As a bride-to-be, you’ve probably spent hours trawling websites, blogs and magazines in search of your dream bridal gown – and in some ways it’s easy. Everyone’s talking about them, everyone’s sharing the latest trends, everyone’s pretty much obsessed with what the bride will wear. Err… But what about the boys? If your man has be struggling with what he’s going rock on his special day, then hand your laptop over to him for a second. Dude, we got you. Regular contributor to Rock n Roll Bride magazine, Alex Smith, has tried out all the wedding suit options you could possible think of … So you don’t have to.
I was having a conversation with a close friend recently about suits for his wedding. He said ‘it’s all too complicated, I don’t know where to go, or how to do it, I’ll probs just let my wife pick or go and hire it from the place we got our prom suits.
Just two weeks later, that friend… was dead! Not really, but with that attitude towards his suit for his wedding day, and the fact that he uses the word ‘probs’ in actual verbal conversation means that he is dead… to me. Also, just so you know for my prom I wore a white tuxedo jacket, black trousers, and dyed my hair black, but had an allergic reaction to the dye. I became the new punchline to “What’s white, black and red all over?” I bet that sunburnt zebra is laughing it up somewhere, smug prick.
Picking a suit for your wedding is extremely difficult, there are absolutely tonnes to choose from. Last time I was in Topshop there were about 30 different types of suit, and three guys in the store, so that’s 10 different types of suit per person, which means globally there are over 70 billion different suits in the world. Don’t look at that statistic like that, Katie Melua told you there were 9 million bicycles in Beijing in 2005 and you’re still rolling it out as a definitive fact, but you have a problem with my 70 billion suits?
Either way, the choice can be overwhelming, and part of that confusion comes from how you are going to acquire the suit. Much like that thing that seems like it would be fun, but will probably destroy your marriage: it’s a three way. Three different choices: Rented, Bought and Custom Made.
I figured the best way to be able to talk you through all the different processes, would be to actually go and do them. So, a few companies generously offered to take me through the process and lend us some suits to show you what you can expect from each different level.
Rent – Moss Bros – £59
Fifty-nine pounds! I mean you could buy 5900 penny sweets for that, or 59 pound sweets, OR almost 6 £10 sweets, but if you’re paying ten pounds for one sweet then I imagine your budget stretches way beyond this, you fancy bitch.
There are thousands of places that rent out suits, I chose Moss Bros because they are everywhere, near enough every high street I’ve ever walked down; there’s a Moss Bros, every shopping centre; there’s a Moss Bros, that time you were walking down a dark alley and you thought you heard another set of footprints; that was a Moss Bros!
The process is pretty straight forward, you go into a store and say: “Good morning, fine sir or madam (pick one don’t say both) I am looking to hire a suit”.
They will then show you a multitude of options of 40 or so different suits, many of which are made by Moss Bros, but also FCUK, Ted Baker and more (here I have cleverly used ‘and more,’ to mask the fact that I am unaware of any others – journalism!)
Then they’ll do this fun thing where they look at you in a slightly judgmental way and pick up the size that they think you are – act impressed it’s a party trick that they are extremely proud of. They will get it wrong sometimes, and if you are one of the people they get it wrong on then be gentle when breaking the news, imagine watching a sword swallower finish his act and then you see his pancreas has fallen out, you don’t want to scream it at him, it’s important everyone stays calm and sensitive to the situation.
On top of hiring the suit, you can hire shirts, ties, waistcoats, pocket square, even a cummerbund. The cummerbund was adopted by British military after seeing men wearing them during the colonialisation of India. But I find if you don’t spend too much time thinking about its ghastly origin, then it does look nice and works as a great way to keep your gut sucked in.
To be blunt, this one comes down to cost. If you’re trying to keep things tight then only having to spend 50 odd quid on your suit is extremely reasonable. You go and grab it a couple of days before and drop it off a couple of days afterwards, job done. On top of that the suits are exactly the same as the ones that you can buy for substantially more, you just have to try and ignore the fact that another man’s junk has been in them before, although knowing your future wife, you’re used to ignoring that HAAAYOOOOOO!!!! – I genuinely apologise, Janine’s a lovely girl.
I personally wanted to keep my wedding suit and with renting that is not an option – unless you skip the country – but I can’t condone that. Also, you do not have the option to edit the suit in anyway, it can’t be taken in, out, up, down, I suppose you could wear it inside out like The Fresh Prince, if you’re having a 90s theme – but I can’t condone that. Moss will get you the best fit possible, but it simply won’t be as good as something altered to you.
I would say that renting is the perfect option for groomsmen, each guy can go in to whatever Moss Bros they are closest too, be fitted, collect, and return the suit. It is so simple, cheap and easy… Much like Janice – HAAAAYYYYOOOO. Again, I’m so sorry for that, she’s charming.
Buy – ASOS – £125
I know that there are countless shops out there that sell suits, and there are some absolutely amazing places, but I want to highlight somewhere that you can buy something a little more unique. ASOS make the widest variety of suits I have ever seen, from regular fit black tuxedos right through to super-skinny fit blue suits with freaking birds and lizards smothered all over them.
I know a fair few people shy away from buying suits online because you can’t try them on, but ASOS does next day delivery and free returns. Basically, you could sit in bed at 11pm browsing suits, pick a few to try on, order them and have them at lunch time the next day, and at no point would you have to be wearing pants! If you go to Oxford Street to try on suits they almost insist that you wear pants – It’s political correctness gone mad but apparently, nudity in the suit section of Marks and Spencer’s is ‘illegal.’ I don’t think they mind as much if you’re in the food hall but be aware that it’s pretty chilly down there.
Er… You’ve bought stuff before, right?
The great thing about ASOS is that as well as making a great deal of their own bitchin’ suits they also stock countless other brands. The process is nice and easy. Next time you’re at a catch-up dinner with a friend, church or in the middle of the throws of passion, just pick up your phone and hide it under the table, in the bible, or behind their back, and then just scroll through suits, buy a bunch and try them.
First and foremost, like I said, being able to own your suit is ace, and when you buy instead of rent, your options go up by about a million times, and sometimes the suits haven’t had anyone else’s thighs sweat in them… sometimes.
It also allows you to mix and match, very few places sell by the suit, instead each individual piece is priced which allows you to be a little bit creative.
Owning the suit opens up a lot of options as well. Say for example you find the exact suit that you want, but when you put it on the trousers aren’t quite as tight as you want, or the jacket doesn’t fit your waist properly. You know whenever you pass a dry cleaners and there’s a woman in the window sat at a sewing machine who looks like she’s just a passing mother who wanted to put name patches in her son’s sports shorts. Well that lady, Martha’s her name by the way, she works there. Martha is a freaking wizard and she’s also cheap, not like Janice is cheap, I mean financially cheap. Go in to your local dry cleaners and ask them to nip your jacket in or take your trousers up then it’ll cost you next to nothing. Also ask Martha how Derek’s getting on, he’s had his hip done and I’ve not seen him at bowls for weeks.
If you are trying to find a way to keep costs low, but also want to have a fantastic fitting suit, then buying a suit and having it altered is a fantastic compromise and will look incredible.
Custom Made – Jack Bunneys – £1650
If anyone has ever said to you ‘you can’t have everything you want,’ then they have never had a suit custom made. You can have anything you want, the only thing that it’ll cost you is, well, money. Whilst Jack Bunneys offer amazing rental and purchasable suits, bespoke tailoring is where they really shine.
Now if you are not good at making choices, this is not the avenue for you, because there are 23 different choices to be made and within those categories there are over 150 options to decide upon. Never thought about whether or not you want your pockets to be straight, slant, acute, flat, jetted, patch, patch with flat, patch with flap and button, flat ticket, jetted ticket, contrast flap, or a contrast patch? Well better start thinking about it because you can pick. You don’t have to have any pockets if you don’t want, this suit is going to look so fancy that it would not look out of place if you had a full-on butler carrying your stuff for you all day.
My advice on tailors would be to always get a recommendation, if you go online you’ll find a plethora of places that will be bragging about how cheap they are or how quick it can be etc. Making a suit is not a cheap process and should take time. The tailors at Jack Bunneys will spend 80 to 100 hours on every suit and it massively shows.
They will need at least 12 weeks from your first consultation to make the suit, but the earlier the better.
First off you go in for a consultation. Whatever tailor you go to will have samples around the store so you can see all the little intricacies and try on ones that are similar to your size.
Then they will take between 18 and 40 measurements of your body. Then they use a secret code of loads of different acronyms for different body types – if your head leans 0.3cm to the left then it will be written down, if your right ass cheek has an unusually large mole, they’ll probably jot down the radius and circumference. If they call you a J it means you have a prominent seat, which means you got some junk dans le trunk, if you’re a P then you’re erect, if you’re a PP then you’re very erect. After a full wedding day, it’s very difficult to be PP, it’s a tiring day. Erect means standing tall you perverts.
Next you pick your fabric. The level to which the staff at Bunneys is interested in fabric borders on concerning. When we were looking for a fabric for the waistcoat they brought out a leather-bound folder with only one page inside from a company that only makes fabric out of wool, and this wool is made only from sheep born and raised in the UK. Now I’m not trying to big myself up, but, I’m not particularly xenophobic when it comes to sheep. For me nationality in sheep is almost completely irrelevant. Except of course Belgian sheep who are total arseholes. Whilst this example is ridiculous I think it highlights just how many different options there are, not only can you pick from millions of different fabrics you can pick which bleeding country the sheered animal comes from.
Once you’ve figured out your fabric, now it’s time to get specific, and I mean really specific. There are 30 different types of collar! You can have your suit monogrammed for God’s sake. As for accessories, you can have ties and pocket squares made out of the same material as the suit or waistcoat so that everything coordinates flawlessly.
From this point, they’ll do 3-6 fittings dependent on how happy you are with everything, they won’t stop adjusting it until it’s absolutely perfect.
Why Custom Make?
I would say that if it’s in the budget then do it. You get three things: Expertise, quality and choice. The only limit is your own imagination, if you have a picture of the suit you want I guarantee Jack Bunneys can make it.
The Wild Card – Joshua Kane – £1850
Now I know that I’ve covered the buying section but I wanted to throw a cheeky twist in. I still think that if money is no option then custom making a suit is the way to go, but I appreciate that having to pick how many buttons you would like on your cuff may be a little too intense for some. You may not really know what you want or you might be devoid of all creativity, that doesn’t mean you don’t deserve an unreal suit, it just means your best off staying an accountant Mark. Therefore, I wanted to include a designer who can be creative in your place.
Having a look through the higher end of the suit world there is a lot of emphasis on ridiculously high quality fabrics but quite simple designs. Forget picking fabric just for its country of origin, probably more like discriminating between animals because of whether or not they were privately educated. Simple designs would never have stood out with the other companies we chose for this article and that’s when I came across Joshua Kane I knew I had to include them.
Joshua Kane make some of the most incredible suits I’ve ever seen and the shop is so beautiful I genuinely considered selling my home just to buy some of them. Being homeless can’t be that bad if your suits look that good. It’s probably quite hard to beg in an £1850 suit though.
The thing that I think makes Joshua Kane worth including in the list is that they offer a Made to Measure service for their suits, so if you love a design of one of their suits then you go in and get measured and they will make you one specific to your measurements. It’s a slightly grey area between buying a suit and making one entirely from scratch.
Here’s a good guiding quote from yours truly: ‘Generally the more expensive things are, the nicer they are.’ Now I know that the text underneath Instagram pictures of sunsets would almost always counter this view, but with suits it just is the case, soz! There’s two ways you can look at this really. 1) I’m only going to wear it once, or 2) I’m only going to wear it once! Sorry that doesn’t really work written down.
Suits are like partners, when you find the right one you just know, and sometimes when you’re drunk you slip back into an old one because you forgot how awful it was.
This article originally appeared in Rock n Roll Bride magazine, issue 16. You can still order it as a back issue via our shop. The current edition, issue 18, is available on the high street right now, or why not subscribe?
- Photography: Lisa Jane Photography