The morning suit

Just like it says on the box, this wedding attire is traditionally a daytime proposition…
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Not familiar with the term morning suit? That’s okay. You’ll certainly recognise the style. Even though morning suits have a rich sartorial tradition, they’re often associated with the types of ultra-formal events not on the radar of every groom-to-be. Still, this doesn’t mean that you can’t kick the style of your own big day up a notch. For many fashion-conscious men, the morning suit is nothing less than traditional wedding attire.

The look is built around the morning coat, a single-breasted tailcoat—sometimes called a cutaway—with one button, and coattails extending to mid-thigh or knee. The accompanying trousers are black-and-grey striped, which gives them a dark grey appearance. A waistcoat, tie, and white shirt complete the look.

The ensemble can be traced back to the morning coat, the origin of which remains in dispute. Some chroniclers date the morning coat to the 1700s, but the coat was definitely en vogue by the mid-1800s, when it became a casual daytime substitute for the frock coat, giving rise to its ‘morning’ name. 

By the early 1900s, the wearing of the coat and trousers had gained prominence, and this look continued up through the end of World War II. Following the war, the suit fell out of fashion as a man’s wardrobe staple, but at the same time became requisite apparel for grooms, particularly in England.

That tradition continues around the world today, especially for men looking for an elegant occasion—a morning suit is a formal option for the races, for instance. To properly incorporate the morning suit into your wedding attire, there are some governing rules.

First, the suit should be worn during the day. Naturally. That rules out its usage for weddings that begin at 5 p.m. or later. Second, a true morning suit adheres to the style set out above: black coat (sometimes dark grey), white shirt, striped pants. However, there is room for colour variation in the waistcoat and tie.

As for groomsmen’s attire, the main rule of thumb that they not contrast with the groom, for example, groomsmen in tuxedos while the groom wears a morning suit. It’s perfectly acceptable for them to wear morning suits also, although the groom may wish to differentiate himself with a different-coloured waistcoat or tie.

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Story by Todd Peterson

 
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