In mens formalwear, elegant black is in, colors are out

If brides are getting back to traditional gowns this year, then grooms are following suit: Simple, elegant, conservative tuxedos are in. Black and white are de rigueur.

"Most grooms are…wearing the same things they've been wearing for a number of years," says Dan McDearmid, vice president of sales and marketing for the West Coast's Gary's Tux Shops chain. "The faddish look is no longer in; what grooms are really going with today are conservative styles that best complement bridal dresses."

"A lot of people these days are going for classic, single-breasted tuxedos with a black vest or black tie; a lot of people are saying they want a look that's classy but elegant," says Andrea Fazio, assistant manager at a Gingiss Formalwear outlet.

"Colors are out these days," Fazio adds.

A basic black tuxedo is still the proper attire for a formal evening wedding, with black trousers, coordinated vest or cummerbund and bow tie, according to Modern Bride magazine. A dinner jacket could also work for that formal evening wedding as well as for a semiformal evening wedding.

The cutaway or morning coat is the traditional look for a formal daytime wedding.

For an informal daytime or evening wedding, grooms can get away with a black, dark gray or navy business suit, switching to a white or natural jacket in summer.

The latest twist on that basic tuxedo is a three-button notched style matched with a six-button vest.

"The three-button is a new look that replaces the single-breasted or double-breasted two-button," says Fazio.

Perry Ellis' single-breasted two-button tuxedo features satin-notched lapels as does the double-breasted six-button model. Satin shawl collars offer slightly jazzier possibilities.

The Oscar de la Renta collection employs small, understated details that highlight elegance. Subtle features include brush-stroke detailing on lapels and vests and double lapel shawl collars.

The most popular total look today is the single-breasted tuxedo with a vest. You wouldn't wear a vest along with a double-breasted style but might choose a cummerbund.

Formalwear experts agree that vests are among the most popular accessories.

"Where grooms are really adding fashion to the look is in vests," says Dan McDearmid. "And when they take their jacket off at the reception, they still have a nice formal vest look."

"Regardless of whether the tuxedo is classic in style or a reflection of advanced fashion, it can be a frame or a foil for an interesting shirt, an intriguing vest, an attractive cummerbund, a tie with a special flair or any number of other accoutrements such as button covers or collar bands and well-designed studs and cuff links," says Harvey Weinstein, chairman of Lord West, a leading manufacturer of tuxedos and formal accessories. "Even so, the look is still black."

Lord West's current collection features vests in multicolored silk prints, striated silk, Oriental-print velvets and abstract patterns with a Southwestern motif.

For more conservative customers, the company shows richly patterned black-on-black brocades and vests with satin lapels to coordinate with tuxedos.

Wing-collar shirts are still the most popular, but there are variations in the way wings are cut.

"Whether the wings go behind the tie or float freely above is a matter of letting nature take its course, often dictated by [the] shape and size of [the] tie or wings," says Weinstein.