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Cravant July 16, 2007

Posted by KG in Wedding.

There were a couple wedding issues I thought I could handle with aplomb: the menu, the DJ, and my clothes — clearly linked to my love of things edible, danceable, and wearable.  Well, the first two went reasonably well.  The last?  Sigh.

Unlike the pressure on the bride — to find *the* dress, the one that is just right for her — it seems today’s groom is encouraged to select an outfit from a pre-arranged selection of 20-40 “sateen” vests, pre-tied ties, and standard tuxedos.  Its enough to make anyone with an inclination for originality in wardrobe go mad.  Thus my search, the last two months, for reasonably priced formalwear that I could buy, not rent, that would look good but unique, and that would allow me to tie my own damn tie.  I thought it would be fairly easy in stuffed-shirt DC , filled as it is with a disproportionate number of people who own their own tuxedos.

Yesterday afternoon, I sat on the couch as a broken man.  I had been to department stores, formal wear shops, Men’s Wearhouses, malls of all shapes and sizes.  Between them: a selection of three different $250 vests at Nordstrom and multiple hideous vest-tie combinations with pre-tied ties.  I’m not a bow-tie man (as a man who is short and wide shouldered, I’d like you to not look at how wide my neck is thank you very much) but figured this would be easier, what with standard ties being the rule of the day.  Hah!  If you had told me last year that it is near impossible to find a matching tuxedo vest and standard issue tie I would have laughed at you.   But now I know better: apparently the market has determined that when your average man puts on a tuxedo, he forgets his basic training and is rendered incapable of a four-in-hand (heaven forfend a Windsor!).  The process of arriving at this conclusion — a series of responses from befuddled salesmen stating that no, they didn’t sell formal sets with so called “long ties” —  has rendered me a frustrated and quivering mess.

So, Plan B.  I’ve gone online, bought a vest at a reasonable price from a vendor I know nothing about, and am going to set off trying to find just the right tie to match it.  It’s that or surrender to the market and have some pre-tied factory stuff around my neck.   And if it comes to that, I’m turning in my pocket squares and calling it a day.  Clearly, in the arena of formal wear, the market thinks that we are all idiots.

(Yes, I am aware that my love of wearing ties puts me at odds with many, many men.  But seriously, why is it okay that for work occasions, clip on ties are gauche, while for the most formal occasions you’re expected to sport a pre-made knot?  I blame prom.)



1. Consul-At-Arms - July 18, 2007

What time is the wedding? If it’s a Noon or afternoon wedding you can wear formal Morning Dress (i.e., the cutaway). See Example A of the Appendix of your copy of Protocol (p. 394). Example B is the semiformal version with a sack (or stroller) coat instead of the cutaway. Both cravats are longish rather than bow ties.

2. Consul-At-Arms - July 18, 2007

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