Written for Farewell Fiancé - May edition
Whether your wedding is black tie, casual, beach or country there are some important details you should consider before you walk down the aisle. Guest blogger Carl Navè shows you how to accessorise your suit effortlessly, starting with the tie.
1. THE BOW TIE
A bow tie is a must for a black tie ensemble but you could consider a coloured or patterned bow tie for a more relaxed setting. Woven cotton and wool bow ties make for a dapper look with a touch of old world charm, whilst velvet and satin bow ties are perfect for a more formal setting.
Tom Ford is the master of silk and velvet bow ties. Arguably, he is responsible for the large butterfly bow that is synonymous with the 1970’s dinner suits. Whereas Melbourne based designer His Handsome Self has a audible range of beautiful hand made bow ties, which lend them selves to daytime and informal evening wear.
2. THE CLASSIC TIE
There are many variations of the classic tie: wide, narrow, silk, knitted, woven or patterned. Whichever the style make sure you choose a tie that works with the proportions of you shirt collar and jacket lapel. It may sound irrelevant, but it’s actually quite important, for example a small shirt collar looks even disproportionate if worn with a wide tie with a large knot, and of course the same goes with the reverse.
As far as designs go, keep the tie simple and elegant for more formal occasions, texture is preferred over patterns. Whereas printed and woven patterns can look very elegant for a slightly more relaxed setting. Choose a silk knit or wool knit tie for a more a casual affair, where you want to stand out as the groom, but allow your guests to dress down a little.
Mr Porter has a selection of designer ties that will suit most budgets, but if it’s something special and unique that you’re after, you can’t go past Passaggio Cravate, an Italian bespoke tie maker based in Naples who crafts beautiful ties from vintage silks that are truly one of a kind. Of course, while you hunting around online, you must visit OTAA, another Melbourne based tie designer with a selection of ties that puts David Jones to shame. The lads from OTAA have absolutely nailed the range, quality and price point and promote a seasonal offering to compliment every occasion.
Most men will say that they don’t wear jewelry, that it’s not masculine enough. However you’ll be amazed with what you find when you look away from the mainstream and delve into the niche. Melbourne is home to a lot of creativity, and there is an abundance of local jewelers that create some beautifully quirky and fun pieces that allow us guys to express some individuality.
Start with cufflinks, the less traditional the better in my opinion. A good set of cufflinks should reflect your style and personality but by the same token, should not be cheap and gimmicky. Anything that looks like it came out of a vending machine should be avoided, after all, a good set of cufflinks are keepsake. Think elegant but not conventional, some of my favourites are Alexander McQueen’s knotted skull cufflinks, or the Givenchy star cufflinks. For a more refined look, black pearl or mother of pearl cufflinks and matching stud set are the perfect accessories for a dinner shirt.
Tie bars and collar pins are also a lovely way to bring in some embellishment without going over the top. I prefer opting for simple and refined pieces, as you don’t want them to detract from for your outfit, but a little attention to detail never goes unnoticed.
Signet rings are very popular again. Nothing says confidence like a black onyx and gold signet ring on the pinky, juts make sure that it isn’t too big for your hand; we’re not trying to channel Liberace here.
When looking for cufflinks, signet rings, dress studs or bar and collar pins you can’t go past Melbourne icon Lord Coconut in the CBD. They play home to an array of local and independent jewelers with a huge selection of everything quirky and masculine. They’ll even create bespoke pieces if you are interested in something very particular.
Don’t forget: a pocket square and/or timepiece. The littlest details often have the biggest impact. A patterned or tipped pocket square will add a personal flare to your wedding ensemble and will enable you to vary your look each time without purchasing a secondary suit. The king of pocket squares, Paul Stewart says there’s never a time when a pocket square is inappropriate.
If clothes maketh the man, then it’s his shoes that get him places. Good quality shoes are hard to come by, so its important that you consider the type of shoes you would like to wear before you think of anything, yes, event the suit. The style of shoe you choose will impact on the silhouette of the trousers, which will impact on the type of jacket you wear. So, when thinking about shoes, make sure you consider all the classic and contemporary options, from derbys to oxfords, boots, loafers or brogues.
I believe shoes shouldn’t ever be bought online, they need to be seen and worn in store in order to get a true feel of how they look and feel. For this reason, I suggest you visit:
124 Shoes – Russell Place Melbourne
The boys behind 124 shoes source the most contemporary, artisanal made footwear from some of the best boutique European shoemakers. Their style is modern and simple with clean lines, employing technical finishings, which are very much on trend.
Double Monk – Smith Street Fitzroy
Specialising in the classic, Double Monk carry a select range of some of the top English and Italian footwear brands. Their expertise on high quality construction is evident as is their professionalism and dedication to representing some of the world’s top footwear labels. If it’s a classic brogue, monk strap or derby that you after, Double Monk is the place you must visit.
Florsheim – Bourke Street Melbourne
I don’t usually recommend high street chain stores, but Florsheim in Australia has really changed over the past couple of years. The brand has realigned with their European parent company and is now importing high quality Italian made and designed shoes that are very affordable and on trend. If it’s a simple black or brown dress show that you are after, it’s hard to go past Florsheim.
Of course, there are still so many accessories worth considering, for instance the pocket square and lapel pin, but be cautious not to over do it. Remember, less is more. Try to compliment your suit shirts and tie with accessories that do no detract, but rather enhance your outfit.