The 7 sins of selecting menswear

Looking good is never an accident. Choosing the right outfit for the right occasion takes patience and plenty of guidance and advice from the right people. It’s important to take the time to deal with the experts so styling mistakes aren’t made.

Here are the seven sins of selecting formal menswear the staff at Formal Image see or hear about on a daily basis. The good news? Repentance is easy with Formal Image guiding customers through the styling maze of special occasion menswear. 


A special occasion is just that. A special occasion. It is not the occasion for a guest to be dressed in the same suit as a groom and groomsmen. Formal Image is a specialist store that focuses on stocking quality menswear that is different from the floor stock found in a generic menswear or department store. The hire selection is tailor made by Formal Image to the highest specifications.

If purchasing off the rack is the option, know that Formal Image select suits that are distinctively individual and designed to be worn after a wedding or special event.

Expert staff are trained in suggesting ways to either dress up or dress down an outfit. This means happy customers feel special on their wedding day and are also able to re-wear the same suit after the big occasion. Sometimes the simplest of suggestions around hiring accessories is the answer that means the only sinful element of the wedding is the dessert buffet.

2. Wearing the wrong suit at the wrong time

The Formal Image team can advise and guide on the appropriate menswear etiquette for a particular event at a certain time of day. Here are three basic rules of thumb that can be applied to a special event.

  • Dinner jackets (also called tuxedos) are traditionally black in colour and are distinguished by the addition of satin or silk facing on the lapels. They come in one, two and three button styles and should not be worn before 6:00pm.
  • English morning tails is a grey jacket combined with striped trousers and should only be worn during the day up to and including 3:00pm.
  • Black tail coats can be worn at any time including the evening.

There are many conventions on what shirt should be worn with each suit and what sort of neckwear is involved when accessorising. There are even rules regarding the size of patterns on vests and the manner in which to tie the cravat or tie.

Formal Image staff guide and assist around these styling principles. By all means, it is quite acceptable to choose not to follow convention but it is prudent to do it by choice and not ignorance.

3. The Groom’s outfit does not complement the Bride’s dress

Whilst the tradition is that the groom may not see his bride’s gown before the wedding day, the same is not true for the bride viewing the groom’s outfit. This is to minimise the risk of this styling sin happening. It’s all about minimising the danger of the groom, whilst looking fabulous in his own way, actually clashing with the bride’s all important wedding dress and detracting from it rather than enhancing it.

For example, if the bride has chosen a simple classic look and the groom has selected a more modern look, it may look out of sync on the wedding day and in the photos for years afterwards. Both individually look delightful but the looks do not work in harmony.

It is suggested that either the bride accompanies her groom in the selection of outfits or alternatively the bride discreetly briefs the staff at Formal Image regarding the colour and style of her gown and those of her attendants.

4. Not understanding style, cut or shape of your suit fit

Did you know 80% of men are wearing the wrong suit size and cut? The media bombards men with images of smart looking gentlemen in smart looking suits that are perfectly cut and look fantastic.

Men come to Formal Image after they have purchased a suit off the rack at a department store and are often perplexed as to why the suit they bought doesn’t look as good on them as it does on the model.

The reason is the model was chosen to complement the outfit and vice versa and show it to its best advantage.

When buying or hiring an outfit, particularly a suit, the best results come when working with a stylist who understands what style and cut complements certain physiques.

The staff at Formal Image has been rigorously trained in all aspects of men’s styling and fashion. Even more importantly they know what is currently on trend, what is a passing fad and what should be avoided.

5. Not understanding the impact of colour

Women have long known that certain colours suit their skin tones and hair colour. The same rules apply to men.

A plain black suit with matching dark accessories can be harsh and unflattering to some complexions, but appear dramatic and sophisticated on others.

When dressing as a bridal party, its important colour is used strategically so it not only looks good on the groom and groomsmen but also complements the colours and style of the wedding dress and the bridesmaids’ outfits.

The shirt and accessories must match the bride. If the bride is wearing an ivory gown, the groom and his party should also be in ivory shirts. If they were to wear white shirts, in the photos the bride’s gown would appear to be slightly miscoloured in comparison.

Traditionally the groomsmen will have a touch of the bridesmaids colour incorporated in their outfits. It is a subtle way of bringing the scheme together.

Formal Image has Sydney’s largest range of vests and accessories that can be hired, purchased or manufactured to wedding day and special event specifications.


Most suits are sold with a specific jacket size teamed with a specific pant size and a number of menswear outlets will not split the pair. To get a jacket that fits perfectly, there may be compromise on the fit of the pants or vice versa.

Formal Image understands that a large number of men require a different size jacket to their trouser size.

Regardless of whether a wedding party is purchasing or hiring outfits, all jackets and pants are meant to be mixed and matched size-wise. If additional help is required, Formal Image have an in-house seamstress who can alter trousers for the in between situation.

7. Ruined photos from getting the styling details wrong

Memories last forever but so too do photos and a wedding day is not the day to get the style wrong and then have it captured for a lifetime. That additional attention to detail is what Formal Image is known for.

Sometimes it can be as subtle as not knowing when a jacket should be buttoned, or even how many buttons should be fastened.

Usually referred to as the “sometimes, always, never rule” with a three button suit for example the top button is optional, the second button is mandatory and the third button never used.

Formal Image advise on those minute details that can have a big impact. Styling tips around how to stop shirts riding up and becoming visible under waistcoat, or whether to go black tie or white tie right through to how long a jacket should be to be considered the correct fit?

It comes down to experience, knowledge and service. Formal Image are the professionals in men’s formal outfitting and styling. Staff are trained to advise in all areas of men’s fashion and special event etiquette.

What we know is what we’re known for.

Contact us today

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