A History of Men’s Wedding Fashion

Photo source

We write this right on the precipice of the start of wedding season. Between the Early May and Late August Bank Holidays, invitations start dropping through doors and weekends start getting booked up. Some of our bespoke tailoring clients will be getting hitched themselves over the coming months, almost all of them will be in attendance as someone else does.

Today, men’s wedding fashion is referred to in the media as something of an afterthought. Ladies wedding gowns have got more and more extravagant over the last few decades while nuptial menswear has actually decreased in formality. 

Whether you’re going to be a groom, a groomsmen or a wedding guest over the coming wedding season, why not take some inspiration from fashion history?

Wedding clothes, for both grooms and brides, have always been an important rite of passage. Even before the arrival of today’s traditional wedding fashions, it was normal for both parties to invest in a new outfit to get married in. Unlike today, those outfits wouldn’t only have been worn once. Instead, wedding clothes would be well cared for and worn for other formal events for years to come. 

The practice of groom and groomsmen wearing matching suits actually originates from medieval times. It was believed at the time that dressing identically would confuse any evil spirits wishing to distribute bad luck on the newlyweds. 

From the 19th century onwards, the traditional menswear attire for weddings was the morning suit. This dates from a time when weddings took place in the morning, so the groom and his groomsmen naturally wore their usual morning wear. This included a morning coat, which was single breasted with one button and peaked lapels, striped trousers, a waistcoat and a tie. The outfit was usually completed with a top hat and gloves. The shape of a traditional morning coat is such because it was usually worn for horse riding. 

Originally it would only have been members of the upper classes who would’ve worn morning suits for weddings. Most grooms would’ve worn their best formal suit instead, or had a new one made to measure. However, in Edwardian times as the traditional become more entrenched it started to be common for grooms and groomsmen from all walks of life to hire morning attire for the big day.

Many grooms still choose to wear morning suits at their wedding, but over the past few decades the norm has shifted and most weddings now feature grooms and groomsmen in lounge suits or dinner jackets. 

If you’re currently exploring options for wedding suits, let’s talk. We understand that choosing a tailor for your special day is a big commitment, so why not start by taking a look at what some of our current clients have to say about our service?