< return

Formal Finds: Choosing Your Perfect Dress or Tux
January 20, 2015

Okay, we totally get it. So little time, so many options, so much tulle. Add to that the opinions of your ten best girlfriends, your future mother in law, and your unfailingly traditional grandmother and you've got yourself a dress fitting. We're here to help you reign in the madness and celebrate the chaos that is selecting your wedding dress. Whether the details of your dress have been carefully considered for years or you're finding yourself a little lost amongst the chantilly lace and organza detailing of 2015's top wedding dress trends, take a peek at these helpful hints before setting out to say 'yes' to the dress- or tux.

Shop Happy: Tips and Hints

-Prepare your number. Because one of the first thoughts that tend to accompany wedding gown shopping is price, it's a great idea to walk into your appointment prepared with a magic number. Take stock of the budget you're trying to work with and steer clear of any price tag that exceeds those digits. This eliminates the potential crash and burn of falling for a gown that is unrealistic for your price point, and opens up a vast world of drop waists and sweetheart necklines that will complement your wedding budget. Often a forgotten aftershock to bride's and groom's budgets, keep in mind that alterations and tailoring are essential as gowns tend to run two to three sizes larger or smaller for fittings, and an ill fitted tux is memorable in the worst way.

-Know your timeline. Custom gowns and pieces requiring considerable alterations run the gamut from eight weeks to eight months for construction and tailoring, but a common guideline is about six to eight months to get your perfect gown. If you're anticipating being a particularly picky shopper, allow for a couple of extra months for narrowing down your favorites. You're much better off starting early than finding yourself settling as your deadline nears and your options dwindle.

-Be choosy with your guest list. Inviting too many friends and loved ones along for dress shopping often results in a clashing of preferences and too many well intentioned visions for what will look best on your big day. Save yourself the stress and shelf the need to please by inviting only those you can't imagine missing that special moment.

-Come prepared. A nude bra and panties are a must for dress fittings, as are any accessories you might consider including with your look. Bring along a pair of shoes with your desired heel height to get a sense of how the dress falls. Consider trying out a certain makeup look or hairstyle that you may consider for the “Big Day” and take the extra time to primp before hand. This is a celebration of you, it should feel like it.

-Keep an open mind. Take the time to try on several different dress or suit styles, from a ballgown to a sheath, or a skinny fit suit to a traditional tux. Knowing what styles you love before hand helps to get you started and gives your sales assistant a feel for your tastes. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box. You may be surprised to find that a mermaid cut you had unjustly ruled out perfectly complements your shape or skipping the suit coat in favor of a vest is just the look you never knew you wanted. Allow your salesperson to make suggestions based on your body type and dress/tux styles, as your preconceived notions of what does and does not suit you might be slightly off. You don't know until you try!

Side note: if you have a specific designer or gown in mind, be sure to call ahead to schedule an appointment. This ensures your sales person's undivided attention, and the shops' best chance to get ahold of that dress you're dying to try on.

-Forget those extra ten pounds. If you're spending a little more time at the gym before your big day, keep in mind that it's much easier and cost effective to take a dress in than it is to scramble to make extra room you weren't planning for. Purchase a gown that fits you as you are now; those curves are beautiful, celebrate them. In the spirit of celebrating your individual beauty, create a fun playlist for your shopping adventures if you feel like you might need an extra boost, or bring along a favorite mantra to keep you feeling as gorgeous as you are. Slip into the moment and out of your head.

-Guys, get ready for some details. Don't think you've got it any easier than us ladies- your suit style, fabric, fit and color are equally as important as her dress. So let's talk button stance, vents and pant breaks shall we? A few basic guidelines you likely aren't aware of when dealing in suit details: button stance is the position on a suit coat where the waist button is positioned and it comes in options of neutral, or at the waist, low, below the waistline, creating a deeper V, and high, or above the waistline which shortens the V of the jacket. Button stances are a variable you and your sales assistant can play with as you choose your best look, as our experts will consider your height, feature proportions and body shape to determine which option is best.

Tall? Choose a suit coat with either no vent or a single vent (the slit up the back of the jacket), which adds more dimension to the rear of a taller, skinnier man. A bulkier build is best complemented by a single vent, drawing less attention to a larger build than a double-vented option, which is great for shorter guys as it helps to create a longer silhouette. Also imperative to creating a complementary look, the correct pant break is essential to a well tailored look. The pant break, or where your pants fall on your shoes, creates a horizontal crease in the pant fabric at the front of the leg. A medium break is standard; a classic look, the medium break is great for guys of average height. Fashion forward, the full break lends a deeper crease to the pant leg and a trendier look especially suited for taller men as it provides additional length. A short break tends toward a high fashion look, giving little to no crease in the pant leg. Are the details sending your head spinning? Our experts at Tip Top Tux, Buffalo Floral, and Live, Laugh & Bloom Floral can help you sort through these options and more!

Shapes and Styles: Choices Abound

The beauty of wedding attire shopping lies in the limitless. There are as many style, fabric, and color options as there are glitzy accessories and tie patterns, and it's imperative that you have some fun with this process. Whether your idea of the perfect dress is a voluminous ball gown or a curve hugging sheath, your ideal gown awaits you along  with the expert assistance of our partners in formal wear at:


Gentleman, you've got an equally diverse playing field when it comes to style options and additions; feel free to get original with these! No colors or patterns are off limits, but here are a few more basics to keep in mind when searching for your best look.

Before deciding on vests, cumberbunds, ties or bowties, select your suit or tuxedo style. The tux is the ultimate in men's formal wear, but a well tailored suit can be equally statement making. A few basics to consider: double breasted or single breasted jacket? A double breasted jacket flatters an average or tall build, while a single breasted jacket is a classic that works well on a variety of shapes and sizes. Lapels come in three types, Notch, Peak, or Shawl, in slim, regular, or wide variants from just over 2 inches to 4.5 inches. Some help here- the continuous curve of a shawl lapel plays well with tuxedos and a peak lapel is standard on a double breasted suit, while a notch lapel is ideal for single breasted suits. A slimmer lapel tends to look proportionate to a slimmer build,  and likewise a slim notch lapel tends to flatter a slim frame. How about buttons? A 1 button suit flatters a skinnier build, while 2 button suits are more versatile and a standard fit for most body types, including a short torso. 3 button suit jackets are better left to taller men, as the 3 buttons and their spacing emphasize length and often overwhelm a shorter man.

As a rule, your suit jacket should always hug your shoulders guys, no slouching allowed. Most men wear a size too big for their frame which adds pounds, so when in doubt, try sizing down. Showing some cuff will make your arms appear longer, and your jacket should always have a firmness to it when tugged. Whether you're aiming for a classic, modern, or hipster feel, keep these basic guidelines in mind when setting out to find your wedding day look and be sure to seek out the expert opinions of our men's formal wear affiliates.

     From A line's to peplums, strapless standouts to daringly deep V's, we've got you covered. No fabric or color is off limits when working with our experts, and you're sure to receive the care and attention to detail you've come to expect from the CMWA and our specially selected affiliates. If you're dying to give this season's must haves in unexpected shades of gray and mint a go, try your hand at an illusion high neckline, or test out that six button suit in khaki, look no further. Whether your tastes follow of the moment trends or your preferences are decidedly classic, we can't wait to be an integral part of your very own 'yes to the dress' moment.