A stylist and fashion editor in New York City, born and raised in West London, William Buckley has dressed a plethora of A-list celebrities including the likes of Terrence Howard, Franz Ferdinand and Adrien Brody. Currently the fashion director for Maxim Magazine in North America, William specialises in both men’s style and grooming. Attending fashion weeks in New York, Paris, and Milan and traveling the world to constantly keep abreast of the cutting edge, his comprehensive knowledge in this field is now a valuable resource for grooms across the world as they prepare for the biggest day of their lives.
The perfect outfit for the perfect wedding will depend on a number of key factors. Formality is perhaps the first thing to thing of. If you are getting hitched in a registry office, you can rock up in a t-shirt and jeans? False. Regardless of where you tie the knot, this is a special occasion, and you should be dressed appropriately. I am also of the school of thought that you can never be overdressed, especially for your own wedding! There are many ways to adjust the formality of your attire while still keeping high levels of style.
In Groom attire, nothing is sharper and more elegant than a well-cut and impeccably accessorized tuxedo. The tuxedo, of course, will be your base look. It is the alterations you make to the classic look that will make it your own, and that will make it suitable for your wedding.
At its most classic, the tuxedo should be limited to only four viable styles: single or double breasted peaked lapel, with satin or grosgrain facing on the lapels; and single or double breasted shawl collar with satin or grosgrain lapels. If your wedding is during the autumn or winter, either black or midnight blue are the best options. In the spring or summer you might want to opt for a lighter shade, light grey, white, or cream. Trousers should be uncuffed, with a vertical stripe down the side of each leg to match the lapels of the jacket. This suit is usually paired with a classic tuxedo shirt with wing collar, pleated front and studs. A satin or twill bowtie which you should tie yourself, no clip-ons or ready tied, should match the lapels and is traditionally ‘thistle’ shaped. The bowtie can also match the accessories of your bride or your groomsmen.
A pocket square should also be worn, matching the white shirt if a dark suit is worn, or the black stud of the shirt if you have chosen a lighter suit. This can be folded in one of three ways. For the subtle among you, simply fold the square into quarters and insert into your jacket’s breast pocket so the handkerchief runs half an inch high and parallel to the pocket. The most common technique is to fold the square with 2-3 corners protruding. This is achieved by folding the pocket square in half across the diagonal, and the two corners in overlapping each other. Separate the corners as you see fit. Finally the most extravagant of you can simply pinch the middle of the square and lift so the corners hang down, and upend into the pocket. Easy. A single-breasted suit should be worn with a cummerbund that should match your bowtie. Wear this with the pleats facing upwards (they were originally intended to store opera or theater tickets). Braces in black satin or white will set the sartorially sophisticated apart. And now we come to the shoes. Patent lace-up Oxfords are ideal, and should match the color of the suit. No white shoes with black suits, but black shoes may be worn with anything. If you are feeling conspicuous, these Oxfords may be wingtips decorated with perforations. Patent leather pumps with a dull ribbed-silk bow at the toe, or a patent Belgian shoe are great alternatives, and during colder weather, patent zip-up ankle boots work well.
Above are suggestions for a classic look. If you do just the above you cannot go wrong. This is tradition, and you can’t go wrong with tradition, however, if you wish, you can switch it up a bit. For instance, you can take it even further in top hat and tails for a look of yesteryear. This works well if you are getting married in a church with gothic airs, coupled with horse drawn carriages and a banquet-style dinner party. I haven’t mentioned waistcoats yet, they are a great layer in the chillier seasons, and can even replace the jacket in warmer climes. Waistcoats are very popular for grooms and can look very stylish, they are also a great excuse for a pocket watch, but find something vintage, antique, genuine. In the fall and winter, while black and blue are predominant, you can think about something more contemporary. Tuxedos in plum and burgundy hues paired with accessories in complimentary earth tones can look breathtaking if done properly. The bowtie can be replaced with a cravat or ascot. A cravat is a neck cloth that is wrapped around the collar of the shirt, and can be tied in a number of ways. A bow is classic. The ascot is a descendant of the cravat and is most often tied in much the same way as a simple four-in-hand tie knot. The warmer the weather, the further you can push the boundaries of the formal tuxedo. For instance, if you are in the sunshine on a beach in the Bahamas (or Torquay in August), any kind of jacket may be stifling. You want to be comfortable, and you could look perfect in a linen pleated white tuxedo shirt, white linen pants, and some great white sandals. This is an extreme, but would look idyllic. A trend is also emerging pairing formal jackets with more sporty trousers. Lightweight cotton jogging bottoms with elasticated satin waistband, ankle cuffs, and vertical stripes down the sides can be tailored to look like fashion forward sportswear.
There are a lot of men for whom grooming is what a cat or dog is doing as it licks itself. This is the notion they may have as they stand in the shower armed only with a bottle of shampoo, wash their entire body with it, rinse, dry, and they’re ready to go. I hate to break it to you, but this is not helping you to look your best. I would advise a regular grooming routine as an intrinsic part of daily life, however, if you can’t manage the following every day, you may be able to manage it every day for the few weeks leading up to the big day.
Firstly, use a shampoo that matches your hair type. If your hair is not shiny and luxurious, there is a chance it’s dry and damaged. Use a separate conditioner, not a 2in1. In a couple of weeks your hair will be in optimal condition. Now go get a cut, and shell out. That cheap barber you’ve been going to since your dad stopped using the pudding bowl is not appropriate. Research a decent salon in your area, and schedule a cut. Do this a week or so before the big day so you have time to grow into it, and, now here’s the crazy part, ask the stylist if they would style your hair on the day also. They will most likely give you a great rate (it’s your wedding!) and you can be certain your hair will look its best. Next on the agenda? Shave.
Whether you wear a beard of any length, or shave clean, there may be areas for improvement. If you grow your beard out, shave it off! Just kidding, you’re welcome to your beard, but it might need at least a little attention. Again, if there is a professional men’s salon in your area, go there. They will help you shape your beard so that it looks neat and well kept. If you keep your beard fairly short, trim it as you normally do, but if your neck is not clean-shaven up to your jawbone, consider it. It gives the beard a much more groomed appearance, and gives the appearance of a stronger jaw line. The side of the beard by the ear should be shaped into the bottom of the jaw also. If you are clean-shaven, you might experience irritation or shaving bumps. You could do without these on your wedding day, and here are some tips to help minimalize this. First, make sure your razor is sharp. The best time to shave is immediately after a bath or shower when the hair has soaked for a few minutes. During this time it will have expanded to up to three times its regular size, and makes it much easier to cut. Use an unperfumed shave cream for sensitive skin. While you leave your razor under the hot water, massage the shave cream into the areas you wish to shave. Take your razor from under the running water, and shave in the direction that the hair grows, and straight down the neck. When finished, rinse off the shave cream and immediately apply an aftershave balm. If you suffer from ingrown hairs or shaving bumps, find an aftershave balm that targets these. Lab Series for Men Triple Benefit Post-Shave Remedy is one of the most effective on the market, and is available at mankind.co.uk. As far as shaving goes, you should consider not stopping necessarily at your face. Manscaping should also be an important part of your grooming routine. It may sound painful, but a back, sack, and crack wax will be much appreciated in your wedding bed. Hair clippers have a number of different attachments that can let you groom hair below the border to a more hygienic and aesthetically pleasing length. I’ll leave it at that.
I am aware of a certain stigma against men who moisturize, and if you feel more comfortable keeping it to yourself, I promise, your secret is safe with me. However! If you have any concern about your appearance, and how you will look in 20 years time, moisturize you must. To prep your skin, you should use some sort of invigorating face scrub in the shower. Lab Series makes one by the very same name, and Kiehl’s Facial Fuel is also fantastic. After your shower and shave you should apply a body lotion (shea and cocoa butters are fantastic) to your entire body, from shoulders down. This will not only make you smell gorgeous, but your skin will feel silky to the touch. Next is your face. Use an anti wrinkle cream first, and apply to your face and neck, followed by a vitamin-rich moisturizer. Brands like Lierac and Clarins are great go tos for these kind of products, as are Ole Henriksen, Anthony Logistics, and Kiehls. Avoid designer brands as these often contain a higher percentage of perfumes and artificial ingredients. If you had a heavy one the night before, an eye cream might be a good idea too.
This routine maintained for a couple of weeks prior to the big day will have you looking better than ever. Now all you need a splash (just a splash) of your favorite fragrance, and you’re good to go.