Story by Liesel Schmidt
Since their advent, wedding gowns have gone through countless transformations, everything from relatively simple affairs to elaborate creations that literally take people’s breaths away with their unexpected beauty, glamour or elegance. In recent years, however, there has been a shift to the avant garde, welcoming everything from multicolored gowns to jumpsuits on a walk down the aisle. But gaining some of the greatest attention has been the bridal tux, worn by brides with a very unique sense of style and a desire to stand out and be different. Naturally, it takes finding the right designer to create a bridal tux worthy of the most important day in a woman’s life. Bespoke clothier, Tom James, has shifted their specialization in creating quality menswear to focus more on women’s clothing and accessories—making them the ideal maker of tuxedos to suit the needs of a woman on her wedding day. “For years, we specialized in men’s business wear, smart casual and formal wear,” says Wardrobe Consultant Sarah Slaper, who has been with the company since 2011. “Not anymore. We have always served women, as well, but never in the way in which they deserved. I am proud to say that, as of 2019, we rolled out a brand-new women’s line, including a variety of fabrics and styles as well as accessories, which allows us to serve our female clientele better than ever.” Boasting more than 100 offices worldwide, Tom James does not operate any physical stores, but rather reaches its clients through the symbiotic workings of those offices and through their website. “We come to you!” says Slaper. “No more ordering online, hoping things fit or dealing with returning garments that don’t, no carving out time from your family schedule, no driving in traffic or parking in busy parking lots. What you receive from Tom James is a service-minded personal relationship with a company that creates an American-made garment of quality and exceptional fit.” The impetus for the bridal tux was more than just a jump into the fray to offer something that no one else did. “A client of mine brought me a picture from some awards show she’d seen and said, ‘I want this!’ The rest is history,” Slaper recalls. The rise of women’s tuxes—and their subsequent presence in the bridal world—is, in Slaper’s estimation, largely due to the media. “Honestly, I think that seeing celebrities rock tuxedos in beautiful satins, silks and velvets—no matter their gender—has inspired men and women alike to jump outside of their comfort zone and try something new,” she posits. “Plus, there’s something incredibly appealing about the thought of wearing a beautifully-tailored tuxedo that is comfortable but also badass and completely unique.” Unique. Therein lies the greatest power of the bridal tuxedo. In a world where brides do their utmost to stand out from the crowd, a tux can be the answer to the question—with the added bonus of being, as Slaper notes, “badass.” That said, Slaper does not see them completely overshadowing the traditional gown as ceremony wear for brides, but rather as pre-event attire for rehearsals or engagement parties, or even as a wardrobe change for receptions. “To me, the history is what makes these pieces so great,” she says. “But in making them for women, it’s the choices! We have silks inspired by masquerade balls of the past, velvets in a rainbow of colors, sparkles that make for outstanding party jackets and you can’t forget the styling options. I’m a sucker for a red bottom or a Valentino. Both shoes can give a simple black satin tuxedo a bit of feminine edge. I have loads of clients that prefer more of a loafer style flat such as a Ferragamo or, for a mix of feminine and masculine energy, a loafer or lace up from Angela Scott.” Much like bridal gowns, tuxes require planning. “I suggest you allow yourself about 12 weeks from your initial consultation so that the creation of your garment is not rushed,” Slaper advises. “At our first meeting, we pick out fabrics, get your measurements and place your order. In about eight weeks, we do your first fitting. I am very picky about the fit because you’re my walking billboard. From there, I’ll make some nips and tucks and deliver your final garment in about two to three weeks after your initial first fitting.”
For more information, contact Sarah Slaper at 440.346.0314 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and follow @suitedbyslaper.