Tuxedo Tips for Groom

The wedding couple has many decisions to make concerning formal wear. Several are based on outside factors. For instance a groom's choice of dress depends on the time of day of the ceremony, his bride's dress, the season and their wedding's level of formality.

According to the International Formal-wear Association the timing of the wedding makes all the difference. In their formal wear guide weddings are described as either contemporary or traditional. Within each group there are sub-categories including very formal evening, formal daytime and second and later weddings.

The guide recommends the appropriate attire for the groom, ushers, and groomsmen, father, ring bearer and guests under each type of affair. For example, according to the IFA at a traditional formal evening wedding the groom is advised to wear a black tuxedo with a pleated white formal shirt a bow tie and a vest and cummerbund to match the tuxedo lapels. A white dinner jacket with formal trousers is acceptable for summer or tropical climates.

For a very formal daytime wedding the groom should wear an updated cutaway, usually gray with striped or matching trousers a white shirt with a striped tie or ascot; or a tuxedo or an all gray cutaway outfit with a wing or fold collar formal shirt and a striped gray ascot or a four-in-hand tie. Also, traditionally every man in the wedding party (groomsmen, ushers, fathers, and the ring bearer) dresses alike.

Formal wear rental is the responsibility of each groomsman although the groom or his parents may offer to underwrite the expense. If special accessories, ties, ascot or gloves are selected the groom pays for them.

If a man will need to wear a tuxedo three or four times in the next few years purchasing one is a good investment. It only takes two or three rentals to equal the purchase price - so with one hanging in your closet you can always step out in style; there's no longer any reason to demur over those invitations with Black Tie printed in the lower right-hand corner. The price of a new tuxedo (including only the jacket and trousers) starts around $175 and rises to the $300-500 range and higher. A formal shirt, studs, cufflinks, tie and cummerbund are purchased separately. Formalwear stores sell used tuxedos at reasonable prices and many stores hold sales once or twice a year. It's probably wisest to purchase a basic conservative tuxedo, changing accessories to complement the occasion.

How should a tuxedo fit?

  • The coat should allow free movement of the arms and shouldn't feel snug in the armholes.
  • The coat should lie smoothly across the back.
  • The hem of the coat should reach to the curl of the fingers when arms are held straight down at the sides.
  • The coat sleeve should reveal a 1/2-inch of the shirt cuff.
  • The trousers should be hemmed even with the top of the heel of the shoes in back and in front they should barely break resting on the top of the shoes.