Gentlemen, we need to talk for a second. Your big day is coming up and I’m pretty sure you want yourself, and your boys, looking sharp and dialed in. Even if you don’t have final say in color choices, you can at least be in charge of how put together you look. Whether you’re renting a suit or buying one, you have more options than you might realize.
Buying a suit:
If it’s within everyone’s budget, I’d highly recommend you and your groomsmen all buy suits and have them custom tailored to your body types. This is the absolute best option in terms of having control over how the suit ultimately fits you and bang for your buck. Let’s face it, unlike a wedding dress, you can continue to wear the suit again and again.
Renting a suit:
If buying a new suit isn’t an option, renting is your only choice. If you’re not used to wearing a suit, there are a few things you need to be aware of. First of all, the salesperson will give you a suit 1 to 2 sizes too big for you… 100% of the time. This is bad. The trouble with rental suits is they’re standard cut and not very flattering. They’re designed to fit ‘most’ body types, and in order to do that, they run big and bulky. They usually don’t have slim fit options but please be sure to ask. The sales person isn’t necessarily looking after your best interest, so my advice is, once they have you try on a suit (the one that will be too big), ask for one size smaller and try that one. I can almost guarantee it’ll be a better fit. If you’re less than 5’ 9” tall, ask for a ‘short’ size. Same thing with the trousers, ask if they have a slim fit option with a tapered leg. The image below is showing a typical oversize suit on the left, and a proper fit on the right. See the difference?
Let me clear up the ‘slim fit’ talk. When I talk about slim fit, I don’t mean tight-fitting or skinny fit. Slim fit essentially means the excess fabric from a square cut isn’t there. Wearing a square or boxy cut shirt & jacket will make you appear heavier than you are, plain & simple. If you’re carrying a few extra pounds, don’t make the same mistake other guys are making by going up a size trying to conceal yourself in oversize clothing. Sizing down and finding the proper fit for your body can instantly take 50 pounds off your appearance. Seriously. See below. You can also read more about this topic at 40 Over Fashion.
Try sizing down or find a slim fit option. Slim fit jackets also have the armholes (sleeves) located higher up on the jacket. This helps elongate your torso and makes it a lot more comfortable and easier to move around in. Higher armholes also tend to have less bulky sleeves which have the benefit of adding to the slimming effect. With the jacket buttoned, you should have a ‘slight’ pull at the button enclosure. The pull should be slight, but also enough to gently tug the jacket in to help give you a visually slimmer waist. When buttoned, you shouldn’t be able to pull the button area away from your body too much. If you can grab a handful of fabric and pull, the jacket is too big.
Sleeve length is important too. The sleeves should end so you can see about 1/2” of your shirt cuff. If you’re less than 5’ 9”, try a short size. The sleeves will be shorter and the overall length of the jacket will be shorter too. Both of these will make you appear taller and slimmer.
Once again, size down and try a slim fit. The baggier the shirt is, the dumpier you’ll appear, (sorry, but it’s true). Have you ever tucked in a nice shirt only to have all that billowing fabric poking out at your waist and back? Slim fit shirts are tapered in slightly at the waist and back so all that extra fabric isn’t there to billow out. The arm width will be slimmer which adds to a more streamlined look.
Your trousers should be the flat front (no pleats), slim fit, low rise and tapered down to the foot opening. To cuff or not to cuff is personal preference, but how many breaks you have at the bottom is critical, and I would advise no more than a half break. Anything more than that runs the risk of breaking up the visual streamline you’re creating from head to toe. Don’t be afraid to show some sock.
Here are some examples of a standard baggy suit and a well-fitting slim fit suit. Keep in mind, a perfect physique isn’t required to wear a slim fit suit.
Finally, let’s talk about shoes. If your fiancee is deciding what color suit you’re wearing, maybe you can decide on your shoe color. The good news is, you have options. If you’re wearing blue or gray, maybe don’t go with the standard black shoe. Unless your wedding is super formal, go with a light camel or medium brown shoe. Black is too easy. Going with brown versus black modernizes and classes up your suit over standard black. Here’s a visual color guide for you.
While we’re on the topic of shoes, stay classic and avoid square toe shoes. Round point will always be in style and will always look sharp. If you want to show a little flash with your shoes, go with a single or double monk strap. Monk straps are incredibly stylish and streamlined in appearance. Lace-up brogue wingtips or cap toe styles are also great classic options.
I hope this style guide was helpful. The fact is, most guys just don’t pay that much attention to how a suit should really fit. Hopefully, after reading this, you have more insight and are better prepared for your wedding day. Here’s the bonus, if your fiancee has never seen you dressed in a proper well-fitting suit before, you can absolutely blow her mind by taking the little extra effort. You’ll instantly see it on her face and chances are she won’t be able to keep her hands off you. Good luck and congratulations!
*some images sourced from Google.