Photo by Caitlin Abrams
A suit at Atmosfere in Minneapolis, Minnesota
When his son got married, local menswear retailer Dan Capetz suggested he skip the tux. For a little more than the price of a rental, Capetz—owner of Atmosfere—was able to put his son and groomsmen in more contemporary dark suits that they’d actually be able to wear after the wedding. One of those groomsmen did the same thing when he got married, and then another did too, and word started to spread. Eight years later, Atmosfere in Uptown outfits grooms and groomsmen for upwards of 100 weddings a year—with virtually no advertising.
Atmosfere’s success with “wedding” suits (guys do buy them for other occasions, too) follows an industry trend of men buying rather than renting—and, more often than not, buying versatile suits rather than tuxedos. “Five years ago, traditional tuxedos were definitely more popular. Now it’s all about individuality,” says Jason Hammerberg, CEO and founder of Hammer Made men’s stores in the Twin Cities.
The trend reflects men’s growing interest in fashion.
“Guys are looking for a nicer, cleaner, trim suit versus a boxy rental,” says Erick DeLeon, manager and buyer of North Loop’s upscale men’s store MartinPatrick 3.
Choosing a suit over a tux is not a display of dressing down, adds Hammerberg. “They’re doing it up—pocket square, special details. I actually see guys getting more involved. They don’t want to be left behind.”
Gray suits—from light to charcoal—are Hammer Made’s most popular wedding choice, with dark navy a close second, especially for winter weddings. Sometimes the groom will choose a slightly different shade to stand out from the groomsmen, but more often the entire wedding party gets outfitted in the same suit. To fit a wide range of sizes, consider a suit fabric that comes in both slim and classic cuts.
Atmosfere offers a wedding package: suit, shirt, and tie for about $250. “It’s really practical,” Capetz says. “For $100 more than a tux rental, you’ve got a nice suit you could wear to the office or other events.”
Macy’s house brand Bar III is also worth a look for slim-fit suit separates that won’t break the bank.
Hammer Made suits start at $550, yet Hammerberg says he sees grooms opting to pay for a detail on their groomsmen’s suits or the shirt and tie rather than a standard groomsmen gift.
And don’t forget the socks. Hammerberg suggests something unexpectedly colorful. “It becomes a fun shot for the guys,” Hammerberg says. “Showing off their socks.”