“You can never be overdressed or over educated”
Early middle age is like being in an endless Richard Curtis film and I feel ever more like Hugh Grant with each gentle turn of the globe – the role of wayward pompous bachelor suiting me to a tee. I potter West London in search of happiness or at least a glass of claret. Incidentally I am beginning to a inherit a loud stutter, that sounds incredibly like I’ve forgotten my own name.
Like the aforementioned Mr Grant I have spent the majority of this summer in a constant cycle of weddings. Sadly I didn’t come across a stray American femme fatale looking for love like H.G, yet I joyously danced the summer nights away!
I am an inveterate lover of all aspects of weddings; Jerusalem being sung, the delightfully happy atmosphere, and the general knees up ‘knees up Mother Mary’ merriment of the evening. Despite my fondness for them, I will attended my final wedding of the season on Saturday. There is a tinge of relief to see an end and train my focus on sport especially with the renewal of the National Hunt season.
It would be remiss to ignore the dress code at weddings.
I am staunch believer in morning suits and the wonderful pomp and ceremony that comes with them. There is definitely a feeling, from this old bounder at least, that that they certainly elevate the occasion.
My usual wedding garb is the classic morning suit of a black tailcoat with a pair of pinstriped ‘sponge bag’ trousers held up by thick navy braces. Convention dictates that one should wear a crisp white shirt – I much prefer a very fine stripped or light pink shirt. Ties should usually be plain or lightly patterned – leave the elegant Hermes ties to the groom! I have a double breasted linen Irish stone waistcoat, which again sails against the wind of the single grey but a wedding is a day to be a shimmering Rose as opposed to a forget me not.
Socks – red of course…Well one does want a bit of colour!
There is a peculiar notion that morning suits are stuffy, rendering the wearer into a prig and creating a congregation of clones. Folly I say, one can ‘individualise’ their outfit like I have just outlined – I often see all sorts of delightfully patterned waistcoats and have even come across adventurous gents in dog toothed trousers.
There is also the sticky wicket of the invitations. Tradition dictates that there shouldn’t be a dress code on a wedding invite – it is assumed one will wear a morning suit. Debrett’s says the morning dress is the expected and traditional attire for an English gentleman at a wedding.
Modern invitations are eliding this and sending the baffling combination dress code; morning suits or suits. Confusing and panicking the congregation – no one wants to be that chap in a suit nor the only plonker in a morning suit.
If the happy couple have decided on lounge suits – great I will combine it with glamorous and jazzy colours – attacking the dress code with splendour. The issue with hybrid invitations is that some characters now feel it appropriate to arrive to the pews in a bow tie – not a gracefully tied one with vibrant hues, like Tinker’s in Lovejoy, but a slim rigid monochrome American style monstrosity.
Ultimately the dress code should be decided by the couple who have decided upon marriage, however I would rather look like a dishevelled penguin than a lawyer at lunch. Indeed the outlay for a morning suit is dear but one can buy ex-rentals for the same price as a one off rental and the congregation will look like a splendid swollen rookery of Penguins.
Being an advocate of hats I, with saline tumbling from my eyes, wave the white flag and admit my top hat is exclusively for Ascot’s Royal Meeting – the world is moving on but this slow split from tradition is woefully sad.
So I implore one when dressing for the next wedding to unleash their inner Oscar Wilde (no that isn’t a euphemism!) and dress to impress