Over the weekend, I was fortunate enough to attend the wedding of my friends (and former college newspaper co-workers), Danielle and Vas, for their nuptials on northern Lake Tahoe. There were actually two ceremonies: a Hindu ceremony in the morning and a Western ceremony in the early evening. Both were delightful.

About a month ago, Vas asked me to help him find a suit or tuxedo for his wedding’s evening ceremony. Like a lot of young couples getting married, the budget was a concern — but he didn’t want something cheap and bad looking either. I suggested he check out Suit Supply’s tuxedo and it’s what he went with. 

When you consider that “tuxedo” rentals from the likes of Men’s Warehouse are pretty terrible, buying your own tuxedo seems like a better deal. You’ll look great and you can probably find several times in your life to wear it (like New Year’s Eve).

Photo Credit: Beck Diefenbach, who’s another friend of mine and an incredible photojournalist and who also does wedding photography work, too. If you need a freelance photographer in the San Francisco Bay Area, you should contact him.


Hi, Mr. Silentist! I'm attending a wedding in late July. It's an outdoor wedding during the day and the temp will be around 20C (~70F). The invitation says "Semi-formal or smart-casual". Aren't these totally different things? Either way, I'm thinking I'll wear a chino suit in khaki or navy. Or a chino sportcoat in the same with separate pants. Thoughts? Shirt/tie/trouser/jacket/shoes combo? Any particular brands you can point me towards? I'd like to keep my budget under $1000. Thanks!

- Asked by Anonymous

Wearing a chino suit should be fine. I’d probably go with navy and a white shirt, white linen square and a wedding tie (black and white houndstooth or glen plaid check). For shoes, I’d go with a plain black captoe (if wearing khaki, go with a dark burgundy or brown pair). 

As for brands:

  • Suit: L.L.Bean Signature
  • Shirt: Brooks Brothers Extra Slim Fit
  • Tie: Kent Wang 6-fold
  • Shoes: Allen Edmonds
  • Square: Kent Wang or Howard Yount

So, I'm getting married in semi-Northern California (think mountains and trees, not beach or vineyards) in July and seeking knowledge from the tumblrsphere. I want to get a new suit, shoes, etc, but I'll have a pretty tight budget. I'm thinking I'll be capped around $1500. Any suggestions on where to start?

- Asked by rjwellman

I’ve seen you’ve asked several others this question so far as well, and I think they’ve given some great answers. $1,500 is actually a decent budget to work with. 

If you set aside $300 for a pair of Allen Edmonds (I’d recommend black Park Avenues), then you’ve got about $1,200 to burn on a suit. Minimal Musings gave a great suggestion about a using Kent Wang’s $85 wedding tie. You can search around on eBay for vintage mother-of-pearl cufflinks for $15 easily. So, we’re at $1,100 now. 

I’d recommend getting a proper dress shirt MTM. If you have a dress shirt that’s already well-fitting for you, then maybe use that as a basis to order something from BiasedCut or another online MTM service. Get it with a French front, no pocket and French cuffs. Should run you about $100. Down to $1,000 now, which is nothing to slouch at.

That puts you in the price range of anything at J.Crew and also at Brooks Brothers at full retail. You could swing something from Brooks Brothers right now on sale, just remember to avoid pinstripes and gravitate yourself toward darker tones (charcoal, navy) in solids.

So, that’s my recommendation. Also, treat-yo-self to some nice over-the-calf socks. Howard Yount has a lot of pairs in navy and grey tones right now on sale for around $25/pair. You won’t regret this splurge, trust me.


Getting married in April next year and we are thinking of suits rather than poorly fitted rental tuxes. Suggestions on an appropriate grey suit? I'm 6'2", 185 lbs, 42 long suit size. Would be looking for something that I could continue to wear after the wedding.

- Asked by Anonymous

I suppose it would ultimately depend on the budget you’re working with and what you want your wedding party to pay for their suits. I seem to recall one reader mentioning he had his party order suiting separates from Lands’ End in the same color — that’s certainly a good, low-priced option where everyone at least will walk away with a decent suit for the price of most tuxedo rentals.

Of course, if you and your groomsmen are ballin’ outta control, you could all get made-to-measure suits at Ralph Lauren where you’d be able to specify fabrics and insist upon details like having peaked lapels.

But I think a good, moderately priced option would be J.Crew. Aside from the fact they have suiting separates, which makes getting everyone properly fitting trousers and jackets easier, they also have a lot of stores where your groomsmen could go to get fitted if you all don’t live in the same area.

As for which one to pick, that’s really up to you. I happen to think their double-breasted suit jacket looks pretty nice, but I also understand that many people wouldn’t want to wear a double-breasted suit outside of a more formal setting.


What would you recommend to wear to a Fall wedding with a late afternoon to evening setting?

- Asked by Anonymous

First up, take a look back through my posts tagged “wedding attire” and also Put This On’s guide here and here.

Secondly, what does the wedding invitation say? Usually, there will be a dress code. I’d take my cues from that.

Generally though, I’d wear something fairly conservative. Dark grey or navy suit (no pinstripes), white shirt, polished black shoes and a wedding tie. Maybe a lapel flower or small boutineer if you feel so inclined. A deep brown suit might also work if the wedding is more casual, however, I don’t think brown works terribly well in a formal setting during the evenings.


HELP I just bought the j crew ludlow suit in charcoal, can I wear OCBD shirt with knit tie, also need recommendation on shoes to go along with for a wedding tomorrow, please help...

- Asked by Anonymous

I’d recommend plain black captoes (like the Allen Edmonds Park Avenues), but you could also probably go with burgundy or brown captoes. Less formal would be brogues and wingtips. Tough to really give a concrete answer without knowing your budget or if you live in a location where you can snatch something up quickly.

Whatever you do, avoid wearing loafers with a suit.

ADDING from Anon:

"White OCBD with knit tie go well with the JCrew Ludlow suit?"

Some people don’t like button-down collars with suits, but it works if it’s casual.


I have a wedding this weekend - gray or navy suit?

- Asked by Anonymous

Assuming both are solid and not pinstriped, go with whatever fits best. I’d probably choose navy, but grey would work just as easily.


My wedding ring is silver. Is it weird to wear accessories (particularly a watch) that are gold? It feels weird, but there are some nice gold-colored watches out there.

- Asked by Anonymous

I can’t honestly imagine any guy worth knowing that would judge someone negatively because the metal tones of one’s watch, tie bar, belt buckle, etc. don’t match didn’t match one’s wedding band.


I will be attending an semi-formal wedding within a few weeks. I will be wearing a charcoal suit, white ocbd, & brown cap toes. I'm having trouble with finding the appropriate tie. I'm a fairly small guy (5'7 140lbs). Can you steer me into the right direction? Thank you.

- Asked by Anonymous

Just a small note: If you have one, then I’d wear a regular point or spread collar white dress shirt instead of an OCBD. It’d be more formal for the occasion. Black dress shoes, too. But that’s only if you have the option/money. Don’t stress it if you don’t, it’s just a suggestion.

As for a tie, I think Put This On covered it pretty well. You can go with a Prince of Wales, houndstooth, sheapard’s or Macclesfield check tie.

Where to buy? Depends on your price range. Broke? Try The Tie Bar. You could also hit up eBay and probably easily find something. If you have a decent amount to spend, there’s quite a few options. On the real high end, Drake’s and Ralph Lauren Purple Label should definitely have options.

Going a step down to around the $90 range, I really like the Kent Wang six-fold silk ties. He’s got a glen plaid and Shepard’s check for $85. If you’re looking for something a bit more seasonally appropriate, then give Fifth & Brannan a look for their black and white houndstooth check wool tie for $92.


I agree with most of your advice for the guy looking for a wedding outfit, but don't discount wearing a black grenadine or knit tie. I that would look smashing with a navy suit. This is what Jesse Thorn said about it: "This is it, people. White shirt. Navy suit. Black grenadine necktie.Whether or not you are the coolest man in the world, you will look great in this outfit in any situation. Perfectly conservative, perfectly tasteful, spectacularly elegant."

- Asked by thisfits

I guess I tend to think that plain black ties remind me of either a funeral or a Tarantino movie (and I like his films!) so I’m a bit nervous around using them. I have a black knit, and it’s easily one of my least-worn ties. I feel as though black as a color for a wedding is a bit extreme, despite it’s formality.


Hi, I asked for your advice not so long ago about a versatile Suit. After reading your kindly advice, the time has come for me to dress up. I have a wedding of a close friend in 2 months. I have been waiting for that coupon to come for the Land's End tailored fit without luck. Would you wait a bit or pull the trigger on the T.H Trim line at Mayc's? Navy Tailored Suit , ESF BB White Shirt. Black or Navy Knit Tie? Pocket Square Color?

- Asked by enriquedlcm

Hello again! I’ve seen the Tommy Hilfiger trim/slim fit line at Macy’s and I think on sale they’re a pretty good deal. If I already didn’t have my current Lands’ End suits, I’d consider buying them. If you can, try them on in person first to get a better idea of their fit and look on you.

As for waiting, I guess the limiting factor here is how quickly your tailor could turn around alterations. To be on the safe side, I’d venture a guess of four weeks, however, you should call and ask. You’ll probably need the sides taken in, taper on the legs, taking in the seat, maybe a cuff adjustment on both the sleeves, possibly adjusting pant hems. It’ll also probably take you about a week or so to get the suit. So, a theoretical lead time of five weeks. Maybe wait a week or two? Your call though. Also, keep in mind you could buy the Tommy Hilfiger suit now (while it’s on sale) and return it if it doesn’t work out or the Lands’ End suits come on sale within that time frame.

I’d go with a navy knit tie, because I tend to think black is traditionally for funerals. You might also want to consider a wedding tie. For a pocket square, keep it simple with a white linen square with a TV fold.


For a wedding on a lake is a suit still the obvious answer, or does the outdoor/country club setting call for something else?

- Asked by Anonymous

I tend to think suits are always the answer, unless you’re at a tropical beach wedding. Or theme wedding.

if you’re going to be outside, maybe consider a chino suit. Or linen. Or seersucker. A more casual fabric will work nicely.


Another take on Jos. A. Banks

John from blacklisterblog e-mailed me his experience with Jos. A. Banks and why he chose to use them for his wedding party, despite the obvious negatives:

I’d like to chime in with my JAB experience. Last year, my groomsmen and best man needed matching suits. They are, to put it kindly, “careful with money”, or to put it cruelly, “cheap”. We needed a place that was inexpensive and offered the same suit in a variety of sizes (in our case, ranging from “software programmer” to “ex-Marine”). Midtown Manhattan has a JAB and a Men’s Wearhouse across the street from each other.

I second everything the PTO article says, except where staff is concerned. The JAB staff was very nice and backed off until we summoned them. Contrast this to the hyper-aggressive MW staff, and you have a much better shopping experience. The clothes are more Ford Taurus than Ford Mustang, which is to say they serve their purpose but are lacking in style. The cuts are boxy and generic, probably to fit the maximum range of body types. Frankly, I doubt the typical JAB customer notices or cares. Silentist is right in saying that these stores are built for the majority of men (aka, slobs) who think a suit is a suit is a suit and it might as well be cheap/easy.

Don’t give them your email address unless you want to be spammed three times a day with whatever pseudo-sale they have every other hour. I say “pseudo-sale” because, as the PTO article also points out, they inflate the price in order to mark it back down and trick you into thinking it’s a deal. Charles Tyrwhitt does the same perma-sale chicanery. Being a national chain came in handy for us.

One of my groomsmen lives in SF, which also had a JAB location. We emailed him the suit model # we picked in NYC and he got fitted out there, without needing a trip to the East Coast. Two hours before the ceremony, he realizes he packed the wrong suit. Crisis! Luckily there was also a JAB location in the small town I was getting married in. Best man runs to the car and saves the day.    

In summary: if you’re the sort of guy who reads style blogs, you’re more Ford Mustang than Ford Taurus. These megastores are not for you.    

Hope this helps.    


This is a huge reason why JAB and MW gets a lot of business from wedding parties. I was involved in a similar experience last year where those in the wedding were spread out across the nation and needed to all be “fitted” (using the term loosely here) for a rental tuxedo. Also, it’s worth noting that MW is affiliated with David’s Bridal, so they upsell the bridal party into a package deal with the groom’s party — often matching fabric colors. (You can read more about my take on Men’s Warehouse rental tuxedos.)

In the end, I think you’re balancing convenience and cost against sartorial elegance. Having your party buy cheap suits and getting them altered is highly preferable though to having them rent, I’d say.

ADDING from badscene: 

Just my 2 cents, but I had my groomsmen pick up suits from Lands End and they love them. I think we were able to pick them up on sale for ~160. Probably the same price as a rental and hopefully they’ll get a few more wears out of them.

Not a bad plan at all. Although, I like PTO’s suggestion slightly more of forgoing matching suits.

About The Silentist

A menswear blog on finding your personal style, written by Kiyoshi Martinez.

I work at Khaki's of Carmel and live in the Monterey Bay area. Formerly from Chicago.

E-mail me, I'm fairly nice: thesilentist@gmail.com

Popular topics: