Running a blog on men’s style means I get my fair share of questions on having a suit made for weddings. The questions usually fall into two categories: tailoring and styling. The questions pertaining to the former are straight forward such as which tailors I recommend or where to buy cloth. On the other hand, the questions in the latter category reveal men’s struggle to dress appropriately for a wedding. Here’s one story.
I received an email from a man who was about to get married. He was asking me for advice on the right shoes, belt and suit buttons to wear with his mid-grey suit. He said that he intends to wear light brown wing tips with the suit. He even included a photo from a men’s lifestyle magazine showing a closeup of the ankle area to illustrate the point he was making.
When I read this I was both happy and sad. I was happy to see that men are becoming more bold when it comes to the way they dress. Yet I was sad that he chose to do so on the day he was getting married. Wing tips, while classic, is a casual shoe style that does not belong in a wedding.
I told him that he should stick to formal black shoes, a black belt and black suit buttons. He replied saying he did not agree with me and that his fiancé approved of his choices. I was up against the fiancé and the internet — I was bound to lose. Nevertheless I felt that I could change his mind and sent this:
I’ll give you one very good piece of advice. Don’t be dressed by the internet. A well-dressed man dresses according to the occasion. You’re the groom and you want to look like one so I recommend sticking to black. Years later you’ll look back at your wedding photos and I guarantee you won’t regret wearing black on your wedding day. You’ll have plenty of chances to rock brown and light gray after the wedding.
Clearly, the problem is when men confuse formality with looking stylish. This topic is discussed at length in the chapter Of the Difference Between Formality and Dandification in the book The Suit: A Machiavellian Approach to Men’s Style by Nicholas Antongiavanni. But I will only quote a single sentence from the chapter that, in my opinion, is the main message of the author:
Formality is dressiness; or, to say better, solemnity combined with obeisance to established modes of propriety, especially those concerning occasions held to be grave and important.
A wedding is a milestone, and while a joyous occasion, should be treated with solemnity. Everyone is expected to dress appropriately and not take it as an opportunity to look flamboyant. Each day is a chance to be a dandy; to experiment and show off your personal style. But don’t be a dandy on your wedding day.