Posts Tagged ‘Morning Suits’

This is a subject that has recently started to puzzle me as I have looked around at today’s offerings on the high street and find it somewhat surprising that men still consider hiring a suit for their wedding day a good option!

The choice available when I went out to look was limited and at best, usually constitutes a small range- just basic colour options made from average materials along with a few simple waistcoat colours. There were a few small independents out there where the ranges on offer show a little more imagination, but still they are nothing exciting.

I attended an evening function recently where I met a man who was soon to be married and as his wedding was only 4 weeks away, I enquired what he had chosen to wear on the day. I was not prepared for the answer he gave me … ” I haven’t given it much thought really, maybe I will pop down to Moss Bros and hire a suit”… now he had my full attention as he had only a vague idea of what they did. He smiled and said that his girlfriend had bought everything months ago and was ready for the big day (men and women are so different).

The man standing in front of me, was obviously successful, wealthy, but strangely very calm about his lack of planning for his big day, he suddenly realized he should be giving his attire more urgent consideration as his wedding day was only a few weeks away. This brought me back to my problem of trying to understand what was happening as his “wife to be” had spent a small fortune on a wedding dress, shoes etc. They had also booked a photographer to capture the images of them socializing with their friends throughout the day, I was now struggling trying to visualize him standing next to her in a hired morning suit in the grounds of a stunning Caribbean hotel.

ATTENTION TO DETAIL : Shania Twain's wedding day

Why had he not given his outfit that much thought?

As we were talking, it became clear that he had a natural assumption that men who get married wear morning suits. He had formed this opinion over the years through how weddings are shown in films and media in general. Of course here was a good answer, but as he was not having a classic wedding I wondered why he felt it may be the right choice and why he had not checked out what else might be available.

At this point he suddenly woke up to what was he was going to look like on the day- and asked for some help.  Luckily, we had just enough time to make something special and agreed to meet his bride that weekend where we all planned an outfit that would do him justice on the day. It was a close call and his bride was relieved to have someone take charge and sort her partner out. And let’s face it, it’s very hard to tell the people we love how to dress.

At the dawn of the suit hire business, the social demand to dress correctly was immense, but the cost of the garments was often beyond the ordinary man who received a grand evening invitation. He would need the use of a morning suit for his wedding as he would never attend enough social events of a standing where he could justify the cost. The birth of the hire business can be traced back to a musician who regularly borrowed a wealthy friend’s evening tails because they shared the same size and over time, they agreed a small fee each time as he was using them so often.

Over the years there have been so many advancements in the way things have been made and these processes have also had an impact on price. In 2011, it is much easier for the ordinary man to obtain a suit where the cost of buying an evening suit has been greatly reduced. The corporate expense account has also to led to the longevity of the evening suit hire business- men could charge the expense to their companies. This is financial madness when you consider the waste of time and money involved with senior staff who might attend up to 20 functions a year. The fact that these suits are often picked up and returned by courier makes you wonder about the wisdom of company financial directors who allow this and could have dressed their staff for a fraction of the cost by agreeing to buy an off the peg suit that can start from as little as £150 these days.

More often than not, the people hiring suits are wealthy individuals who may lack some of the general knowledge on the dress code required when attending high profile events. For this type of man, hiring a suit is a safer option and should ensure that he attends the event in the correct attire (so avoiding the obvious embarrassment of wearing the wrong outfit). Examples of this can range from an overseas ambassador presenting his credentials to the queen at Buckingham palace, or someone attending the royal enclosure at Royal Ascot for the first time.

An Ambassador presents his credentials to the Queen in a" Poorly Fitting Hired Suit"

Good Tailors should have a broad knowledge of the correct attire for formal occasions and therefore are a good choice for anyone who appreciates wearing clothes that fit like a glove. I feel more than ever that the fun of dressing up for big events applies as modern life can make even the most special occasion seem ordinary-  if you don’t apply some thought to it.

It is safe to assume  that Prince William will not be following the very British tradition of hiring his wedding suit for his forthcoming wedding  on April 29th and will instead choose a beautifully tailored suit.

Jamie Henfrey founded Marc Oliver in 2008. With an extensive background in men’s tailoring and design, he’s had the opportunity to distinguish himself by serving many of England’s leading figures from the word of sport and finance. As head designer for Marc Oliver tailoring he has been the driving force behind the brand that has attracted many of today’s leading entrepreneurs and company directors to the label, as they appreciate his fresh approach to tailoring.  He also enjoys working as a stylist, branding and retail strategy consultant to some of the UK’s very best designer brands.


Read Full Post »