Time it right
Don't head to the tuxedo shop too soon. First consider the season and time of day of your wedding. The style and formality of the bride's and bridesmaids' attire will also dictate what the groom and his attendants should wear.
There are all kinds of guidelines that govern what a guy should wear for formal events. For example, a white dinner jacket with black dress pants is a no-no in winter; a cutaway jacket should not be worn in the evening. Check out our year-round style guide before you shop.
To buy or rent?
If he'll wear a tuxedo even a few times in the future, it probably makes sense to invest in a good one. If you can't imagine him donning formalwear after the wedding—or if he's got his eye on a unique, less-likely-to-wear-again look, like a cutaway coat—have him rent his big-day threads.
Fit to be wed
If he has a hard-to-fit shape, buying a tuxedo and having it thoroughly tailored is probably his best bet. When renting, sleeve and pant length can be altered, but other fit details are not usually addressed.
Flatter his form
Not all tuxedos are created equal. Choosing a style that suits his body type is crucial. A few rules of thumb: Three- or four-button suits lengthen the body's appearance. Want to look taller? Avoid slacks with cuffs and try a peak-lapel jacket. Single-breasted jackets are best for a man with a broad build, while slim-shouldered guys will benefit from a jacket with peak lapels. Click here for more fit tips.
Don't forget that the cost of the rental often includes the shirt, tie, waistcoat or cummerbund and sometimes the shoes! If he is buying his tuxedo, he'll have to buy the other parts of the outfit too.
Are coordinating groom's and groomsmen's attire important? Renting them all from the same shop ensures that colors and cuts match. Even within the parameters of the traditional tuxedo, minor details like shades of black, fabric and trim styles differ.
Suit or tuxedo?
Suits have become a more popular option for the groom's wedding attire. A beautifully cut dark style looks great at less formal weddings; for summer affairs, a navy jacket and light pants or a light-colored suit are appropriate. Have him invest in a high-quality look that he'll wear again and dress it up with a great silk tie, a French-cuffed shirt and a pocket square.
Do your homework
Learning the lingo before shopping cuts down on formalwear confusion. Our glossary of tuxedo terms and tuxedos & suits photo gallery will also provide tons of inspiration, so he has a clear idea of what he likes before he shops.
What to bring to the store
You! It's important that your wedding gown and bridesmaid dresses work well with the men's attire, so your input is key. Other items to have on hand: dress shoes as well as any magazine pages or printouts of tuxedos you both like.
Don't neglect the details
There are lots of accessory options: Shirts have a variety of collars; ties can be ascots, bow ties or four-in-hands styles; he'll want a cummerbund or a waistcoat, and French cuffs require cuff links (which make great groomsmen gifts, by the way).
Wear appropriate shoes
Men's formal dress shoes are black patent leather, with a light construction and thin soles. Any other variations on this—black loafers, leather wingtips, cowboy boots—just don't look right. Tuxedo rental shops usually offer shoes for rent, but these are often cheaply made and quite uncomfortable. Try on shoes before committing to renting them; often an upgrade is available for the shoes—and well worth the extra dollars.
Don't be too trendy
Even if he's a fad follower, it's never a wise decision to overdo it on the wedding day. Playing with the jacket cut or waistcoat or shirt color is fine, but stick with one variation. Hot trends right now include black four-in-hand ties and waistcoats rather than vests.
If your guy is conscious about incorporating his eco-friendly habits on the big day, he can go green with his clothing by purchasing a hemp or organic cotton tailored suit. Many hemp options have a linen feel to them, so they are a great option for an outdoor summer wedding.