I’ve spent much more on it than I normally would on clothes but I think it’s a good investment – I’m hoping I’ll be able wear it again.”
Alternatively, Kevin Lobo, menswear designer at Hugo Boss, which has slim-cut summer suits for weddings in pastel shades, argues that a few well-chosen accessories can give the impression that the groom has emptied his savings account. “Small elements that break up the classic wedding attire – knitted ties, a colourful shirt or pocket squares – give the sophisticated look an understated luxury feel,” he says. And leave some money for the honeymoon.