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

My Favorite Groom & Groomsmen Styles

I have a hard time figuring out what different styles are out there for my man. What is stylish for men? I may not have enough energy to spend on my clothes to be uber hip, but I know what is stylish and most importantly–what is not–for women. But with guy clothes? Not really. Men’s clothes are all about the details. Subtle pleating can make a huge difference from a modern to dated suit. My fiance has taught me this much. So how does this factor in to contemporary male clothing? I did a series of posts with a more rugged, resort, and indie feel. I am really trying to walk the line of being respectful and conservative versus having a relaxed and casual wedding. I realize I need to take a step back. I really needed to identify what feeling we were going for.

Recently, my man has started to hint that he wouldn’t mind going with a more traditional-classic look. So what exactly is out there? What are the options? So I have set out on a search through Style Me Pretty, Once Wed and 100 Layer Cake. I have found a number of different groom looks that I liked. Here are my favorite traditional groom & groomsmen looks:

#1. Classic black and white tuxedo.

Image from Style Me Pretty

#2. Classic black and white suits with black ties.

Image from Style Me Pretty.

3. Classic black and white tuxedo but with groomsmen wearing colored bowties.

Image from Style Me Pretty.

#4. Groom in black tie with groomsmen in colored ties.

Image from Style Me Pretty.

#5. Groom in suit with jacket, groomsmen in vests.

Image from Once Wed.

#6. Groom in colored shirt, everyone in different patterned tie.

Image from Style Me Pretty.

#7. Groom in lighter colored suit, groomsmen in classic suit. Add sneakers for casual look.

Image from Style Me Pretty.

8. Groom in tie, groomsmen no tie. Both in a light colored suit.

Image from Style Me Pretty.

So what do you think Bohos? If we are going to go a little bit more traditional and classic, which would you choose? I originally compiled this to show to my fiance. This has been the theme of our wedding planning–and perhaps this will be for our wedded life–I compile a list of options and he chooses. I have a secret to making this work…you only show him options you like or could live with or you really are not working it to your full potential 😉

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

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:

Groom Ideas #1-#5: Resort to Rugged

Since the girls are almost all decided upon, it is now time for me to work on what the guys will be wearing. My groom doesn’t like to shop. Not in the slightest. I have asked him what he wants to wear, he says whatever I want him to. This is good and bad. As if I don’t have enough to pick out, I will now dress my groom.

These are the guidelines from Mr. Groom: Nothing that he will sweat easily in, something comfortable, blue is his favorite color, he doesn’t like ties.

personal photo

Miss Bride-to-be’s requirements: It has to match my girls! All the dresses are either ruffly, have flowers, and are a shade near pink. More bohemian than dressy.

This is what I am trying reaching for with the groom’s attire: a.) casual yet still stylish, b.) something that can hold up to a soft flowing wedding dress, c.) something “country club” or “destination” or “resort” wear (we are getting married on an island in a country club after all!).

Above is my attempt at an outfit. I call it Outfit #1 – Resort. My night in shining armor looking as if he just walked off a boat. Not quite sure if it is right in line with the rest of my vision which is a bit more “romantic” and rustic!

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

Since 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!

An unbuttoned shirt paired with a light khaki suit is the idea behind Outfit Idea #3. Matched with a linen pocket square for a little more umph. The look and feel is very light. The best part is it just screams wedding!

Outfit Idea #4 capitalizes on shades of browns and blues. You really can’t go wrong using the one or two colors in a range of shades. I find the color of the tie with a brighter blue shirt to be particularly exciting and new feeling! Check out the clothes on J-Crew.com and Tommy Bahama. It would need to go with these colors:


Outfit Idea #5 is something you just can’t go wrong with. Not so bohemian, not so casual, not so destination but it is always a winner in my book. How would it pair with the wedding colors…does black, brown, tan or blue go best?


*all images from J-Crew unless noted otherwise.