Decoded: Formal Wedding Attire


Photo credit amazonaws.comDear SF Tailor,

I’m invited to a big city wedding but I don’t get the wedding attire jargon. After the University of Oregon, my buddy moved to San Francisco and I stayed in Eugene. I don’t like suiting up … but I sure don’t want to look dumb.

Make me a Dapper Duck

Dear Dapper Duck,

tuxedo2Thanks for asking. You’re not alone when it comes to decoding formal wedding attire rules. We’ll break down black tieblack tie optional, and cocktail attire code:

  • Black Tie means tuxedo, or dinner jacket in Britain.
    A single breasted tuxedo with a notched lapel (see photo) looks good on most guys. Lean and lanky guys should consider a shawl lapel.

    A formal tuxedo shirt has a pleated front to the waist, so the shirt doesn’t buckle or bunch up when you’re sitting. Cover your waist with (1) a cummerbund, (2) a vest or waistcoat, or (3) a double breasted dinner jacket which should be buttoned in public at all times.

    Typically the outside leg of tuxedo trousers have a stripe of satin, silk, or grosgrain (a ribbed fabric). Match the stripe and the lapel. Why not choose Thunder Green satin lapels and bow tie? Tuxedo pants can be pleated for a fitted look. However flat front pants are more common. NEVER cuff tuxedo trousers. The look lengthens one’s height and adds elegance.

  • Black Tie Optional
    The wedding party will wear tuxes but other guests can dress slightly more relaxed in dark suits of black, dark grey, or navy. Preview our gallery for a few looks that can double for future special occasions and career events.
  • Cocktail Attire
    Technically, this is slightly less formal than a black tie affair. Cocktail party attendees wear suits with ties. Darker suits are standard. (If you are taller, shorter or more muscular than average, we suggest skimming past blog entries for some style hacks to enhance your look.) Shirts are usually white or a light color. Choose a solid colored tie… perhaps a Lightning Yellow or Thunder Green to celebrate that Oregon spirit.

We’re ready to make a you dashing Duck for your friend’s wedding. Simply visit an alterations shop to get accurate measurements in a few minutes, or follow our instructions on theSFtailor.com where you can easily customize your own tuxedo or suit.

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