Q & A

Q. What color socks should be worn with a gray suit?

A. The rule is that the socks match the trousers. Gray trousers equal gray socks, in a shade that comes close to the shade of the pants. And yes, that means with an all-white suit with white trousers, the socks should be white.

Q. Which is the better choice: pleated or flat-front pants?

A. Flat-front trousers are the more fashionable choice these days, and they look great because they create a nice clean look. But they can be hard to wear for someone who's not in great shape. If a pleated style is more comfortable, a single pleat is best.

Q. Our wedding ceremony is in the afternoon. Though we expect our reception to last into the evening, isn't a tuxedo usually worn only at night?

A. Technically, you're right. A tuxedo is for evening, and a morning suit or stroller is for daytime formal events. But for a wedding the rules are bent a bit because, as you know, these events tend to start during the day and extend past dark. A tuxedo would be appropriate as long as it matches the degree of formality of the wedding itself. Another option is a white dinner jacket and black tuxedo pants.

Q. What is a European-style suit?

A. There are differences in European and American cuts. In general, the European suit is more fitted throughout and has more prominent shoulders than you generally see in the States. And jackets rarely have back vents. American suits have a roomier cut and a single or double vent in back. These days, it's pretty common for any one suit to have a combination of characteristics of both styles—say, pronounced shoulders and a single vent.

Q. We're all set with tuxedos for the groom and ushers, but what about the dads?

A. The bride's father usually walks down the aisle, so he is dressed in a style that reflects what the groomsmen are wearing—but he doesn't have to match. For example, if the groomsmen are wearing tuxedos with waistcoats, it's fine for the father of the bride to wear his tuxedo with a cummerbund. The father of the groom should correspond in style (again, not necessarily matching) with the father of the bride: Even if he doesn't walk down the aisle, he is an important part of the wedding day.

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