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By Sharon Cousans.

Most grooms-to-be are fairly confident that they will need a 2-piece suit for their Wedding Day, but when it comes to waistcoats they often seem to be at a loss.

It must be said that a waistcoat is a very important part of a wedding suit and is probably the most hard-working part of your outfit. As well as keeping your errant shirt in check or ensuring the waistband of your trousers is covered, it has a much more important role to play and can’t be overlooked.

Once the formal parts of your wedding day are over you are quite likely to remove your jacket. You will spend more time without your jacket, so your waistcoat then comes into its own. Not only does it have to fit well but it has to work well for you too.

This is how a waistcoat can work for you:

As the groom you need to stand out from the rest of your party: If all your guys are wearing the same suit, a waistcoat, in a different style or colour or pattern, can help to make you stand out from the crowd. Lighter or bolder colours will make you more prominent than darker shades, and patterns will dominate over plains so pick your waistcoat carefully.

Use your waistcoat to express your individuality: Colour, pattern and texture are all important here as is your choice of single or double breasted styles. They can say so much about the wearer. Choose strong patterns if you are an extrovert and enjoy the limelight or pick a traditional scoop neckline with collar and double breasted fastening to show your traditional style preference and personality.

Add colour, texture and pattern. A plain suit can look very dapper and smart, but this look can be lifted to special occasion status by adding a contrast colour or texture in your waistcoat taking your outfit from a more corporate style to a special Wedding suit. Wearing a matching 3-piece suit appeals to a lot of grooms but once this style is paired with a contrast colour or patterned waistcoat it will become obvious that your outfit will rise up the style stakes and look more appropriate for a groom to wear.

Creating two outfits from one. You may be in the dilemma of needing to look formal for your wedding ceremony but holding your reception in a marquee or in a country setting where tails may look out of place. If this is the case, your waistcoat can create two outfits in one for you. Choosing a tweed waistcoat that works well with your tailcoat can add a personal style touch to your formal attire, keeping things sharp and smart for the formal part of the day but as you move to your more rustic reception and remove your tailcoat, your tweed waistcoat comes into its own and gives a more relaxed look for the partying to follow.

Do you need a jacket at all? Depending on the style of your wedding you may decide not to wear a jacket at all. Here the choice of waistcoat needs to be smart enough to suit the occasion but relaxed enough to fit in with the style of the wedding. Choosing a waistcoat with a collar can look so much smarter than one without. Double breasted styles also work well to gain you style points but do avoid a waistcoat to match your trousers as this looks far more corporate than wedding in style and you may be mistaken for staff at your wedding venue rather than the groom himself!

Whether you just want to keep your shirt under control, make yourself stand out from your groomsmen or create two outfits out of one, your waistcoat is the most important and versatile piece of clothing you will be choosing for your wedding day.

Take your time, listen to advice and choose with care.

Sharon Cousans is from Chimney Formal Menswear in Bassingbourn, Royston.


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