THE NAME’S BOND
Synonymous with timeless elegance, total precision and utmost etiquette, the much-loved tuxedo has maintained its superior status as the male ensemble-of-choice for life’s important occasions. With arguably no more important occasion than a wedding, this classic wedding staple has stood the test of time for its formal and stylish aura, which elevates the appearance of any groom. Here, Bethany Hayes sits down with director of Parker & Co., Christian Tana. Together, the pair unearth the tales of the tuxedo, discerning how this classic look has remained relevant across history, alongside styling tips and how future grooms can channel their inner James Bond.
With a history dating back to the 1800s, the humble tuxedo has long evolved from the black and white ‘penguin suits’ of the past, to become an enduring style trend that has maintained its reputation as a classy formal statement – and one fitting for a gentleman at that. While the modern weddings of today offer unlimited potential when it comes groom’s fashion, the tuxedo remains an ever-present choice. For Christian Tana, whose Parker & Co. store has dressed thousands of grooms for their special day, the key to a quality tuxedo lies and staying true to classic styling and a proper fit.
FOR YOUR EYES ONLY
When envisioning a quality tuxedo, chances are a well-fitted black and white ensemble comes to mind. But what elevates a classic tuxedo reminiscent of James Bond above the standard suit? “The traditional tuxedo includes a lapel covered in satin silk, with suit piping, the buttons are always covered, and the pants need to be fitted correctly with no belt,” Tana explains, while also flagging that the suit trousers always have piping – ensuring an excellent fit. When it comes to shoes, the director flags the need for cohesion between the silk of the suit and the shoes themselves – after all, it’s a forma affair. “Because of the silk [within the ensemble], the shoes generally need a high polished finish.”
Moving on to the shirt itself, a white shirt is often a preference for grooms, which will always contrast brilliantly with the black of the jacket. Black buttons along the white shirt can create some eye-catching contrast, while a black shirt underneath the black tuxedo can evoke a dark and mysterious vibe. The expert does however encourage grooms-to-be “never to use exposed buttons”, clarifying that instead, the groom has the choice of wearing studs, and that “the shirt bibs are sewn in”. While seemingly small, it is these extra touches that truly uplift a tuxedo into the striking, polished look it is intended to have – where each element cohesively and sleekly complements the other, and the wearer isn’t in any danger of being exposed with the loss of a button.
For many grooms, a spectacular black tuxedo is exactly what they envision for the formalities of the ceremony. But for the relaxed and celebratory vibe of the reception, something a little more casual and a little more moveable is often desired. “Usually, a groom will opt for a traditional tux for the ceremony,” Tana agrees. “[Something] classic and contemporary for the ceremony, and then more of a party vibe for the reception … [often] with a colourful dinner jacket.” Depending on the vibe and aesthetic of your wedding, as well as its setting, a trusted men’s formalwear supplier will have a dinner jacket to fit the vibe – whether it be the much-loved “velvets for winter” or “linens for summer”.
Tana’s Parker & Co. hosts a vast range of dinner jackets to give grooms-to-be a huge range of choice when it comes to their wedding, and each different colour can bring a unique touch to the celebration. With dinner jackets in “reds through to midnight blues”, the reception is the perfect time to unleash some personality and creativity – with the help of your tailor of course! Dark blue velvet can be a beautiful touch to a winter wedding, complete with a white pocket square that matches the shirt underneath. A dark green suit – while not for the faint hearted – can be another striking option. Picture a black bow tie with some decadent green velvet to make the ultimate statement – both texture and colour uniting in opulence.
Grooms getting married in the tropics need not be left out either, with Tana confirming that his store has “a big collection in terms of choice”, with the team having looked after tropical weddings all over the world, from Bali through to the Bahamas. For the seaside affairs, using linens or pure linens is an excellent option. This lightweight, breathable fabric is the perfect option for such weddings, still maintaining a sense of formality, but with a cool and comfortable execution to match the location. Often with a satin lapel, corresponding satin-coloured buttons and a refined texture, it’s a brilliant alternative for the beach wedding.
ACCESORISE TO THRILL
While it can be tempting to leave the organisation of the suit until a few weeks before the big day, getting in three to five months before the date will ensure your tailor has enough time to order in necessary fabrics, and also get you in for a final fitting to ensure everything is sitting like a dream and to really put your mind at ease before the day. With James Bond himself known as a symbol of the dapper tuxedo, it is perhaps most notably the way his suits are so sharply tailored to his body that exudes his notable sense of smooth seduction. With nothing hanging lose, and the finesse of the small details in check, it’s the clean lines and cohesivity that enhance the tuxedo’s sense of power.
When it comes to styling your iconic tuxedo look, a bow tie is an integral element of the classic tuxedo. To highlight the man of the moment, it may be a nice option for the groomsmen to wear ties, while the groom stands out with an elegant bow tie. “A tuxedo always looks better with a bow tie,” Tana agrees. “It’s rare for us to pair a tuxedo with a tie.” For accessories, a crisp pocket square in a straight-line finish can provide brilliant contrast within your ensemble, while braces or some reflective, metallic cufflinks can add that extra bit of ‘wow’ factor.
For an occasion of a lifetime, the classic tuxedo remains an enduring, suave and ever-stylish choice for a groom. Working alongside an expert to ensure that ideal tailor-made fit is achieved will leave you looking back your photos with absolute fondness, and ensure you’re well on your way to channelling your inner James Bond.
Image courtesy of Unsplash