I went to a wedding last week. A cousin of mine was getting married at a big house out in Dorset, in the south of England. There was no dress code specified, except for the social understanding that everyone would be smart; and the presumption that only the wedding party, if anyone, would be wearing morning dress.
Without hopefully being immodest in any way, I do feel that I stood out rather. Not because I was wearing shorts, or morning dress, but rather because little parts of my outfit were different to the crowd through greater thought and interest being put into small aspects of it. It was the little things.
Start with the colour of the suit – a mid-blue, rather than a navy blue. I think about half of the men their were wearing blue suits and they were all a dark navy. It’s no wonder people want to wear a different suit to a wedding, if they don’t they just feel like it’s an office outing.
Second, the pattern of the suit – a mid-sized herringbone, with a little bit of play in the blue of the weave. Not a bold pattern, not one most people would probably notice, but it wasn’t plain and, again, the vast majority of suits out there were just plain weaves.
Next, it was double-breasted. Not very daring, but I was the only man there wearing a double breast and it does add rather to the formality of the outfit. Appropriate, really, at a wedding.
I wore a white pocket handkerchief. Linen, hand rolled and arranged in casual points, it again stood out in a crowd of men where the only people wearing handkerchiefs were in the wedding party, and theirs matched their waistcoats.
I had, too, a flower in my buttonhole. Several others of my family wore flowers, following my lead, but we were still a small group of five in a swathe of men with no ornament to speak of. And the white roses, being obviously cream rather than white, were a rather nice complement to shirt and handkerchief.
Then we get down to very little things. The two blades of my tie being the same length. The socks being knee-length. And in honour of my friend Luke, who is more obssesive about shoelaces than I ever want to be, my laces were definitely tied in a neat west-to-east, rather than north-to-south.
The suit was bespoke, which is probably the subtlest of the differences and one no one that didn’t know me would probably notice. But in a way I think the effect of a bespoke suit is the one I most like to replicate in my dress – just looking good without anything obvious standing out. So while someone could point at a few elements – handkerchief, flower, double-breast – there are always others that they feel they are missing, the subtle and little recognised aspects of style.
Saying it all assuming it is of interest to someone. Saying it all hopeing it could never be seen as immodest, merely a little introspective. Liking the effects of the little things more than anyting else.