Spicing Up Attire For The Groom

By Eric Christensen

April 25, 2012 5 min read

My sister is getting married soon, and she has always bucked traditions. She will not wear a veil; there will be nothing borrowed or blue; and there will be no tossing of the bouquet or garter. So it was no surprise when my soon-to-be brother-in-law decided that his groomsmen would also ditch the traditional attire.

Instead of the black tuxedo, black bow tie and black cummerbund that you usually see on a plastic groom atop a wedding cake, the groomsmen will wear a light grey suit and a red necktie.

He explained: "We're not going to the opera. We're having a party -- a party that celebrates the two of us." He encouraged us to choose a cut and style of suit that fit our personality and to "be fun, be crazy" when choosing cuff links. It turns out that my sister's fiance is at the forefront of a new trend of men wanting to spice up their wedding day attire. And from subtle changes to bolder options, retailers and designers are all too happy to oblige.

For the groom interested in making small changes to the traditional tuxedo, Monchae Slaughter, an operations manager at Men's Wearhouse, suggests a tux with a more modern cut. Instead of the traditional "boxy tuxedos most men rent," Slaughter highlights two tuxedos designed by Vera Wang.

The first has a black jacket and pants that have a slimmer, more tailored cut. Additionally, instead of a traditional satin lapel, this tuxedo has a narrow, grosgrain lapel.

The second tuxedo, if the groom is more daring, is a light gray. Also in a slimmer cut, this tuxedo features a lapel edged in grey satin. Many retailers also offer tuxedos in alternative colors. For example, Indochino, an online custom-suit retailer, offers a midnight-blue tuxedo with a lapel edged in black satin.

For the groom making bolder color choices, Slaughter says, "instead of a traditional cummerbund and bow tie, you can do a vest and a long necktie in pretty much any color." Ian Robinson, a wedding photographer with SoftBox Media Photography, says: "The vest is a great way to introduce more color. Bright color and bold textures can often be discretely hidden under the jacket during the ceremony, but it's a great way to liven up the reception as the jackets come off and the bright colors join the party." A groom can choose a color that complements the wedding's theme, or he can choose one color for himself and another for the groomsmen.

Alternatively, a groom can choose a suit instead of a tuxedo to spice up his wedding attire. Although a suit is more casual than a tuxedo, if a groom buys a suit instead of renting a tuxedo, he can opt for far more customization. He can choose from a wide variety of colors and patterns of suits, and he can select a style and cut based on his body type and personal style. He may even be able to choose the color of his suit's lining and have his wedding date embroidered on the interior jacket pocket. Taking advantage of such customizations, a groom can purchase a suit that will serve as a memento of the wedding.

Lastly, Robinson suggests grooms personalize their wedding day accessories. A brightly colored pocket square or a memorable watch can add unique flair. "Cuff links are another great way to show a more personal style without being ostentatious," he says. "I've seen everything from bullet casings to old coins."

Robinson recalls a groom who even "wore two different-color socks to match the bright orange and pink colors of the wedding. You'd never know when he was walking around, but when he sat down next to his bride, her bright shoes and his bright socks were a perfect match." And consider nontraditional footwear that fits your personality and the wedding's setting, such as cowboy boots, flip-flops or sneakers.

The black tuxedo is traditional because it looks great on all men. But some grooms prefer to display a unique style, different from the plastic, miniature groom on top of a wedding cake. Ask your retailer about how you can spice up your wedding attire. I think you will find that there are as many options for your formalwear as there are for your cake.

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