Ask The Rake: What's the best wedding day style for a groom?

Married in 2016 amongst the bucolic scenery of Bargemon, South of France, The Rake’s Editor Tom Chamberlin imparts his wedding day style wisdom for the groom.
Photograph by Joshua Lawrence.

Dress for a wedding is so much more fun for men than for women. Ladies can more or less rely on having to wear a dress in one form or another that isn’t white or if you are the bride, a dress that is white. And whilst I know that dresses come in many forms, for men, there are minimum three dress-code possibilities to play with. These are traditional morning suit, suits or black tie.

I will start with the latter as it is not applicable in the case of my nuptials and shouldn’t be with yours. Don’t get me wrong, if you have already done it, then I am sure you looked marvellous, but I wouldn’t recommend it unless it is in the evening then at least it is performing its function. If I were to give one piece of advice it would be to wear a wool jacket for the service and change into a smoking jacket for the reception. For now let’s stick with the first two. It just so happens that I did both at my wedding.

A morning suit is a tremendously hard garment to make. It is even harder to make a good ready-to-wear version. The best tell of a ready-to-wear suit is the way in which the back of the collar sits way off the neck and shirt collar. The morning suit is no different here, but the extra tell is the way in which the tails stick 12 inches away from the back of your legs, a kind of bookending of wrongness. The tails should graze your legs and the collar should sit flush against your neck. The coat itself has a complex array of panels that make this garment particularly difficult to make. So my best advice is to get this made by someone who has a good reputation for this specific piece of kit. In my case, the tailor was John Kent of Kent, Haste & Lachter.

It is no secret that these three men are my tailors in any case. Usually I am seen to by Kent’s protégé, the great Terry Haste, but Terry suggested that I would be better off speaking to John about this. I ended up soliciting the whole triumvirate, and ask John Kent to make the coat, Terry to make the waistcoat and trousers and Stephen Lachter to make the shirts.

The jacket is made from a black 10/11-ounce super 100 merino wool herringbone from Smith Woollens. Not the heaviest option but still strong and structured. The lapels had the option to include a satin piping or turn back cuffs, during the process I backed off from those options as John’s lapels and fit were so striking that I decided that it is best to keep it clean and let his cutting do the talking.


February 2021


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