Sunday, August 31, 2008

Cut Your Coat According to your Cloth

As part of our total resistance to the Matrimonial-Industrial Complex, Michael and I decided on vintage clothes for our wedding. One should wear to one's wedding what makes one happiest and most comfortable. For us, rented tuxedos would not fit the bill.

We have also been determined neither to dress alike nor to somehow mock heterosexual weddings. And, we needed clothing suitable for a daytime, outdoor wedding on a farm. Therefore, it should be festive but casual, and eschew black and white.

(At right: Clip-on bowties and red rose boutonnieres lead to fake smiles, regret.)

Our choices engendered some controversy. I found a Hickey-Freeman flannel suit ($75 on eBay), and I thought it would look great alongside a gorgeous midnight-blue cashmere blazer I gave Michael for Christmas. Well, let me say the idea of one groom wearing a suit and the other wearing a blazer - in spite of the casual, outdoor character of the wedding - caused what some would call a kerfuffle. I was seemingly alone in my indifference as to whether our formality coefficients would be precisely equal.

Michael did have a backup option, which was a Zegna suit ($50 at Housing Works thrift shop) whose beauty practically brought the tailor to tears. But I, for one, find this suit to be a tiny bit corporate corporate, and was frankly getting a bit annoyed with the formality-gradient debate. Flannel and cashmere in a meadow in October? Who on earth could find fault with that?!

Fortunately, we had on our team an objective judge: Ronnie, menswear manager and stylist extraordinaire at Julian's (the "mecca of preppie" as it is called in one of the press clips proudly displayed there). We went last weekend to pick up our suits, having had them altered by the in-store tailor. With issues of fit and finish aside, it was possible to evaluate the "look."

Ronnie admitted that the blazer would look just a notch less formal than the suit. But he quickly added two important caveats: that one must consider the time and setting, and that accessories would matter enormously.

Over an hour we pored over ties, pocket squares, vests and shirts. As we identified beautiful combinations - and Ronnie has a very bold eye, which suits us - we grew happier and more comfortable. It was also delightful to spend an afternoon wearing our suits and our new shoes, and feeling at ease in them.

The conclusion: Michael is going to wear his gorgeous midnight-blue cashmere blazer. With an elegant vest, rich tie and bold pocket square, his ensemble equates or exceeds the formality of my flannel suit. We also found coordinating but not matching (Good God, not matching!) Ike Behar ties, so that we look as we feel: distinct, complementary, inseparable.

(At right: Ike Behar, doing his part to make us look good, even without all that dramatic lighting.)

1 comment:

Guilty Secret said...

It sounds perfect. Isn't it funny what people will allow to get them into a kerfuffle?