Your Day, Your Way (Part Two)

Styling Thoughts for the Groom and his Groomsmen

Your groomsmen are your supporting cast. At least those fine gentlemen are the part of the cast of characters who stand on the groom’s side of the altar during the wedding drama. Though according to most historical accounts, it hasn’t always been that way. Originally, from an Anglo-Saxon tradition, the primary role of the groomsmen (then referred to as the bride’s knights) was to protect the bride and her dowry, making certain that she arrived safely to the wedding ceremony and any event related to the wedding. In cases where the bride’s family was opposed to the wedding, the groomsmen would serve as a line of defense to keep the family at bay while the bride and groom made their getaway. Now that could be some pretty good fun! Anyway, most people in that situation today simply choose to elope. Not as much fun, but just try to stop them!

As your supporting cast, the groomsmen should look like they belong with the groom, but none of them should run the risk of being mistaken for the groom. If you will be wearing a tuxedo, then they should too. You know that I always say “Luxe to the Tux,” but there are other options. If you’re in a suit, then they should be in suits too. Should you choose to be fully dressed in morning coat or tailcoat, you probably won’t ask your wedding party to follow suit unless you are commonly referred to as Your Royal Highness or that sort of thing. In that case, your groomsmen should, at a minimum, wear tuxedos. Typically the groomsmen are differentiated from the groom in the finer details such as a vest or tie or both. Other details to consider as a means of coordinating and providing both color and continuity are pocket squares, boutonnieres, or socks. On suits or more casual outfits, matching belts could come into play.

Recently hitched in the City by the Bay, J.T from San Francisco said,

“Probably the most important thing I learned was matching everyone’s clothing–whether it was suits or ties (making sure both suit and tie coloring matches with the wedding colors) the importance of continuity with your groomsman’s clothing is huge. My Bride and I were thinking of having every groomsman wear their own suit but in the end we realized that continuity is key!”

So, choosing ties for the groomsmen’s that coordinate with the color of the bridesmaid’s dresses could be a way to go. Your Tom James clothier has amazing resources to do whatever amount you may need of ties, bow ties, vests, or pocket squares.

With his wedding only a few weeks away, the topic of what everyone will be wearing has been fresh on his mind of Kevin M., from Austin, TX. Kevin says,

“The wedding will be in the Spring and held outside in the bride’s parents back garden. Since it will be before 6:00pm, I will not be wearing a tuxedo and since it will be a bit on the casual side neither will I be wearing a morning suit. I have decided to wear a dark blue suit with a contrasting buff/tan double breasted, straight bottom vest, a white shirt and a blue tie. I am going for a look that does not look like I just came from the office, but that I am getting married. The bridesmaids will be wearing lighter earth tones with some tan and some gold. For the groomsmen we have chosen solid navy blue, single breasted suits, white shirts and gold woven textured solid ties. We want the groomsmen to be dressed very similar to help provide continuity.

All of the groomsmen and I will also be wearing the traditional boutonniere on the lapel of our coats. My best man’s suit will be a slightly lighter shade and along with his name inside the suit he will have a label inside that says “Best man”. Inside my suit I will have my name on one side and on the other side the label will read “Kevin & Erin 4-13-2012”

I’m convinced! There is virtue in continuity when it comes to planning a wedding party. I like Kevin’s comment about making sure that he looks like he’s getting married (aka doing something extraordinarily special). He also told me that “when it comes to groomsmen, they should be dressed just a notch less formal than the groom.” Sounds to me like he has that well figured.

So you’re a groomsman?
Here are a few basics to keep in mind to:

  • Make sure ahead of time that your outfit fits. Ahead of time….meaning not just before show time…just in case it the pant length needs a final adjustment. People will be watching, pictures will be taken.
  • Show up on time.
  • Plan to attend all of the pre and post wedding events (Engagement party, rehearsal dinner, and of course the reception.)
  • Be a great wingman to the Best Man.
  • Be prepared to work as an usher and to be generally helpful. The groom will have enough on his mind without having to worry about a wayward groomsman.

For you who have been there, done that, what additional advice would you offer for turning out a supporting cast who will do the groom (and bride) proud?


Sartorial Regards,


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