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THE wedding: As royal-watchers around the world tune in to news on Prince William and Kate in the run-up to their nuptials, the focus of feverish speculation and attention is on what Kate will be wearing. Prince William’s attire, it has to be said, is of as much consequence to wedding fans as Mrs Beckham’s frocks would be to a football fanatic.willwed.jpg

The groom, in all weddings, plays a supporting role,and the classic style of his clothes reflects this.

Many soon-to-be grooms will envy the Prince the option he has to choose a military outfit. Safe within uniform rules, everything is selected for him.

But there is still the minefield of which uniform. Having served in all three services, he can choose between his current Royal Air Force uniform, an Army uniform or the Royal Navy.

Odds are on the Royal Air Force, of course, where he is a serving officer - and no other Royal has wed in that uniform. But the Royal Navy, the senior service, comes out top as freddiewindsor.jpgthe most attractive kit. Gieves & Hawkes, who will be making the uniform, remain tight-lipped.

An earlier picture of His Royal Highness in Royal Air Force uniform. Below, a grey morning suit by Hardy Amies was chosen by his cousin Freddie Windsor for his wedding last year. This is unusual, most Savile Row tailors saying that they make very few grey coats.

Meantime, other Spring grooms must battle with the decision of black or grey morning coat, plain, striped or checked trousers, plain or coloured vest, white tie or plain silk...

Some tailors report that young customers are increasingly favouring a lounge suit, which seems a pity, given the effort most brides make.

"We've only made a couple of morning suits edegreen.jpgin the last five years," reports Mark Powell. "People want suits they can wear after the wedding or if they want morning suits they tend to rent."

In the present economic climate, this trend may prevail but for the big wedding, tailors on the Row thinks tails win.

The Prince of Wales chose black with striped trousers when he wed Camilla Parker-Bowles, but wore military uniform for his first marriage to Diana. The most recent royal wedding was that of Freddie Windsor in 2009, son of the Duke and Duchess of Kent.

He opted for a classic grey morning suit that was tailored for him by Hardy Amies, a Savile Row establishment with particular clout in the royal stakes. It has made the Queen’s clothes for many years and also for other female members of the royal family. A recent management change has seen it place renewed emphasis on its bespoke tailoring for men.

Above, this morning suit from Ede & Ravenscroft is unusually teamed with a pale green vest and tie. Green is the least favoured colour for menswear, apart from in country clothes, so this is a novel choice.

randersonmorning.jpgBut it is not just style decisions that are exercising Savile Row. With the expectation that more couples are being prompted to the alter by royal example, the Row’s tailors are concerned that there may be a rush of customers. February and March are the usual months for the seasonal wedding attire business to kick off, in time for Spring and early Summer weddings, but this year, tailors are advising their customers to start early.

 “We have to tweek the timing just a little,” said Poppy Charles of Huntsman. “The Royal wedding is obviously going to give a boost to our wedding orders and though we usually estimate around 6 weeks for an outfit, if there is going to be extra work going through the workrooms, we are advising customers to start in good time.”

Over at Ede & Ravenscroft, responsible for more coronation and ceremonial robes over the years than anyone else, they also are stowersmorning.jpgpreparing for increased demand in bespoke dress suits. But if the pressure on bespoke is too much, they can offer ready-t0-wear morning coats with striped or houndstooth check trousers.

Above, classic morning coat from Richard Anderson with pale buff vest. Right, black coat and grey vest with cravat by Stowers Bespoke.

At Henry Poole, there is not only expectation of increased demand for morning suits but also in extra pressure from their on-going work to maintain certain court liveries. (see Style p3).

And Gieves & Hawkes will, of course, be well represented in the many uniforms present at the wedding, as well as with that of the groom. Resplendent in plenty of gold braid, gleaming brass buttons, sashes and medals, the male members of the congregation might well threaten to outshine the bride.




Spring 2011 edition

:: SAVILE ROW Style Magazine ::





contact Home - Contents in brief
contact Style 1 - Wedding fever boosts morning suit demand
contact Style 2 - Heady days for hatters as hats go on again
contact Style 3 - Authority on ceremonial design
contact Style 4 - Tailor who helped Kings Speech set trend
contact Style 5 - Italian flair mixed with London style
contact Style 6 - Limited edition suiting in honour of famous cutter
contact Style 7 - Old brand gets fresh styling from master tailor
contact SUBSCRIPTION - Savile Row Magazine/SR Collection
contact Drinks - Fairer sex boost white wine sales
contact Travel - Hailing a private jet gets easier
contact Compendium - Links to the really best brands and services
contact Contact - Details and registration
contact Tailors of Savile Row - listing of top tailors and interviews
contact Archive - Back Issues


• Coat, usually single breasted, may have braided edges. A grey one used to be worn only with grey trousers, but may now be teamed with black and grey striped ones.

• With a black coat, striped trousers or houndstooth check and puppy-tooth checks have also become popular.

• A frock coat is an acceptable alternative to tails, again perhaps braided.

• The waistcoat should be grey with grey coat, black or grey with black coat. Buff colour is also acceptable. Double breasted styles are in favour, with lapels or shawl collars. Fancy styles are not appropriate but increasingly popular.


• Shirt should be white, plain, down-turned collar, though a stand collar with a cravat is acceptable, especially with a frock coat.

Tall top hat above has a 6 1/4in crown, against the 5 1/2 in crown of the grey topper below. Both by Christy.

christygreytop.jpg• A straight plain tie is best, a silk knit attractive, or a cravat goes well with a frock coat.

• Plain black leather shoe or grey with a grey suit should be worn with matching socks.

• A plain white handkerchief.

• Top hat grey with grey coat, black with black, but grey also may be worn with black.

• A carnation makes the best boutennière, as the calyx may be inserted into the buttonhole, so that the flower sits flush on the lapel. A plain rosebud is also acceptable but on no account any fern, trimmings or silver.