Though wedding themes and moods vary widely, and the wedding crew should dress accordingly, there are a few guidelines that can help make decisions about style and accessories for you and your groomsmen simpler. And even if your wedding is more alternative, it’s still good to know some of the basic do’s and don’ts of groomsmen style and then take it from there.
Although we do encourage you to let your personal taste be your guide, the first and most important rule of thumb you should follow is to coordinate with your bride. If you’re going for a traditional tux and bowtie, and she’s doing the bohemian look with flowers in her hair, the look won’t make sense. This doesn’t mean that you should dictate how the other dresses or accessorizes, as both of you should feel comfortable and excited about your attire, but, still, a little harmony goes a long way.
Now, let’s start with the most important accessory.
Tie, Bowtie, Or No Tie?
Bowties are not just suitable for super formal tuxedos; they go beautifully with formal suits and more casual styles too.
Ties can go with tuxedos or suits, and they can be very formal, like a black tie, or more casual, like a colorful or print tie.
You can also opt-out of wearing any kind of tie at all if your wedding is not a formal affair. For example, if you’re going to have it outdoors in the daytime, like in your backyard, at the beach, or in the woods.
Generally, it is better to have the groomsmen style as close to your style as possible, without looking like your clones. You don’t want to be wearing a casual linen suit with a bright bowtie and have them wear black suits with black ties.
Less noticeable, but just as important as the tie, are the shoes.
The Right Shoes
Shoes, like ties, depend on the overall look you’re going for. A formal suit calls for a sophisticated black leather shoe. Try to get ones with leather soles as well, as that makes them look even classier. But if they’re brand new, make sure you break them in a little at home so you don’t get sore feet before your first dance.
If you’re wearing a suit that has some color to it, you can opt for brown leather shoes. Although black shoes go well with dark navy suits, brown leather shoes compliment blue suits very well, and can give you an earthier yet still polished look.
Some grooms decide to make a statement with their shoes, by going for an Oxford style shoe, or even sneakers, like the Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars, or by wearing colorful socks. Again, this will really depend on your personal style as well as the time and location of your wedding. And, as always, your groomsmen should go for a similar look.
Now that you’ve got the three most important decisions already made (the suit, the tie, and the shoes) you can start playing around with some fun groom and groomsmen accessories like pocket watches, gloves, handkerchiefs, cufflinks, and hats.
How To Mix And Match Groom and Groomsmen Style
Right off the bat, here are two big “don’ts” that you really shouldn’t mess with, no matter what. The first is to never wear a belt and suspenders at the same time. Thankfully, we haven’t yet met a man that made that mistake. The second no-no is to wear a belt with a tuxedo - you either don’t wear anything, or you wear suspenders if you need them.
With tuxedos, some men choose to wear cummerbunds - sashes worn around the waist in order to keep the tuck of the shirt and waistband neat - instead of vests. They’re not a necessity, but they can elevate the look even more.
For suits, it’s really up to you whether you want to go with suspenders or a belt. Suspenders are eye-catching if you intend on taking off your jacket at some point, while belts give the spotlight to other groom and groomsmen accessories.
And you can do one thing and have your groomsmen do the opposite.
If your groomsmen are wearing belts, you can get them personalized belt accessories as gifts that also add to their style. For example, personalized leather key fobs with space for initials.
This comes in black or brown leather, and the all-metal swivel hook and D-ring can be dressed in gold, rose gold, or silver foil. If you’re really brave, you can also gift them with personalized belt buckle flasks, like this one.
Don’t skimp out on cufflinks, even if you go for a more casual look. Many grooms have cufflinks handed down to them from their fathers or grandfathers, and those can make for very special touches to your style. Cufflinks are also one of the groomsmen accessoriesthat make for simple yet meaningful personalized gifts.
Metal cufflinks need to match the metal on belts and watches. And, you and your groomsmen definitely need to wear watches in order to stay on top of the wedding schedule. You don’t want to be pulling out your phones to look at the time (and quickly checking emails) on this special occasion.
One way to dress up your “watch wearing” is to opt for pocket watches. They can also be a very interesting option for groomsmen gifts. For example, this gunmetal pocket watchhas exposed gears, roman numerals, and space on the back to add a personalized message of up to three lines.
Hats and gloves are much less common these days, in general and for weddings. It’s really up to you if you feel like they’d add an extra flare and if you’d feel comfortable with them. You can also choose to wear them for a specific purpose, such as for photos, and then go without the rest of the time.
Finally, small details can really help you coordinate your look with your bride’s look, and your groomsmen style with the bridesmaids’ style. The color of the pocket squares is one of those little details. For a formal look, like with a tuxedo, it’s better to go with classic white squares, while for less formal looks, you can add a splash of color that matches the bridal party’s dresses or accessories.
You can also add a buttonhole that matches your bride’s bouquet.
So, don’t be shy, and experiment with different styles and details here and there. Let your personality come through.