Everything You Need To Know About Morning Dress

Everything You Need To Know About Morning Dress


From traditional morning coats and striped cashmere trousers to modern pieces in linen and cotton, Favourbrook is the brand to know for formal wear. Ahead of wedding season, they take us through their top tips for pulling off the look...

When it comes to morning dress, there are certain rules that can’t be broken, which actually makes choosing the perfect ensemble quite simple, as there’s less margin for error. Morning dress consists of the morning coat, which is typically cut in black wool, cashmere or cotton, and features a long sweeping tail that should finish at the back of the knees. Charcoal grey, and more recently navy morning coats, are sophisticated alternatives, but these are usually worn with matching trousers, whereas a traditional black morning coat should be worn with cashmere stripe trousers or contrast grey houndstooth or herringbones styles. The third element of morning dress is the waistcoat. Either single- or double-breasted is fine. Finally, the look is finished off with a trio of sartorial additions – those being the tie, pocket square and boutonnière. Shoes should be highly polished black Oxfords.

While the elements of morning dress are pretty straightforward, there are a number of considerations. Primary among them is the wedding venue and time of year. Morning dress is the most formal genre of menswear and is best suited to church weddings or those in grand venues. That said, there is absolutely nothing wrong with wearing morning dress for a less formal setting, as it will only help to elevate the sense of occasion. Time of year will almost certainly influence your choice of fabric. A heavier wool cloth will not be as temperature-friendly as a finer cashmere or a lightweight cotton for a summer wedding, but will be the perfect choice for cooler months. The bride’s dress shouldn’t affect your choice, but you do need to be careful about your choice of waistcoat, tie and pocket square to ensure you don’t clash. Muted pastel tones such as champagne, sky blue, sage green or dusty pink are great options.

We would suggest steering clear of matching accessories and opting for different neutral hues for your tie and pocket square to add a little contrast to the look.

Our most popular morning coat is the Black Windsor Herringbone style, which is cut from a beautiful, soft lightweight wool woven in Yorkshire. The single-button jacket features peak lapels with a flower loop buttonhole on the left lapel, and is lined with Favourbrook’s signature midnight paisley, with two inside breast pockets and a hidden pocket in the tails. It’s a slim silhouette, but with the correct alterations it will fit most body types perfectly. We want to ensure customers leave our store with as close to a bespoke fit as possible, so the measuring process is very important. We also craft our black morning coats in a cashmere wool and a Barathea wool. As sustainability is very important, we use fine recycled cashmere, with a subtle twill weave. Barathea wool has a hopsack twill weave which gives the cloth a very subtle ribbed finish. That extra textural element makes it the perfect choice for outdoor weddings when the natural light will better pick out the details in the fabric.

The waistcoat can add some individuality. Given that there isn’t much room for originality when it comes to the morning coat and trousers, this promotes the waistcoat into a rather eminent position. The groom has a little more artistic license here, but that’s not to say he can let loose.

Given that there isn’t much room for originality when it comes to the morning coat and trousers, this promotes the waistcoat into a rather eminent position.

Most people who have worn a waistcoat before will be aware of the etiquette element. First, the bottom button is always, always left undone on a single-breasted style. It sits better like this. The length should also be such that not a single glimpse of shirt or belt can be seen between waistcoat and trousers. A one-inch overlap should suffice but be mindful of the trousers you are wearing when getting fitted – it may be that the morning trousers you intend to wear sit lower on your hips than the trousers you wore during the fitting. Around the chest, the waistcoat should closely follow the contours of your torso. Of course, the strap at the rear can be used to tweak the fit, but it is not there to perform miracles. For a double-breasted waistcoat, whether or not to leave the bottom button undone as per the single-breasted waistcoat, is a more subjective choice. There is no right or wrong answer, just choose what feels and looks correct on you.

While matching your tie and waistcoat colour might seem like an obvious move, we would warn against it. Instead, contrast different pastel tones, so for example a sky-blue waistcoat with a champagne tie to bring depth to the look. Avoid obviously patterned ties, too – far better to introduce a subtle herringbone pattern or a plain silk style that has a slubby, textural finish.

Visit Favourbook’s flagship store at 16–17 Pall Mall in London. There is also a waistcoat boutique in the charming Piccadilly Arcade.

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