Groom's Attire 101

If there is only one day in your life where you should look confident, comfortable and completely at ease, this is it!

Whether you’re preppy, hip, conservative or a close follower of the latest fashions, your wedding attire should reflect your personal style while complementing the formality of your celebration.

There is a long-standing unwritten rule that the tuxedo is the groom’s uniform. While there are situations where this may be the case, a groom has so many more choices than that single style. Depending on the time of day, level of formality, type of event and, of course, your personal style, there are a myriad of choices that will allow you to create your ideal wedding day look. I’m going to make what may be a revolutionary suggestion: Formalwear should be reserved for formal weddings. Additionally, tuxedos are evening attire; they should never be worn before six P.M. So if you’re not obligated to wear a tuxedo, what should you be wearing?

As you determine the details of your wedding with your fiancée, take note of these key details, which will help you decide what to wear: time of day, season, and formality. Then, refer to my breakdown of what to wear, when. You’ll be the best-dressed man in the room by far!


Winter Wedding: Keep it more casual while also dressing appropriately for the weather. Go for a dark business suit in a heavier fabric, a navy blue blazer with khaki trousers or a navy blue blazer with cream or white flannel trousers.

Summer Wedding: Beat the heat with a light-colored business suit, or embrace summer style with a navy blazer with khakis or white or cream linen trousers.

Accessorize either look with a plain shirt, a four-in-hand tie and plain coordinating shoes.


No matter the season, a black or dark gray suit is ideal for a semiformal event. Consider adding a gray waistcoat or vest for a polished touch. Slip a soft white shirt underneath, then finish your look with a four-in-hand tie and plain black dress shoes.

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Flaunt your sartorial know-how in a black or gray cutaway morning coat, paired with black or gray striped trousers and a gray waistcoat. Go formal with a starched white shirt, complete with a turn-down collar. Finish your look with a black and gray striped tie or dress ascot, gray gloves and black patent-leather dress shoes.


Winter Wedding: Depending on the formality of the bride’s dress, choose either a dark business suit or a tuxedo. This is the only instance in which you can wear a tuxedo without the dress code specifying black tie attire for your guests, as well.

Summer Wedding: Choose a navy or light-colored business suit, or don a tuxedo if the bride’s gown is more formal.


Winter Wedding: Because the event is more formal, you should choose to wear a tuxedo. You may wish to request that your guests wear tuxedos, as well.

Summer Wedding: A tuxedo is appropriate, but a white dinner jacket with formal black trousers may be a better choice due to the season – summer white is fresh and crisp, while the dinner jacket is formal and elegant.

Pair any of these styles with a white pleated shirt with a turn-down collar, a black vest or cummerbund and a matching bowtie or cravat. Black patent-leather dress shoes or plain black calfskin shoes are the best footwear options.


For a truly formal evening event, there’s no better choice than White Tie and Tails. A black tailcoat and trousers over a white piqué waistcoat and white starched-bosom shirt with a wing collar are pulled seamlessly together with a white bowtie, white gloves and black patent-leather dress shoes. The graphic contrast of black and white is sleek, elegant and statement-making. 

Whatever you decide to wear, proper fit is critical. Whether you’re buying a new garment or renting something like a tuxedo or morning coat, be sure that you allow enough time for both initial tailoring and a final fitting to ensure a flawless fit.

-- Colin Cowie, Jaimie Schoen

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