The fanfare of the biggest event in Great Britain this year is the Royal Wedding of HRH Prince Harry to American actress Meghan Markle. We spotted the watches at the grand event in this post earlier today. The guests turned up dressed to the nines, and as we have neglected our Sartorial Musings column for a while, we thought why knock up a non-watch article which may serve as a guide to formal wear for our readers. We look at the attire of Prince Harry, his father Prince Charles, David Beckham and George Clooney. And discover three corrects and one wrong.
We begin with the groom himself. For the wedding vows ceremony, HRH Prince Harry was seen in military uniform, as is customary for the British Royal Family.
Military uniform is always correct provided that the man has earned the right to wear it. In this case, there is no doubt.
But Harry later changed into a black tie, presumably for the evening, as seen below:
Whats’s right: Harry wears the proper black tie in grosgrain with a black (or midnight blue) evening jacket (proper tailoring term = coat) with grosgrain peak lapel. And matching trousers, with double braids on the outer legs with no turn-up cuffs. The trouser length looks perfect, with almost no break. The top of the crease in the front just about flirting with the shoe upper. Nice. Plain white shirt, with French cuffs. Proper too is the black oxford shoes, although might have been a better if he wore patent leather pumps. And of course Meghan looking radiant by his side. Perfect. What’s not right? Well, no pocket square. He is not wearing a customary cummerbund or a waist coat which is required for the single breasted dinner jacket.
HRH Prince Charles father of the groom is seen in his morning suit. The morning suit is the correct attire for a day time formal wedding.
What is right: Beautifully cut morning suit in grey with matching grey trousers. The morning coat is a cutaway frock coat and always worn single breasted, designed to stay unbuttoned. In Prince Charles’ case above, he chose a chain to link both sides. Morning suits with matching trousers and waistcoat are considered slightly less formal than a dark coat with striped trousers and a complementary but not matching waistcoat. He wears a proper pale shirt with a plain long tie secured by a pearl pin. Note the length of shirt cuff showing is perfect, as are his double sided linked cuff links. On his wrist, a Parmigiani is seen peeking out. Prince Charles wears a pocket square displayed on his breast pocket, and a flower on the buttonaire on his lapel. Wearing both is not only correct but looks good. Though not visible in the photograph above, the pocket square matches the hue of the tie, but has a striped pattern while the tie is plain. Shoes are plain black balmorals. These are closed laced, and plain, and considered the most formal for day wear. And interestingly and unusually his coat sleeves feature a crease, perhaps a habit of his valet to iron the coat this way
What’s not right: Perhaps a nitpick, but his trousers are a bit on the long side, as we observe generous breaks in the front crease.
Next we look at David Beckham with Victoria.
What’s right: David Beckham is perfect in his attire. Oxford grey Morning suit, with a beautiful grey double breasted waistcoat. A watch chain hangs from the fob and presumably a pocket watch sits snug in the waistcoat pocket. He is not seen to be wearing a wristwatch. The trouser length is perfect, though the ultra thin drainpipe like trouser leg is rather more modern and rakish than tradition would dictate. Shoes are black wholecuts, perhaps in patent leather or just highly polished. Photographs are not clear as there is a reflection which suggest a high gloss finish. He wears a sleek white linen pocket square, barely peeking out of his breast pocket. Proper and good looking! Taking the cue from the Royals, Beckham dispensed with the top hat, which he wore to Prince William’s wedding.
What’s wrong: Nothing! Perhaps Victoria not smiling.
George Clooney in a lounge suit.
What’s right: Gorgeous Amal by his side.
What is not right: Practically everything else! George Clooney took the liberty to wear a lounge suit, which is considered as informal and too business like in the strictest traditional sense. And a Royal Wedding is certainly a place to apply this tradition. He also did the faus pas of a matching pocket square and tie. His shirt cuffs does not show under his coat sleeves. He is, of course wearing an Omega, where he is an Brand Ambassador. His trousers are way too long. Even the shoes are incorrect. Clooney wore black blutchers (aka Derbies) instead of Oxfords. Open laced shoes are considered informal.
We picked the easy ones. Royals are always proper. We have seen examples of Prince Charles and Emperor Akihito. And when they are not, as Royalty (especially the British) are the standard bearers, the norm itself changes to conform to Royal antics. We witnessed this with the Duke of Windsor, aka David, from the time when he was Prince of Wales, till when he became King and later Duke when he abdicated. He changed the face of gentleman’s wear from the very stiff formality of his father’s generation to the softer, more comfort oriented tailoring we know today. He favoured a belt on his trousers instead of braces. He preferred to be in a black tie for evening events as opposed to white tie.
And we made a scapegoat out of George Clooney. Handsome and debonaire as he is, he seems to be lost as to how to dress himself without the studio’s valet.