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The Suit Guru

"The gay marriages that I've done personally, no one does matching suits or ties or anything, which I think is good."


Billy Reid, Designer

Where should a man start with his wedding attire?
Well, it usually starts with the woman. When a couple is getting married, it’s their day, but it’s mostly her day, and you can’t forget that.

Does that mean the groom should always bring the bride-to-be to a fitting?
The bride usually has some input, whether she’s there in person or not. Sometimes the planner comes, which can be a good and bad thing. It’s good if the groom is looking to stay out of trouble. But the more people you get involved, the more problematic things tend to become. There are many parts of a wedding that you can share with people you care about; picking your outfit doesn’t need to be one of them.

What did you wear to your own wedding?
A Ralph Lauren shawl-collar tuxedo. It’s my favorite; I’ve worn it to lots of other things since.

So it’s okay for a man to wear a suit or tux he already owns?
Sure. Sometimes a man will even wear a family heirloom—a tuxedo that belonged to his dad, for example. We have men who bring them in and say, “Can you update this for me or make this fit me?” And we’ll point them toward a tailor who can do that. In most cases, it has to do with lapel width; usually, older suits have much wider lapels, and it makes them look dated.

What do you steer men away from?
Matching motifs. They’ll say, “We have this fabric that we’re making tablecloths out of, and we want to make waistcoats or a vest out of the same material.” Some people are too literal when it comes to matching, and that’s where a man can feel uncomfortable. Sometimes a bride or a wedding planner will get carried away and try to make the groom part of the decorations. That shouldn’t happen.

So is color or pattern a bad idea?
Personally, I like subtlety, so I go for classic color schemes. But some people really want loud color, and it’s something that suits their personality. If that’s the case, it’s best utilized in neckwear and paired with a white shirt.What have you seen guys regret wearing to their wedding? Tails. If you’re going to go that route, you need to make sure you’re wearing the appropriate tie and pants. You don’t want to look like you’re going to prom.

Have you ever played the middleman when there’s conflict between the bride and groom?
Oh, yeah. It’s usually something along the lines of the bride wanting the groom’s tie to match the bridesmaids’ dresses. In my experience, the bride wins those conversations, regardless of my opinion.

Any thoughts on how two guys should dress for a gay wedding?
It always comes back to the setting and the grooms’ individual styles and tastes, which are usually different; in that sense, it’s no different from a heterosexual wedding.

212-598-9355; billyreid.com

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