The bride spends the better part of a year searching for the perfect gown, enduring multiple fittings to get every last hem, crease, and ruffle just right. And the groom…hits up a rental shop a few months before the wedding for the same oversize tux that thousands of other guys have donned before him. It doesn’t have to be that way, says Hayley Maybury, the senior showroom director at the Newbury Street outpost of Alton Lane, a bespoke menswear company. “They’re not just coming in and taking a suit off the rack,” says Maybury, who helps grooms choose from limitless fabric and design options to create custom getups worthy of the strut down the aisle. “I really create a relationship with my clients, which is probably my favorite part of the job.”
What separates Alton Lane from the city’s other menswear retailers?
It’s an experience brand, so we work one on one with customers to fit them for shirts, pants, suits, tuxedos, blazers, and overcoats. Our showroom is set up to be very comfortable, kind of like a man cave, so you feel relaxed when you come in. We start appointments at our bar, which we always stock with scotch, bourbon, wine, and beer. Another thing that sets us apart is the 3-D body scanner that we have in all of our showrooms. It shows about 150 measurements and helps pick up little things that you can’t really see with the naked eye, like if one arm is shorter than the other. It’s also an experience for the guys to hop in—it takes 30 seconds and then they get an image of themselves. It’s not always flattering, but it makes them laugh.
After you’ve captured measurements, how do you help customers design their suit or tux?
We have some examples in the showroom, which I always point out to them. When it comes to tuxedos, I like to pull up pictures on our iPads so they can get a better visual. As far as colors go, one of my rules for suits is to always choose dark navy over black, which can be really harsh. Dark navy is much softer, looks a little bit nicer next to a bride’s dress, and photographs better. I also always suggest a crisp white shirt over any other color. White looks the best next to the bride, no matter what color she’s wearing.
What about fabrics? There are so many to choose from.
Lightweight wool is a great option for summer weddings. Cotton and linen tend to be very wrinkly and aren’t as comfortable. Wool also absorbs sweat, which is good for grooms on their wedding day. For fall through spring, a regular wool is great. For tuxedos, we have satin, fun gold-flecked fabrics, and velvet that is laser-cut into different patterns. Velvet is always chic for winter.
How much time should wedding clients budget for custom suiting?
The earlier, the better. Weddings are stressful, and it feels great to check stuff off your list no matter how ahead of the game you are. My suggestion would be to start your search four to six months before the wedding. That way you’ll have time to weigh all of your options. Less than two months from the wedding is too close, especially if you are doing a custom suit.
What else should grooms keep in mind while shopping?
They should consider their lapel style, how many buttons they want (for a tuxedo), and the fabric quality. I think quality makes a big difference, especially if you’re going custom. I wouldn’t settle for something just because of the price. Unlike a wedding dress, this is something that you’re probably going to wear over and over again. Take time to research it and make sure that the fabric is right not just because of the price, but because of how long it will last.
What are the advantages of buying a suit or tux versus renting one?
The number one thing is going to be the fit. Getting into a custom suit is going to make the way that you look and the experience so much better. At a wedding, you’re getting your picture taken the entire day. It’s nice when the groom looks perfectly put together.
How much should a groom expect to shell out for a custom getup?
Our suiting starts at $595. Our most popular suiting, especially for wedding parties, costs $895.
Do you ever dress the groomsmen, too?
Yes, pretty often. When we have the entire wedding party come in to get suiting, we like to make it into a special event for them. We will shut down the showroom, so they have the space to themselves, and provide their drink of choice and snacks. It is always a fun time.
What’s trending in men’s wedding fashion?
French blue is the most popular color right now. Probably 20 to 30 percent of our wedding clients choose suits in that color. One thing I’m pushing my grooms toward is having them wear a different color suit than their groomsmen. For example, put a light gray suit on the groom and charcoal suits on the guys, or vice versa. The pictures look awesome when the groom stands out.
91 Newbury St., Boston, 888-800-8616, altonlane.com.
Jazz up your suit or tux with one of these stylish accents, recommended by Hayley Maybury.
Monogram: Personalize your getup by having your initials, name, or wedding date embroidered on the inside of your jacket.
Vest: Even if you ditch the jacket after the ceremony and pictures, wearing a vest ensures you’ll still look dressed up.
Pocket Square: A pocket square ties everything together, and doesn’t always have to match your tie or shirt. It can be a fun pop of color.
Cuff Links: They’re the only piece of jewelry a guy gets to pick out—and a great gift for groomsmen.
Buttonholes: Having your last buttonhole stitched in a different color is a hallmark of custom suiting.
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