A suit can make or break how a groom looks and feels on the day of his wedding. Ill-fitting and misshapen, it can be a disaster. But a perfectly cut and sharp, well co-ordinated suit can transform the average Aussie bloke into a suave and dapper looking gent who truly looks as good as his beautiful bride.
“It’s one of the days in your life when you should look the best you can, I think,” says Chris Edwards, director at Melbourne-based tailors, Oscar Hunt. “But from a practical point of view, there’s a lot going on during the day, too.
“You’ll be moving around, taking photos, standing at the altar and walking down the aisle. It might be really hot and you might feel the pressure, so you don’t want to be worrying about your suit and constantly trying to fix it or fiddle with it.”
Oscar Hunt specialises in made-to-measure suits for men and has recently expanded its Melbourne operations into Sydney. The company began five years ago and was the brainchild of Chris and his two high school mates who wanted to bring back for men the old-world experience of having a beautiful suit tailored, but at an accessible price point.
“We had the vision of making sure that the experience wasn’t intimidating and it came with passionate and informed fitters who would talk you through the design, fabric and cut of the suits, so that even if you had no knowledge of what you wanted, you would be safe in the knowledge that we had you covered and the end result would be an amazing suit you’d wear with confidence and you knew fit well,” Chris explains.
In the past, Chris has worked with high-profile Australian designers such as Toni Maticevski, Dion Lee and Josh Goot and helped launch Oscar Hunt in the hope of bringing that same level of care and quality of materials to menswear.
One of the benefits of a good tailored suit is that not only will it fit you perfectly, it will be made in a way to help you feel comfortable on your day and look sharp, he says.
For example, grooms that have worn Oscar Hunt suits during their summer weddings have chosen lightweight fabrics and their suits have been constructed in a particular way to allow for breathability. If a customer has a tendency to sweat, the Oscar Hunt tailors usually suggest a mohair fabric which has a natural quality of moving fabric way from the skin.
“That can only be found in tailored suiting, which helps to make sure everything runs as well as it can on the day. The photos look good and the groom is comfortable,” he explains.
Here, Chris offers his ten top tips for grooms on the hunt for the perfect suit (with some advice for brides, too).
What does a quality suit look like?
Not really sure what to look for when choosing a great suit?
“The game is won and lost in the shoulders and chest. So if you have a nicely shaped shoulder, one that’s not caving or has any indentation and it just falls nicely from the shoulder, that’s one tell-tale sign,” reveals Chris.
The chest area shouldn’t be too tight and the rest of the suit should fall well, which is where tailors focus a lot of their attention when it comes to measuring, he adds.
“You can also look for particular features, like working buttonholes in the cuff or handmade finishes. It’s a little more difficult to pick out, but I think checking out how a nicely finished wool catches the light or the way it performs under certain conditions are good signs, as well.”
Here’s what a bad suit looks like
If the chest piece looks like it’s bubbling a bit and it has a stiff finish, that often means that it’s a canvas piece made from horse hair or mohair and glued to the fabric, which often doesn’t give it a natural drape, says Chris.
And if the sizing is wrong or something is tight or pulling in wrong places, put that suit back on the rack.
Embrace the experience of seeing a tailor
Men don’t always enjoy shopping for clothes or have the patience for it, but if you have an expert tailor to help create a beautiful suit for you, take advantage of his skills and be open to the experience.
“We see guys who know a lot about tailoring and others who know very little, but it’s important to embrace the experience. Get involved in looking through different fabrics and what fabrics work for you. Ask questions about what works for your body type, even though it can be a bit awkward,” advises Chris.
“You could almost become a little bit of a suit connoisseur – that way, you’ll walk out of the experience knowing what looks good on you and it will give you confidence when you wear your it on the day.”
Invest in a decent suit
Suits come at all different prices, but Chris advises grooms to buy the best that they can afford. Your tailor should be able help you and your groomsmen work within your budget and may even be able to offer you a certain group deal. He should also be able to show you a wide range of different fabrics, which often will influence the overall price of your suit, too.
“The suit is for your wedding day, but to that end, it shouldn’t be something you just wear once. From a dinner suit to a casual, less traditional suit, a tailored suit will fit your body and you should enjoy it for years to come. In that sense, this is the time to invest,” he says.
Keep it simple
“Guys tend to do too much sometimes They might see something in a magazine or in a film and go, ‘I want this big check or colour or this particular look’ and it becomes a bit confusing,” says Chris. “They start to second-guess things and do too much with their suit. We tell them to keep it simple.”
Don’t focus on matching everything
While it’s ideal for the bridal party to wear complementary outfits, it’s not necessary for everyone to completely match each other.
“There can be a tendency for bridal parties to want to match their accessories or to make sure there’s a piece of colour that bounces off another floral arrangement or the groomsmen, which can compromise the overall look of the suit,” says Chris.
“Our advice is that the real focus should be on the cut of the suit, because that is a stunning statement in itself, even if it’s a simple black. We can work with all the groomsmen, and we’ll make sure the colours don’t clash with the wedding party – so long as that’s right, the overall look is a good one.”
It’s all in the details
The difference between looking a bit blah and brilliant is all in the little details, says Chris.
“Make sure the shoes are shined and you wear good socks that are a step up from the old holey socks you usually wear,” he advises.
Accessories can add some sartorial flair to your suit, such as a simple pocket square in an interesting colour or print. Polka dot and paisley patterns that complement the colours worn by your groomsmen or the bridesmaids can give your overlook some polish, too. They’re really simple touches that can make a good impact.
“Suspenders are good too. They’re hidden by the jacket during the ceremony but later on, when it comes off, the suspenders give you a different look, which is nice,” offers Chris.
What flavour will your wedding cake be?
Think outside the box
Not up for a simple black and white suit combo? If you’d like something a bit more quirky, consider experimenting with different colours or even mix and matching your trouser and jacket combination, says Chris. You may have a subtle trouser to act as a good foundation for your suit, but then choose a coloured or patterned blazer. Or you could even go for a linen or cotton suit if your wedding will be held during the warmer months.
“Recently, we did a light blue three-piece suit with a white overcheck pattern. The groom didn’t come in with that particular fabric in mind. He just came in and said ‘We’re doing a non-traditional wedding and I don’t want the suit to be formal and stuffy. I want it to be really something I can wear again’,” recalls Chris.
“From there, we went through our range of fabrics with him and started to get the picture that he was keen to make a statement and play around with some patterns and colours and when we arrived on that overcheck pattern, it was love at first sight… The suit ended up being spectacular.”
“The game is in the accessories – you’ve got a great little pocket square combination, whether it’s a tie or bowtie to go with it, you could throw in a pair of tan brogue shoes and suspenders, which can really define that quirky look,” he says.
Accept that you’re not (quite) Ryan Gosling
There are some customers who have a specific vision of what they’d like their suit to look like, which can be helpful, but it’s also important to be open to different ideas when you see your tailor.
“We do find that people come in and say, ‘I want that suit that Ryan Gosling wore in 2011 at this Academy Awards night’ and that becomes a fixation for them. But the truth is no-one looks like Ryan Gosling except for Ryan Gosling,” explains Chris. “Finding a great suit is more about what works for the individual as opposed to what works for someone else.”
While you may have certain preferences for the kind of style that you would like, be open to suggestions when it comes to other details like the colour or fabric, which often depend on your complexion, hair colour or whether your wedding will be indoors or outdoors, he adds.
A tip for brides
Chris encourages brides to join their partners during suit fittings, as they can often offer a valuable third opinion. However, there are brides who sometimes have a specific idea of what their husband-to-be should look like on the day, which isn’t always what the groom may actually want to wear.
“If you’ve got a clear vision of what you want your partner to look like on the day, that’s totally fine, but be conscious of the fact that it’s going to be the guy who’s wearing the suit on the day and if he’s uncomfortable with the colour or style, it will make a lots of things uncomfortable,” Chris warns.
“We get a lot of girls telling the tailor what needs to be done. But it’s important to try to compromise. You don’t want someone being awkward or posing weirdly in photos and not enjoying the suit.”
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