Basically, morningwear is today’s formal wear (the three-piece suits you wouldn’t wear to work or to black-tie dos).
Most of us don’t need to wear morningwear very often – there are only so many grand weddings and race days one man can go to – so it makes sense to hire it as and when you need to. Plus, for weddings, there’s a good chance you’ll need to match your suit with others.
The obvious answer here is weddings, and only really if you’re one of the groomsmen. You might also need to wear morningwear for a day at the races, especially if you’re in an exclusive enclosure.
Some men prefer the more laidback look of three-quarter-length jackets for their weddings, while tails offer something more traditional and are generally what’s required by race-day dress codes.
Tails are pretty overdressed for Monday to Friday these days, but they used to be the standard outfit from sunrise until about 5pm when men would change into more formal eveningwear. Watch a clip of Downton Abbey and you’ll see what we mean.
So, it’s called morningwear simply because it was worn before the evening. As fashion relaxed over the years, tails became reserved for marking certain occasions.
Tails fit differently to lounge suits, so keep these pointers in mind to look your absolute best in the limelight.
To look traditional for the big day or to meet strict race-day dress codes, go for a tail suit with contrasting pinstripe or houndstooth trousers and a silk or wool waistcoat in a subdued colour. For weddings, coordinate your pocket square, tie and/or waistcoat with the bridesmaids for a complete wedding party look.
Colour-blocking your tails to your trousers is a more contemporary take on the look. Blue is a bold choice, while grey and navy feel modern but refined. A contrast waistcoat is a nice touch and pastel-hued double-breasted styles are enjoying a resurgence thanks to a certain Mr Beckham sporting one at the royal wedding and make for a very stylish extra flourish.
Book an appointment at your local store and have an expert help you a few options to try on.