Choosing Your Tuxedos

Dashing, debonair or just darned good looking, every groom wants to impress his bride with a snappy tuxedo that makes a statement.

Tradition varies widely now for grooms from casual to top-of-the-line formal. A cutaway tuxedo with tails tops the list as the most formal of formal wear. But some grooms opt for a cool-looking open-collared white shirt for an outdoor or beach wedding.

The options for attire are wide open as long as the ensemble is complimentary to the entire wedding party. The groom's choices will largely be determined by the time of day of the wedding, the location and the number of guests and the preferred attire for the entire event.

If guests have been invited barefoot for a sunset beach wedding, a set of tails and top hat would be inappropriate. But an afternoon wedding set on a dock seaside may be appropriate for a white dinner coat.

The next decision involves cost.

Many grooms choose to rent their tuxedos. After Six, which designs a variety of tuxes for big names designers such Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, has a huge variety of tuxes, cummerbuns, ties, bow-ties and shoes to choose from.

Additionally, Gary's Tuxes and a variety of other stores in the local area should provide many different kinds of choices.

If the groom chooses to rent (a cost of about £100 to £150 per day), measurements and orders should be handled three to four months in advance of the wedding day. Such advance will give the groom the opportunity to choose from many readily available styles.

Last-minute choices may end in settling for second best or whatever is available, and tailoring may be next to impossible to accomplish.

All measurements from the groom to the groomsmen to the flower child should be given to the wedding coordinator or the groom himself if he chooses to handle those kinds of details. A professional tailor should handle these measurements which include inseam, waist and jacket size.

Should the groom or his groomsmen feel there may be an opportunity to wear a tuxedo often in the future, buying a tuxedo from a reputable designer may be the best investment. Rentals tend to cost about 20 to 25 percent of the original retail cost, so donning a tux a couple times of year may pay off. The tuxedo can then be tailored to perfection and adjusted again in the future. Department stores such as Dillard's, Nordstrom's, Sak's Fifth Avenue and a host of smaller retailers may provide a variety of choices in designs and cuts.

Semiformal: Daytime -- Suits are appropriate for daytime weddings. That goes for both groom and groomsmen. Be sure to choose a darker colour, either charcoal, black or gray. It is not necessary for everyone to match but for the groomsmen's jacket colours should blend.

Semiformal: Evening -- A tuxedo is necessary at this time. A black tuxedo, or very dark charcoal, with a cummerbund or vest and a bow-tie would be suitable. A white shirt with a wing-tipped or turned-down collar is a must. A dark suit is a possibility, but the tux is a sure thing. For a summer outdoor wedding or a tropical location, a white dinner jacket is another option.

Formal: Daytime - Even though sunset is several hours away, a formal daytime wedding still requires the most eloquent kind of dressing. Tuxedos, tailcoats and lengthy strollers (a longer coat without the cutaway of tailcoat) are appropriate for this style. Wear a vest over a sharp white spread-collar shirt with as ascot or a four-in-hand type tie. A pocket square - that nifty little handkerchief tucked in your top coat pocket - will add a touch of class.

Formal: Evening - Pull out all the stops on this occasion. A fine black tuxedo complete with tails is the requirement. A top hat may add a finishing touch if the bride and groom agree. A black tie, a black vest or a formal four-in-hand tie will give the husband-to-be a finished, stylish look. A trendy look at the moment is a monochromatic shirt and tie to give the groom a trend-setting, but classy appearance. Don't forget to add studs and cufflinks for this occasion. And, shoes should be shined without a mark.

Don't forget to add special touches.
*A western wedding may require the groom and his groomsmen to wear bow ties.
*A military wedding might include formal uniforms complete with rank, ribbons and medals.
*A cutting edge casual wedding might invite the groom and groomsmen to combine tuxedo jackets and open-collared white shirts with a pair of good-fitting jeans.
*A Hawaiian wedding may include Hawaiian shirts - with the bride's approval, of course.
*A beach wedding might invite a shorts-wearing crowd.
*A group of sailors may prefer to wear formal sailing jackets and caps with tennis shoes.

Just remember, although the spotlight in the wedding goes to the bride, the groom himself should feel just as special and have just as much fun at his wedding.