Those who know this blog know that actual, noteworthy advice plays little part in the daily posts that populate it. It's not that I don't feel you deserve to hear it; more often than not, it's that I don't feel that I deserve to give it.
But this ::GROOM ATTIRE:: decision has been plaguing me for weeks now, and after spending the better part of today with my seriously better half, "shopping," I feel like I have a handle on this now. It may be one of those flimsy handles that has been known to pop off at a moment's notice, but its a handle nonetheless.
Step 1: Use Your Resources
Groom, this may be the first time you browse the "Real Weddings" out there in the blogosphere and scope out their photo recaps, but it's really the only research you need in advance of Step 2. See what catches your eye -- which colors, which styles -- and come to a general consensus on the tux vs. suit issue.
Be sure to pull some images that inspire you (maybe 4 or 5 directions you're considering) and create an inspiration board of your own. It may seem absurd, but I guarantee -- whether it's printed, folded and tucked into your jean pocket or saved on your iPhone camera gallery -- you'll want to show it to sales rep or dressing room attendant or men's stylist or whomever it may be. It'll save you both a lot of time and energy.
Step 2: Get in the Car
And don't just sit in the car, you far-too-literal groom, you. Step 2 is all about making the trip to the rental place or what have you (JCrew, Macy's, Bloomingdales, Men's Warehouse, or even the John Varvatos flagship store) and trying things on. If you're a guy who's constantly in formalwear, you're rolling your eyes right about now. But for grooms like me who rarely throw on a suit, a trip to the tailor rings of a dental appointment, and my instinct is to avoid it.
The best suggestion I can make is to take your 2E's with you. Make a "day" out of it. Prep her from the beginning -- let her know that you're going to want to try on various things (even that tan sports jacket that you know will look absolutely ridiculous), and the best thing she can do is be open and honest and direct. There's no point in debating over a suit that doesn't work. Ask her politely not to spare your feelings -- the suit or tux will either strike a chord or strike out.
Step 3: Shop Around
Don't buy the first suit you try on, for chrissake. You're bound to build a relationship with your men's stylist (hell, you've never had a stylist, and now you wish you could just bring him with you everywhere for advice and general merriment), but don't feel obligated to buy. They know how this works.
Ask your 2E's to snap some photos for you of your favorite ensembles and to make note of where you found them -- one of them may be the one you come back to the following week.
Step 4: Remember the Investment
How disturbing is the thought that your suit -- should you decide to buy a suit and not rent your formalwear -- may cost more than your bride's dress?
Yes, at first it's highly disturbing ... but it fades once you realize that you're buying yourself a new, crisp, tailored suit that you're bound to re-use for years to come. If cost is an issue, consider mixing and matching, i.e. purchasing your suit and renting the groomsmen's attire. There are certainly ways to cut costs here and there, so consult with your boys, your 2E's and your FOG (yes, your dad's bought a few suits in his lifetime) before swiping your credit card.
Step 5: Know When It's the One
And when you know -- and when your 2E's knows -- you'll know what I mean.