You have the ring and you’ve probably set the date. You’ve got the venue and your dress… but have you thought about what the groom is going to wear? Today, on Wedding Secrets Unveiled!, we’re going to talk with Jeanne Foley, who is the co-founder of SuitShop. We’re going to break down the differences between renting and buying a suit, as well as the differences between suits, tuxes and so much more. Jeanne will help us figure out what to consider when choosing your suit vendor and discuss trends they’re seeing. Let’s dive into this discussion all about simplifying your suiting experience during wedding planning!
I’m the co-founder of SuitShop. SuitShop is a direct to consumer company that offers our own brand of high quality suits and tuxedos for men, women and kids for less than the cost of rentals. We offer great services like wedding group coordination, free fabric swatches, and at home try on, as well as free exchanges and returns on orders. Our job is about making the process of finding a great fitting suit stress-free, no matter how big your wedding day is.
Amazing! How did you even get going with this business?
Well, I actually went through my own experience planning my own wedding in 2013 and getting 9 groomsmen wrangled into tuxedos for a New Year’s Eve wedding day. That’s when I realized the process just wasn’t great. Honestly, I handed it off to my fiance because I had 8 million things to do so he went to the big box store for rentals. The day of the wedding came and it was pretty disappointing to see nine handsome guys lined up in suits that didn’t fit at all. After realizing how much they paid, the rental and return fees, and so much more… it occurred to me that we had gone the wrong route for that part of the wedding. But, after digging around, I realized there really wasn’t an alternative. So that’s where the idea for SuitShop came from. We really want to be able to offer something better for guys for the wedding day.
That actually leads right into our next question. Suit shopping is usually something brides hand off to their grooms during planning. What can you tell brides to help them feel more comfortable about that part of the planning process?
Suit shopping and rentals can be one of those things that feels easy to hand off. But you also want to have transparency and visibility about your orders, especially these days with supply issues. We get it: you’re wondering if they’ll arrive in time, if they’ll fit right, and if everyone is going to look good. So, one of the things you can do when looking for a suit vendor is to find someone who will provide those updates without you having to reach out to everyone in your party for answers. It brings you peace of mind. That’s something that has always been important to us, so we have a portal that couples can sign into and check the status of their orders at any time.
That’s such a great feature. Speaking of supply chain issues, what are you seeing right now for turnaround times? What should the ordering timeline be for our listeners?
Great question. The timelines are getting longer and longer. We typically recommend at least three months in advance, but I can tell you, industry wise, it’s up to six months. Some brands even say up to a year. So, it is important to plan ahead. Suits can become somewhat of an afterthought and one of the last things couples check off their list. But, the sooner you can figure out your style, color, and vendor, the better. Every vendor truly does have their own timeline, and while we try to pad inventory, there’s still a chance it won’t be enough. If you want peace of mind when planning your wedding, the more lead time… the better.
I have a question for many couples: the rent or buy debate! What is your experience and advice for couples planning their wedding when it comes to that debate?
A lot of couples do start with that discussion and we hear it a lot at SuitSupply. All of our suits are meant to be purchased, not rented. So, when couples come in asking about it, we understand – it’s all about budget and being fair to your wedding party. Traditionally, buying a suit is more expensive, so you want to be reasonable. And it was typically more affordable to rent. But here’s the thing, there’s downsides to renting.
You have to remember those suits are used a lot – and you never know exactly what condition they’ll be in when you rent them. Not only that, but even if you do go in and place your order 6 months before the wedding, they still won’t arrive until a few weeks before and you’re scrambling to make sure everything fits right. If not, you have to hope the alteration comes back quickly enough… and you can’t even really permanently alter a rental, so it’s not all that great in the end. Not to mention, you have extensive fees if you don’t return it “on time” which is basically right after the wedding. The whole process is very daunting.
Alternatively, the purchase alternative was just plain expensive for a long time. To buy from those big box stores adds up and not everyone in a wedding party can afford to do that. This is a huge reason we decided to design our own brand. It’s about quality and fit, not a designer’s name. Because of that, we can offer a purchase for a fraction of the cost of a huge retail chain. It doesn’t even become a debate of purchase or rent anymore. When you can purchase a higher quality suit for a decent price that you can keep and wear again, it’s really a no brainer.
Can we discuss the differences between suits and tuxes? How do couples know which is right for their day?
Of course! This is probably the second most popular question we get: what’s the difference between a tux and a suit? Really, the simple answer is that a tux is really more formal. Tuxedos also have satin details that suits typically don’t and they require a specific tuxedo shirt. You may often find these days that bow ties or regular ties are acceptable for the tuxedo look too. Traditionally, men wear patent leather shoes with them too. So it’s really intended for black tie events or black tie optional. If that’s the route you’re going for, and you want that atmosphere to be really fancy, then a tuxedo is the way to do that.
A suit is more versatile. If you’re not planning an over-the-top formal event and you want to give your guys something a bit more wearable, then a suit will work for you. Most of your wedding party will probably have a shirt they can use – and shoes too – which makes it more affordable.
When it comes to choosing which to wear for your wedding, our team always asks about the style and feel of the wedding so we can guide you to the right thing for your groomsmen!
What are some key considerations when they’re looking for the right suit vendor?
There are so many considerations to make based on your unique situation. But, first and foremost: consider location. Where are you located and where are your bridal party members located? It’s important to understand how your vendor is able to serve everyone, despite where they are. Another important thing is size and fit. We all know that looking great in a suit comes down to the actual fit. So understanding the range of sizes you have in your group is important (we often hear about a super tall groomsman and making sure that he has a good fit too!). Find a vendor with a wide range of sizes for everyone.
You also really need to consider your price range. This might be the most important one to think about and ask your group. Think about where they are in life and how they’ll react to a price point when asked to purchase or rent a suit. You also need to consider timing so that you place your order at the best time possible.
I would actually think that that is even more true now than before with supply chain issues!
Absolutely. So that’s the other thing to ask the companies about – their inventory, delays, and supply chains. Make sure you know they’d notify you in the event of a delay or if something was unavailable. Vendors should be open and honest about it all. If they aren’t, then it’s going to be a bad experience for everyone.
I love it. Let’s talk about trends you’re seeing right now!
Yes! The trends are getting more and more fun with suiting. We’re seeing a lot of jewel tones because more couples are being adventurous with their style for the big day. Everyone wants something unique and it’s really great! Guys are taking a lot more of an interest in their groomsmen’s style and we’re seeing more variety in the looks being created. There’s less matching and less traditional looks happening. This provides so much variety in your portraits and allows our couples to truly bring their personalities to their big day.
When we first started, we had only 7 styles. Now, we’ve grown our line and even developed a women’s line because we had women reaching out and saying they didn’t want a dress – they wanted a suit. We used to fit them with the men’s styles but that wasn’t the best option. So, we expanded. No matter who you have in your group, you want to have something that will make everybody happy and fit their unique style. The last thing you want to do is ask someone to wear something that they just don’t feel good in or it doesn’t match who they are. We’re definitely getting a lot of requests to match suit colors to bridesmaid dresses as we see more bridesmen and it’s one of my favorite things to see!
In the past, there just weren’t these options. So, I just love that vendors are thinking and becoming more inclusive about options. And, I love that couples are seeking those options! These requests help us design more unique options for wedding days and that’s the best part.
With all these requests, are you seeing any colors come up a lot?
We’re actually launching new colors right now. We’ll be offering a hunter green, burgundy, a deep teal and burnt orange really soon! We’ve gotten a ton of requests for these colors – and we offer free swatches so that couples can really see and feel everything as well! The green will likely become more popular for weddings in general, but right now any shade of blue is the one we can’t keep in stock. They just keep flying out of the shop!
Can you tell us anything about pricing for suits and tuxes?
Absolutely! We’ve found that the average customer spends between $200-$250 for rental. Obviously, rentals have dominated the market for a while, so keep that in mind. Our price point starts at $194. All of those colors I mentioned will start at $224 because they’re more than our average collection, but they’re still an incredible value and quality. We often get asked if the quality can really be that good with a low price point – and that’s why we began to offer the free at home try on. Let us put our money where our mouth is! It’s worked and our couples have realized you CAN buy a quality suit for less than a rental!
Do you have any incentives or programs for our listeners?
Yes! We partner with a lot of wedding professionals, so if they’re listening – head to our site and sign up for our Insider Program! You’ll receive perks, discounts, and more that you won’t get from us anywhere else. You can then pass along those benefits to your couples!! So if you’re listening and you’re getting married, ask your vendors to sign up and give you those discounts.
What are some key points that a couple should be asking themselves when it comes to their suit attire for their big day?
Should you rent or buy? Look at price points and logistics to make that decision.
Do you want a suit or tux? Remember, this comes down to the feel of your day and the ability (or not) to re-wear your attire.
What are their turnaround times, communication style, and policies like?
Chat with your suit vendor and make sure you have all of your questions answered before you decide to go with them.
What We Discussed
How SuitShop was founded (3:28)
How to feel comfortable handing off suit shopping (5:43)
Timelines for ordering suits (8:02)
Should you rent or buy? (10:08)
Difference between suits and tuxes (15:54)
How to find the right suit vendor (22:48)
Current trends in suiting (28:36)
Wrap-Up Question: What to think about when choosing suits (38:36)
Links Mentioned in the Episode
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