I would like to share the following excerpt from the letter DCF sent to his groomsmen outlining what he would like members of his wedding party to wear. The letter is a spot on summation of the classic aesthetic we are aiming for. Having witnessed his graduation from Converse Chucks (only while they were made in the USA), a brief fling with Jack Purcells and his full conversion to Blucher Mocs, LongWings and loafers DCF has always been loyal to quality craftsmanship, traditional aesthetics and affordability. I delight in the image of us together years from now clad in items that were once new, but have become perfectly worn, thread barren and treasured for their ability to withstand the test of time.
To begin with I would like to clear up a common misconception about Groomsmen attire, I don't want anyone to think that they should be wearing girl pants and child sized shirts. When I think groomsmen, I don't think this:
It's been a number of years since I have worn either of those things publicly. Yes we are choosing to have our wedding ceremony in a town where I was somewhat known for those things, but to Liz and I it's more about other good memories, especially with people like yourselves. The main idea, the general aesthetic that I'm looking for here is something much much more classic, more New England, Preppy to some degree, but I really don't care for such labels. This is what the front of the non-denominational chapel on the Smith College campus, where the ceremony will be held, looks like:
Helen Hills Hills Chapel, Smith College
It looks like it would fit in well a hundred years ago, or even longer. So really, what my thinking is is that we should dress to suit our surroundings. Something very timeless.
Another important touchstone, before we truly begin is this:
Still From Breakfast At Tiffany's
I'm sure that most of us have seen this movie several times, but it was not until I looked at these photos that I actually thought about what George Peppard is wearing when he played that role. It's absolute perfection and very close to exactly what I'm looking for for Groomsmen rigs.
The Hard and Fast Rules:
1) Absolutely no 100% Polyester anything.
2) Absolutely no wide lapels, over-sized shoulder pads, pleated pants,
pants with any sort of a flare or boot cut.
3) Don't worry about shirts and ties, I will provide them as my gift
to you. Hint: They will look a whole lot like Mr. Peppard's.
1) Look for something in a classic navy, the same shade that you see on George Peppard in those photos, the style that you generally see with brass buttons. In wool, or a mostly wool blend.
2) Lapels shouldn't really be much wider than 3 inches. They also shouldn't be super narrow, like 2 inches, this look is overly trendy and the ties I'm providing will be 2.75 or 3 inches at their widest. Bearing this in mind, lapels that are too narrow or too wide will be disproportionate to your ties.
3) I'm not entirely anti shoulder pad, however, they should be as minimal as possible and maintain a natural shoulder.
4) In terms of size, I want everyone to be comfortable, if you already own a blue blazer by all means wear it. The main thing that I want to avoid is sloppily over-sized jackets.
5) Lastly, as for myself, I haven't entirely settled on what color suit I will be wearing, but I know that I'm looking for a 3/2 roll that is undarted. If you are curious about what this means look towards the mecca:
The Shoes - I think there should be two options:
1) Beefroll Penny Loafers - Example...
Alden Penny Moc $225.00
2) Longwings -Example...
Alden Long Wing Blucher $650.00
Brown only - so guys, that means a brown belt
Now that your jaw is done hitting the floor regarding these prices, please keep in mind that I provided them merely as style examples. You probably would have much better luck finding something second hand, be it at a local shop, or through something online like Ebay or Styleforum. I'm not merely suggesting this as a vegetarian uncomfortable with buying new leather, I'm suggesting it because these are timeless styles that have been around forever. If you're going to go second hand, look for brands like Florsheim Imperials (US Made), Hanover, Nettleton, and occasionally you can find a deal on Aldens. Bass also makes very affordable new versions of both of these styles if you don't like wearing other people's shoes.
Now if you want some real inspiration, go here:
-also, there's now a nice resale shop.
Though I just went through a lot of rules and suggestions, it's a very simple and sort of non-descript rig; Navy blazer, grey pants, brown shoes. I don't want anyone to feel like they have to have a certain jacket, or spend a certain amount of money on any item. I'm just as comfortable with someone digging through thrift stores as I am with someone shelling out and investing in some potential wardrobe staples.
Keep in mind the tailor is your best friend, I've had incredible luck taking things in to be altered here in Trieste and I barely speak Italian. Find a good tailor near you, the only thing they can't mess with on a blazer is the shoulders and they can alter or cuff pants to perfection.
In closing, I will leave you with a quote from the book I am currently reading 'Music of Chance,' by Paul Auster:
"Little by little, Nashe wore him down, and in the end they walked out of the store with five hundred dollars' worth of bourgeois sobriety and restraint, an outfit of such conventionality as to make its wearer invisible in any crowd: navy blue blazer, light gray slacks, penny loafers and a white cotton shirt."
The trick is, to wear it and not be invisible.