Subtle Style for Wedding Season

That wonderful time of year is almost upon us. Open bars, bridesmaids, and ballrooms. It’s almost wedding season!

If you’re a groomsman, looking good is easy. Wear what you’re told. Go where you’re told. Do what you’re told. However, if you’re simply on the guest list, that can be a little trickier. You don’t want to outshine the wedding party, especially the bride and groom. Especially, especially the bride. But everyone still wants to look good. Perhaps you’re looking to attract a little attention for a late-night rendez-vous. Or maybe you just like getting dressed up. There could be a chance your “ex” will be there, and you want to make them regret leaving you. Whatever the reason, it’s natural to want to knock it out of the park at a wedding.

Remember, it’s not your day. Instead, become the master of the “subtle stand-out”. Try sporting some noticeable details up close while making little noise from a distance. Blend into a room, but stand out in one-on-one situations.

I think focusing on five key areas can make all the difference. Fit, accessories, fragrance, shoes, and hair. (Of course, this doesn’t just apply for weddings)

Fit

The most important characteristic to look for in buying a suit is finding one with the right fit. Fabric choice can add some luxury, and details like working cuffs and dual side vents are nice. But what really matters is finding a suit that conforms to  your body. Pay special attention to how the shoulders behave. Is the padding right for your frame? Typically, the broader and higher your shoulders are, the less padding you need. Does the shoulder of the jacket sit where your natural shoulder sits? Avoid jackets where the shoulders hang out too far. Remember, the shoulders (both height and width) are the most difficult part of a jacket to alter. Shop by shoulder first then make sure you have enough room in the chest and waist. Finally, whether you’re shopping for a new suit or wearing one you already own, get thee to a tailor! And be sure to get there with enough time before the wedding for your tailor to compete all of the alterations plus a one week cushion.

If you’re looking for some suit suggestions I like this one from Suitsupply, the J. Crew Ludlow (with the wide lapels!), and this suit by Brooks Brothers.

Accessories

A few key accessories can take an outfit from run-of-the-mill to one-to-remember. At the same time, these highlight pieces are perfect for that “subtle style”. No one will notice a standout pair of cufflinks or a timeless dress watch from a distance. Up close though, items like these will definitely set you apart from the other guys ponying up to the open bar. Try some fun links like these by Auburn Jewelry or master the moment with an elegant watch like this.

Fragrance

Smell great and someone will remember. Smell terrible and someone will remember. Personally, I’ll choose the former. The only people who should be able to smell your cologne are the people you want close enough to be able to smell your cologne. This blends perfectly into that mode of “subtle style”. Stick with scents that are classic and sophisticated (depending on the venue and time of year of course). I recommend fragrances like Green Irish Tweed, Terre d’Hermes, and Blenheim Bouquet.

Shoes

Nothing can pull an outfit together or, conversely, ruin a fantastic suit like a pair of shoes. They’re the base, the foundation, on which your entire look is built. Quality shoes are crucial to a suit. And buying shoes is one of the only places where I always recommend splurging. It’s hard to go wrong with Allen Edmonds or, if you feel comfortable ordering from overseas, I think the shoes from Herring Shoes are an exceptional value (just be sure to email their customer service to confirm your shoe size).

Hair

Do not, I repeat, do not get your haircut the day before a wedding. After their beheading, you hair needs some time (usually three days or so) to recover. At that point your hair will lay more normally and style the way you want it too. And as always, use less product than you think you need. You can always add a little more, but can never take some out. The 90 Proof hair pomade from Blind Barber keeps you coiffed all day and into the night.