Groom's Style: Classic vs Contemporary


Grooms-to-be, this one’s for you. New York City-based Courtney Arrington-Baldwin, one half of husband/wife styling duo Mr Baldwin Style, delves into two approaches to dressing the modern groom. Her insight into classic tuxedos and contemporary suits will ensure you're suiting up with confidence and looking dapper.

Courtney: In the past, many grooms only thought to head straight to a tuxedo rental shop for their wedding-day attire, but this is no longer the case - modern grooms have more options. This trend seems to follow the fashion industry as a whole with the increase in menswear sales over recent years. Menswear designers and retailers are catering more to grooms and offer a variety of choices for grooms to look dapper on their special day.

While some grooms are willing to take the risk and stretch beyond the classic black tuxedo, there are others that feel that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it." The black tuxedo has worked for years so why change a good thing? And we agree… sometimes. There are times when it makes sense to only wear formal or black tie attire and there are other instances where it is very acceptable to step beyond tradition and implement more of your personality into your wedding day attire. Here we look into two groom types: The Classic Groom and the Contemporary Groom.

The Classic Groom is a gentleman that honours tradition and doesn’t find a need to steer away from it with his wedding day apparel. The ceremony may be in a traditional location with a reception to follow at hotel ballroom, estate, or even city rooftop. He is sure that his bride-to-be will be in a very formal wedding gown so he would prefer to keep with the level of formality that she has set for the wedding day attire. Typically, the Classic Groom will wear a black tuxedo, white tuxedo shirt, and accoutrements to match. As simple as it seems however, there are still many grooms that don’t quite nail the Classic Groom look for their wedding day.

Here are few tips to help you get it right on your special day:
• If you purchase an off-the-rack tuxedo, make sure to take it to your tailor to have it fit to your body. Your tailor will be able to make adjustments to the jacket and pants that are not available at tuxedo rental shops.
• If you are purchasing a tuxedo shirt, consider having it altered as well. It is likely that you will take off your tuxedo jacket at some time during the reception so having a shirt that fits properly and is not oversized will look nicer (and show up better in your wedding photos).
• If you are going to wear a bow tie, learn how to tie one. Wearing a pre-tied bow tie is kind of like wearing one of the clip-on neckties that were prevalent in the 70s and 80s.
• A belt should never be worn with a tuxedo: The idea is that your pants will be tailored to fit you so that a belt would be unnecessary.
• If you choose to wear a cummerbund or braces (suspenders) on your big day, remember: you need one or the other, not both.
• Ensure proper placement of your boutonniere on your tuxedo jacket. The boutonniere is intended to be placed on the left lapel of your tuxedo jacket covering the lapel button hole.





















Some of today’s grooms prefer to go beyond the standard black tuxedo and incorporate more of their personality into their wedding day attire either through the fit of the suit, accessories, or by the addition of color in their suit or tuxedo selection. We describe this gentleman as the Contemporary Groom. The Contemporary Groom is willing to take a few more risks than The Classic Groom and is not likely to wear a tuxedo. He will probably wear a suit and may introduce some fun colors within his apparel. Over the last couple of years navy suits have been extremely popular for contemporary grooms. Navy is a versatile color choice that works well with many wedding color palettes.

If you decide to take the leap beyond the standard black tuxedo for a contemporary look, consider the following:
• When wearing a non-traditional wedding look, don’t be afraid to include traditional elements like an ascot or cuff links for an added touch of formality.
• Consider your shoe choice. When wearing a colored suit for your wedding, you want to be sure that your shoe selection is wedding-appropriate and does not seem like it is intended for business.
• Keep in mind the button rules when wearing a suit jacket. With a two-button suit, standard etiquette dictates that the top button should always be buttoned (when standing) and the bottom button is never to be buttoned.
• When wearing a necktie, consider adding a “dimple” right below the knot for added sophistication.
• Consider styling your groomsmen in the same suit but make small impactful changes that distinguish you as the groom. You can wear a different tie, pocket square, dress shirt, or a combination.









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About Courtney

Courtney Arrington-Baldwin lives in New York City and is the co-founder of Mr. Baldwin Style. Courtney and her husband, Donnell Baldwin, have penned a book called GROOMS: A Professional Stylist’s Guide to Wedding Day Apparel for Every Budget that is currently available for pre-order at Mr. Baldwin Style.



Vendor Information
For the “Classic Groom” images (black tuxedo):
Photography: Petronella Photography
Groom Stylist: Mr. Baldwin Style  
Bridal Stylist: Vainglorious Brides
Floral Designer: Makini Regal Designs
Production: Elle’s Couture Events  
Hair and Makeup: NaKema Patton (hair) and Juicy Looks by Abby (makeup)

For the “Contemporary Groom” images (navy suit):
Photography: Kesha Lambert Photography  
Groom Stylist: Mr. Baldwin Style
Bridal Stylist: Vainglorious Brides  
Floral Designer: Tracey Reynolds Floral Design  
Production: Tiffany Chalk Events
Hair and Makeup: NaKema Patton (hair) and Charlene, Lash to Lens (makeup)