The Classic Tuxedo Gets a Lacy Makeover

Michael DiGuilmi didn’t want a standard black tuxedo when he married Neil Thein inside the Eiffel Suite at Hôtel Plaza Athénée in Paris last November.

“When I was thinking of some edgier types of tuxedos, I didn’t want the look to be like I was going to a cocktail party,” said Mr. DiGuilmi, 53, a vice president for brand marketing at a financial services company.

Mr. DiGuilmi, who lives in San Francisco, began thinking about his wedding attire soon after the couple’s December 2015 engagement. “It occurred to me that it would have something that was a little bit more bridal and kind of inspired by a traditional wedding gown,” he said.

In 2017, Mr. DiGuilmi, who is a fan of the T.V. show “Project Runway,” found himself browsing the Instagram account and website of a show alumnus, the designer Christian Siriano.

“I just clicked on his bridal collection at the time, and started going through the different bridal pieces posted on the website,” he said. “This particular gown that was made out of this particular lace struck a chord with me, and that was it. I knew that was what I wanted my tuxedo jacket to be made of.”

Using vintage French lace, duchess satin and classic wool crepe, Mr. Siriano and his team created Mr. DiGuilmi’s personalized ensemble, at a price tag of more than $5,000. The brand’s suits typically start at $3,500 and rise to $9,000-plus for a crystal-covered custom design. Wedding dresses range from $5,000 to $50,000.

“We’ve actually had a lot of men reach out recently asking for their dream wedding look; some are even asking for gowns,” Mr. Siriano said. “It’s a really interesting time in our world. People aren’t afraid, as much, to be themselves.”

Women are also breaking with tradition, with some forgoing gowns in favor of wedding suits.

“A lot of brides are uninterested in their mothers’ traditional thing,” Mr. Siriano said. “I think that’s all it comes down to: They don’t want to be like their moms, and they want to have fun and party.”

On Oct. 8, 2017, Chelsea Herron, 32, and Katie Herron, 32, of Huntsville, Ala., married in Tulum, Mexico before 70 guests. Chelsea Herron, a homemaker, wore a Meital Zano dress, while Katie Herron, who is a musician, wore an Alexander McQueen suit for their bohemian, rock ‘n’ roll-themed wedding.

“I felt like I could go on stage with it,” Katie Herron said of her jacket, camisole and pants, paired with a Dobbs hat and booties. “It was dressy enough, but it was casual enough as well. I felt comfortable. I felt like me — a fancier, cooler version — but still me.”

Katie Herron hadn’t seen brides wear suits before, but she always knew a dress wasn’t for her. “I didn’t do tons of research on Pinterest,” she said. Instead, the couple’s wedding planner guided her wardrobe choice.

“It wasn’t a stiff suit, it’s made of a silk-blend crepe,” said Madeline Sandlin, the owner of Finery Boutique, a Huntsville bridal boutique that also specializes in event planning and design. “Several wedding gowns are made out of crepe, so it felt very bridal-specific. Katie very much wanted to feel like a bride in a suit.”

Women choosing pants and blazers, rather than gowns, are displaying their personal styles, said Hervé Moreau, the artistic director at Pronovias, a bridal company based in Barcelona, Spain. In December, the brand presented tuxes within its Atelier Pronovias Cruise 2020 collection. “It’s a reflection of the person, the bride,” Mr. Moreau said. “I love the tuxedo because it’s really trendy, it’s really easy to wear.”

Other fashion houses recognize the demand for dress alternatives. Brands like Naeem Khan, Monique Lhuillier and Savannah Miller design for brides preferring slacks instead of skirts.

“There are no more rules,” said Mr. Siriano, who believes brides and grooms shouldn’t feel restricted to wardrobe traditions of the past. “I’m sure there are some bridal designers that will definitely fight me on that, but why can’t you wear what you want to wear?”

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