Feb 28, 2010

Groom's Attire...the Tuxedo

Groom's Attire...the Tuxedo

My visits to Fox Formal in Bloomfield Hills are always enjoyable ones. The store's owner, Merilyn Barnett, is always up on the latest fashion information for my male clients. It was great anticipation that I scheduled my field trip to discuss men's formal attire!

The two hour visit to Fox Formal answered all the questions that have been posed to me at one time or another by anxious grooms, fathers of brides and grooms, groomsmen and even little ring bearers...today, I was determined to try to answer the questions that make men nervous! With the help of Merilyn, I hope that our Q&A session will bring some good information to the men in our lives!

To Button or NOT to Button

Q: What is the most popular style of tuxedo?

A: The most popular tuxedo will be a black 1 or 2 button tuxedo.

Q: What buttons are actually buttoned?

A: If the tuxedo is a 2 button tuxedo, then the top button is buttoned and the bottom button is left open. If the tuxedo is a 3 button tuxedo, then the top two are buttoned and the bottom one is left open.

Black Tie vs. White Tie

Q: What is the MOST formal attire for a male?

A: The most formal attire is white tie. This means that the male wears a black tuxedo with tails, white tie, and a white vest.


Q: What is the most common formal attire?

A: The most common formal attire is black tie. The classic black tuxedo with black tie, and black cummerbund or the gentleman may prefer to wear a vest instead of the traditional cummerbund.

Q: What about the bow tie vs. the long tie?

A: Most recent trends see the popular return of the bow tie. Although both tie styles are acceptable and seen in today's fashion world, there is a return to the classic bow tie.

It was with great excitement that Merilyn taught me how to tie a bow tie! On my last visit to her shop, I asked if she would teach me the art of tying a bow tie. I am a bow lover and have tied a gazillion bows in my time, but I had no idea how to tie a man's formal bow tie...or so I thought I didn't! Merilyn saw a bow that I had tied on package and said, "YOU know how to tie a bow tie - look at your bow - it is the same thing!"

What I didn't know about the formal bow tie is that the sides of the tie are different - I had always thought both sides had a loop on the top BUT not so! A bow tie has a flat side and a loop on the top. Merilyn had a 2 litre bottle filled with beans for practicing and away I went! Here is my first bow tie! CLASSY LOOK!!!

I told Merilyn that I am getting my own 2 litre bottle, filling it with pennies and posting a sign next to it saying, "Want to look like a million bucks, wear a REAL bow tie!"

The Vest OR the Cummerbund

The other key part of the tuxedo outfit is the vest or the cummerbund. This is usually where the bulk of brides' questions really begin in regards to color. The cummerbund is the most traditional and the most classical look and it must be black for the most formal look. The vest is a more contemporary style and may have many textures,colors and patterns from which to select.


Q: What color of vest should be worn with a black tuxedo?

A: The most classic and most formal would be a black vest. If tails are being worn, then a white vest.

Q: Should the vests of the groomsmen match the brides maids' dresses?

A: Some may choose to add color to the vest but the most classic is the black vest and will also be the most ageless look years from now!

Q: What type of tie is worn with a vest?

A: Either a bow tie or a long tie may be worn with a vest and the long tie must be tucked into the vest. It becomes a matter of personal preference; however, a long tie is never worn with a cummerbund!

Q: Should the groom have a different color vest to distinguish him from the other men?

A: A different vest is common and acceptable. Another suggestion may be to have a slightly different boutonniere for the groom rather than make his attire different than the other members of the bridal party. Again, think of the photos and what you really want to be emphasizing in these photographs.

Q: What about the cummerbund? Is it less formal than a vest?

A: The cummerbund and the vest are equally formal. Be sure to put the cummerbund on the right way! Remember the pleats to UP! (just remember cummerbund/crumb catcher...pleats up to catch those crumbs!)

The FOB and the FOG Attire

Q: What should the fathers of the bride and groom wear?

A: Many fathers may have their own tuxedos and as long as they fit properly and are in good condition, they should be allowed to wear their own as long as it is in keeping with what the other men are wearing. It is not mandatory that the fathers "match" the bridal party.

Other Components of the Tuxedo

Q: Should the groom match the bride's gown - ivory or white?

A: The crisp white shirt will usually look the best. The photographs will be more crisp with the white shirt even if the bride wears ivory. There are soooo many shades of ivory for wedding gowns, it would be difficult to find a man's shirt the exact same shade so it may be best to be safe and wear white.

Q: Why do grooms and others complain about the comfort of tuxedo shoes?

A: Most of men's dress shoes have an arch support and should be comfortable. The real problem usually stems from wearing casual shoes in our daily life and then wearing a structured shoe for a formal event. It will feel stiff but should be comfortable.  

Q: Is there a right or a wrong shoe to wear with a tuxedo?

A: Although I do know someone who wore colorful tennis shoes at his wedding, I would not recommend it...besides, that marriage didn't last...so best to go formal! The most preferred dress shoe is the patent leather shoe. If not this style, then a dress shoe that has a plain toe and in GREAT shape! Casual shoes are a no no!!!

Q: What is a pocket square and why?

A: The pocket square is an accessory just like a boutonniere. Sometimes both are worn and sometimes one or the other. A suggestion would be for shorter men to wear only one of these accessories so they don't look overwhelmed.

Q: How do you fold a pocket square?

A: There are lots of different ways to fold a pocket square AND some unusual tips that customers have offered. The most interesting secret that was shared is a gentleman who clips off the string handles of a shopping bag - then drapes the pocket square over and stuffs it into his pocket! The string handle allows the pocket square to keep its shape without slipping. Another gentleman, lines the pocket square with a Kleenex tissue to give it some body - it also keeps the scarf in place....what tips will you discover???

Why Fox Formal for your attire?






Before leaving my field trip at Fox Formal, I asked Merilyn the most important question of all...

Q: Why Fox Formal?

  1. Service is the number one detail at this tuxedo shop!
  2. Fox Formal has quality tuxedo wear - they own all of their own tuxedos! This ensures quality garments that are always in pristine shape!
  3. Variety - Fox Formal carries all styles of tuxedo wear.
  4. FIT and COMFORT!!! Since Merilyn does all of the measuring of her clients, you can be assured that the tuxedo will fit and be comfortable! 
  5. Visit the cutest dog ever! Fox Formal has its very own mascot, Sasha! Most will know Fox Formal by the little dog in the window that wags her tail at all who pass by!

Thank you, Fox Formal!!!

Fox Formal is located in the Bloomfield Plaza at Telegraph & Maple Avenue. Inside the mall where you will also find Breath of Spring and Steve's Deli.


Monday and Thursday -  10:30 AM - 8:00 PM

Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday - 10:30 AM - 6:00 PM

Saturday - 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Seasonally, the shop will be open on Sundays.

Posted Under: Wedding Attire