Wedding Attire Advice from an Insider
From a timeline on ordering suits to how to avoid looking like Tia and Tamara circa 1995.
Whether you’re attending the wedding of your boyfriend’s freshman year roommate or tying the knot yourself, we all share one goal at a ceremony: to look nothing less than fabulous. But when you’re with someone of the same sex, what can you do to make sure you complement each other without looking like twins, say Tia and Tamara from Sister, Sister?
That’s where an expert comes in. As owner of Heimie’s Haberdashery, Anthony Andler has helped men (and women, more on that in a bit) look sharp for over three decades. His shop, located in downtown St. Paul, has a 95-year track record helping customers feel good. And no matter if you’re standing at the altar or are at a wedding just to tear up the dance floor, Anthony’s pieces of advice are good for everyone.
Know what you want to wear, but….
For engaged couples, Andler says, “You can’t walk into a store with the thought, ‘This is exactly what we want.’” In fact, he says that’s the biggest mistake they make when it comes to the process of picking out what they wear. There isn’t much a haberdasher or retail expert can do to make you look identical to Justin Timberlake sporting a tuxedo. Because our bodies are all different, it’s hard to recreate looks ripped out of magazines. “We try to shape the concepts to fit the mold.” Instead, Anthony recommends that you come in feeling playful and willing to take a risk.
And if you are engaged, it’s an absolute must to sit down with the business who will outfit you for your big day. Book a consultation and feel comfortable with the company you will work with. For the best results, come in with a sense of direction and let your emotions take over when trying on clothes. Bring tissues, you may need them.
So what are the rules about matching my date?
How coordinated should you be with your partner? Do you need to wear the same suit and have matching burnt orange bow ties? It’s a common question the Heimie’s pros hear, and the simple answer is no. Andler recommends that you follow your own style instead. “Style is defined by the person, fashion is defined by the industry.” The staff at Heimie’s focuses on your personality and incorporates your complexion to create the perfect look. If your suit is navy blue and your partner goes with grey, a good clothing expert will find a secondary color that will complement both which can be showcased on socks, flowers, and other pieces, meaning you shouldn’t have to worry about being focused on color.
Accessories are the easiest way to showcase your style. Earrings, cufflinks, pocket squares, and even the type of dress shirt can portray your personality. When planning what you’ll wear, Andler suggests that you divide your body into three style zones (head/neck, torso, hips/legs) and start your look at the top. But don’t stop there. “Think about how you scan someone when you meet him. He might have a well-fitted suit but his shoes are a wreck and his sock has a hole. It begins to make an effect on the whole outfit.”
No matter what you wear, make sure it fits the venue.
“Always dress your best, and never dress down,” Andler tells Lavender. If you’re attending a wedding as a guest, look up photos of the venue and adhere to any attire suggestions on invites. An outdoor wedding requires a vastly different look than a black tie affair. Every reception and ceremony site portrays a different vibe.
Because the process of ordering custom clothing is so detail-oriented, Andler says attire for your big day should be planned six months to a year in advance, although some couples are able to select and pick up items within three months. Planning out will help avoid stress. And if there’s anything you would like to have customized, allow for extra time. Attire is one thing where you don’t want to cut corners. “How we dress and how we feel create the memories,” Andler says.
Although Heimie’s caters to the male body, they’re inclusive to all in the GLBT community. “Women who shop Heimie’s are having a hard time finding hand-made goods. They come to us because they want a certain look of a classic silhouette with a tailored look,” Andler says. He advises female customers looking to purchase men’s clothing to be cautious and aware that a man’s suit is constructed differently than a women’s made garment.
Heimie’s Haberdashery, located one block from Rice Park in downtown St. Paul, opened in 1921. In addition to tailored suits, shirts, and accessories, Heimie’s features a barber shop offering razor shaves and haircuts. They also sell a wide array of cigars. A recent remodel expanded their tailoring service shop and created a bachelor party room where a groom and his party can prepare for the big day together.
Historic Hamm Building, 400 St. Peter St., St. Paul
Additional clothing advice from Anthony Andler of Heimie’s Haberdashery:
- Every man should have black, navy blue, and grey suits. And make sure they fit. Single-breasted, two-button suits with side vents are the most common.
- Consider adding a three-piece garment to your closet. “It’s very formal and is associated with the next level of dress, the tuxedo,” Andler says. Three-piece silhouettes are coming back into pop culture thanks to television shows like Downton Abbey. They are a reflection of the golden era of dress in the 1930s and 1940s.
- Trim is in, so make sure your clothes are tailored. The Euro look is trending, meaning your suit will have clean, lean lines. The color of choice for tailored pieces are brighter blues.