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28 July 2014

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Groom's style - fashion Q&A

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Dan Rookwood, the US editor of mrporter.com, will help your gent avoid any fashion faux pas.

Groom's style - weddings - Squaremeal_Wedding_Issue_Illustration_March_19_F.jpg-resized.jpg

Should I shave for the big day if I don’t normally? I’m torn between looking myself and looking neater! Stephen, Hackney

I had exactly this dilemma on my own wedding day. My advice would be to ask what your betrothed would prefer. You need to actually look like you and you need to feel comfortable. If you normally sport a full beard, keep it – otherwise you’ll freak everyone out on the day, including your new wife and yourself. If you go clean, don’t leave the big shave to the day itself. Start shaving the week before as newly exposed skin can look raw or strangely grey at first. It is, however,
possible to keep the stubble and still look neat. Do what I did and go to a traditional barbershop the day before for a tidy up and ask the barber to fade the stubble line so it looks natural. Or else use a beard trimmer on a grade 2 or 3. Set your trimmer to one grade below the rest of your stubble for the hairline on the neck and cheeks. Like good coffee and mediocre whisky, the key is in the blend.

I know that traditionally I’m supposed to wear a morning suit for the ceremony, but I’d rather wear a DJ for the reception. Making the ushers rent two outfits seems silly. Is it fair to buck tradition? James, Streatham

Not many men own a morning suit – unless you have a box at Ascot and/or a lot of well-to-do friends of marrying age – so it’s unlikely to be economically viable. But by the time a man reaches his late 20s, he ought to own rather than rent a dinner jacket. And if any of your ushers don’t, then you’re giving them the perfect opportunity to put this right. A compromise might be to say that the wedding is suits but the reception is black tie. Strictly speaking, dinner jackets are from 6pm only, but most of these ‘rules’ are pompousanachronisms, so if you want to wear a tux during the day, do it. As the groom, you have the power to dictate the dress code. That said, please do not make your groomsmen wear those horrific matching scrunched wedding cravats in shiny satin that you see advertised cheesily in the back of Sunday supplements. This is a day you will remember for the rest of your life, partly because there will be a picture of it on your mantelpiece forever. So what you’re after is something that will not date horribly. And, as James Bond has proved for the last 50 years, there is nothing more timeless than classic black tie.

I like the braces look, but I’m a bigger guy. Is there a way to wear braces that will flatter my figure rather than accentuate my waist? Tom, Kentish Town

If you’re carrying a lot of weight around the middle, braces are more elegant than a belt as they create less of an ‘overhang’. In fact, I personally never wear a belt with a suit at all. The single most important thing to remember when dressing a fuller figure is to get fit – by which I mean go to see a personal tailor rather than a personal trainer. You don’t want a suit that is too baggy or too tight – both will draw attention to your physique. A skilled alterations tailor can take pounds off you (imperial rather than sterling). Wearing braces will allow the trousers to fall smoothly at the front rather than bunch and crease, creating a sleeker silhouette. And if you go for a good-quality set of braces – button-style rather than metal clamps – in a nice bold colour, it will help demonstrate that you are comfortable in yourself rather than someone who has given up. So, if you’ll pardon the pun, embrace it.



This article was first printed in Square Meal Weddings, 2014

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