Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Reader Questions: Advice On A Double Breasted Tux For A Groom

During the early days of this blog, circa 2010, I received a question from a reader soliciting advice on whether a double breasted tuxedo and other sartorial accompaniments were appropriate for the groom. Below is the original question and answer. Then, when you click on read more, I will attempt to give the letter a response more in line with what's current and acceptable.


I more than intrigued by your blog. What advice do you have for a Black Double-Breasted tuxedo for a wedding. Bow Tie vs. Windsor Knot, London (spread collar) vs. traditional collar, etc.


By all means. A tux as the groom, I totally advocate it. I don't think a double breasted tux is necessary, a wedding is a very formal and conservative affair, therefore, a single breasted tux will do just fine. Why single breast..? Because you don't want to come across as too serious, in a double breasted piece. The single breast gives you room to play around while adhering to the rules. You can opt for a one or two button jacket depending on your taste. I'm sure since it is a tux jacket you will have to go for a peak lapel. Double vents. Satin lapels. You're sticking to the rules here.

I always advocate the utmost in formality. Therefore a bow tie would be apt. A tie just brings your ensemble a couple of notches down. It's a tux therefore it mandates a bow tie. For a shirt, I would go for a semi spread collar. Semi spread allows space for both the shirt and bow tie to be on display. A full spread would almost look like it's running parallel to the bow tie and thus diminish the aesthetic of the collar. You want your whole ensemble to be on display therefore less is more.

I trust I have answered your question.


Firstly it's important to note that for a day time wedding a tuxedo is not appropriate. Full morning dress comprising a cutaway coat, grey striped trousers without any turn ups, a waistcoat in a contrasting colour (usually lighter than the coat) and trousers, and plain black oxfords. I'm a fan of wholecuts however captoes will also do. For the purpose of this question though, I would advise against a double breasted tuxedo simply because it is considered less formal. A wedding is a serious affair peppered with elements of fun, therefore, a single breasted tuxedo with peak lapels is apt. I am somewhat ambivalent when it comes to the issue of the shirt. The most formal being the wing collar. I just feel that it is a little antiquated. Would I advocate a turn-down collar shirt for full evening dress (white tie)? Absolutely not! However in the context of wearing a tuxedo for a wedding, as the groom, then I would give a turn-down spread collar shirt a pass. It just appears that with a bow tie, the collar and bow tie work towards a coherent aesthetic. The image above evinces the generous lapels that accommodate both the size of the bow tie and the collar, albeit invisible.

With regards to accessories, I'd say, if it is a wedding in the summer then mother of pearl studs are apt. For a winter wedding then you can opt for black studs. No wristwatch is necessary because you are there to have the time (pun unintended) of your life, or her's, therefore there is absolutely no need to be checking for the time. A pocket square is absolutely subjective. I'm on the fence when it comes to this issue because I feel that a white pocket square breaks the clean line from top to bottom. Some can also argue that a boutonniere would also break that clean aesthetic. As the groom you can opt for a pocket square however a boutonniere is essential because most of the time it will have come from the bride's bouquet. A cummerbund is also important because a man's waist in a tuxedo must always be covered.

There are other factors to consider such as a tuxedo for warm weather such as a white dinner jacket, however, this is a post for another day.

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