Yeah, There is No Way

As soon as we entered the Men’s Warehouse I instantly knew it was going to be a complete and utter let down. It was like entering a hospital, I instantly knew this was a place I did not want to be. We opened the door and heard silence marked by forced laughter. Clerks standing around talking together, one clerk helping a father get his son his first suit. We did a quick scan of the floor and moved our way back to the Tuxedo Rentals.

Image from Men's Warehouse

With only two customers and six clerks, it took a solid 5-10 minutes of standing before the back counter before anyone came up to us to ask us if we needed help. This is Jersey, no one is going to welcome you and remark about how lovely the 80 degree spring day is!

A quick talking Jersey-girl explained to us how the rentals work: we decide on a style, guys come in and get measured, they pick up the rental the day of the event, and return it with 3 days. The rentals includes everything including the shoes, vest, shirt, suit. Since our men are having to fly to California, I asked if they could mail or extended for a few extra days. She said they could return to any Men’s Warehouse store, even in California.

There were only two tuxedo’s on display–one with a long tail (think Beethooven), and then the standard regular fit. The clerk proceeded to tell us that there are two types of fabric–a cheap one that is really heavy and stiff and won’t be comfortable at all for $89.99 or a suit fabric that is thin and breathes, what you would think of as suit material called Super 100, for $149 per rental. I asked it we could compare the fabrics and I have to say, it is a HUGE difference. But it was at that moment when my groom responded, “they are both really heavy!” that I new this was a no go. My groom is a sweater, he hates heat. I could see it in his eyes–“uh oh, this is going to be so uncomfortable.” Since our wedding is outside in July we would definitely have to get the more expensive rental.

From going to the website I knew which style I wanted. Classic and traditional, single breasted. Now we would need to decide on the color of the vest and tie. I asked if it was necessary to have a vest–maybe we could do without to lighten up the fabric even more. Her response was that we would pay for it anyways…so we took a look. There was every color you could imagine, but all in very off putting shades and fabrics. Just not my style. I really don’t want cotton candy pink or a emerald. I asked what the most classic color is, black? And she said shiny silver. Which totally wouldn’t work with my amber, gold, pinks and peaches. My fiance loved the idea of his groomsmen in bright pink bowties and vests, just because it was sheer humiliation. And I nixed that idea because: it is our wedding not a time for practical jokes!!

At the end, Mr. Cali Girl asked “Do you have any regular suit rentals? Like that? Or like a searsucker?” and pointed to the tan Calvin Klein linen suit we saw when we first entered. Her response was “No. But do you want to leave a deposit for the rental?” We said we would think about it.

We left Men’s Warehouse and I knew we would not be coming back. I didn’t say anything to my fiance because I wanted to know his summary on the outing, which was: “That is going to be terrible. Where else can we go? Do you think we can figure something out that is roughly the same price?”

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Bringing Back the Tux

My groom has decided that he wants to “bring back the bowtie.” Now this may not be an OMG for you. For me, I have been resting on the assumption that he wanted the most relaxed outfit that he could get by with (well, me and his mom, would let him get away with!). So I was thinking an Italian Chino Suit or a Linen Suit. Making it comfortable with Clark Wallaby’s, Sperry boatshoes, Vans, or Chuck Taylors. All my girls are mismatched and some are even wearing cotton dresses with unfinished edges!Uh…can this work with a tux??? Will the ladies be too casual?? Here is the range of dresses from bridesmaid, junior bridesmaid with sash, and sister of the groom, now paired with a bowtie tux. We are off to Men’s Warehouse so bid us good luck.

Image from Style Me Pretty
Image from J-Crew
Image from J-Crew
Image from J-Crew
Image from J-Crew

Barong Tagalog

Image from Filipinas.

When Filipino men get dressed up, they put on the traditional barong.

No…I didn’t say sarong! A barong is a shirt that falls just past the waist, worn untucked, with long sleeves, embroidery, and buttons along the front. It looks like a Western dress shirt at first but then you see it–it is transparent! (Guys do wear an undershirt…don’t worry!!)

It has been worn for the last four hundred years, ever since colonization by the Spaniards in the 1500s. The origins of it are a little bit fuzzy but they say the Spaniards made them wear it to differentiate the natives from the rulers. It was transparent so no weapons could be concealed, contained no pockets to deter thievery, and was untucked to show their savageness. So why in contemporary times do Filipinos wear this style shirt if it was meant to insult? It has been reclaimed by the people! Just as vernacular words do, so does the barong!! It is now the official dress of the Philippines. AND the style of dress for grooms.

When my groom and I went to the Philippines last year he got his very own. This wasn’t the easiest thing for him to do. We went to a marketplace that had a number of stands set up selling barongs. But my man is a bit bigger than the average Filipino. He is pushing 6’1” and at the time pushing 250 lbs. Most of the barongs were small sizes and when they did have his size they wanted to charge almost double saying that it was extra fabric! Yes it technically is more fabric–but really, double? But it is really nice. The embroidery on each is different and he and his friends had a great time picking his out.

So he has his! He could wear his for the wedding, the rehearsal dinner, or our brunch. A direct import from his native land.

Here is a breakdown of the word ‘Barong Tagalog’:

Baro = Dress

Barong = Dress of

Barong Tagalog = Dress of the Tagalog

Fine and Dandy

Image from Fine and Dandy Shop

Need groom(smen) ideas? Visit Fine and Dandy Shop blog if you love the Sherlock Holmes look. Being that Sherlock is my favorite literary character, I appreciate the style and wish to see more of the London scene. Truthfully my groom is much too much of a John Wayne than a Beau Brummell. But it doesn’t put a damper on me getting inspiration from this site!

So head on over to check out this dandy site for all things aristocratic in British men’s fashion.

Groom Idea #2 – A Fine Chino Suit with a Blue Collar

With Outfit Idea #2 it is a bit more dressed up than Outfit Idea #1.

Our wedding palette is based on peaches and pinks so this khaki brown would compliment it beautifully. Mr. Cali Girl has a warm complexion and he usually looks really good in chino.

With a little rugged, blue collar casual addition of the utility shirt and suede shoes my groom might actually like it!

Check out the clothes on J-Crew.com.

Has to match these colors: