Most Kenyan men have never taken the groom’s dress code too seriously. I forget where I heard this, but there’s actually a saying in Kenya that goes something along the lines of, “the wedding is for the bride, you as the groom are merely a spectator.” I’ve often felt that rather than being true, this was more of an excuse for men hoping to get away with lack of effort on their end in terms of certain aspects of the wedding such as fashion. Women make such tremendous efforts with their style on their wedding days. A lady who’s never spent more than 5,000 Kenya shillings on her dresses before will save up kshs. 50,000 for her wedding gown. Then there’s the make-up artist, etc.. For most men out there, what he will wear is a complete afterthought. This post is not for those men. This post is for the man who likes to dress sharp and knows that his wedding day is no exception.
Since us men like simplicity, I’ll break it up this style guide into three simple jacket looks that anyone can remember and incorporate, as well as a single source of each style within the country. I will not go into the details of color matching and adding accessories. That’s an article for another day. Without further ado; a style guide for the fashion conscious Kenyan groom looking to make a big impression.
The suit, as seen in the look below by Nairobi grooms. This is the option most Kenyan men still like to wear mostly due to the fact that it’s safe, if not somewhat lazy. A prospective groom won’t have to think too much about what he’ll wear on the day. Simply slap on a suit he may or may not already own and we’re good to go. Below are a few advantages and disadvantages to the suit.
- Tend to be readily available. Suits can be purchased anywhere, either ready-made or custom. Suit shops and suit makers are a dime a dozen on all corners of Kenya.
- As I said, the prospective groom probably already owns one. And what better way to ease stress than to slap on a suit you already own and move on to other wedding arrangements. After all, most weddings are trying to cut costs not elevate them right?
- Can be worn later for business. Outside of the last option on this list, a suit is the ultimate saver in terms of utility. After being worn at the wedding, it can be worn at work on that very first Monday you return from your honeymoon.
- Tends to look very boring. Let’s face it, suits never really make that much of an impression, probably because they are so common and all over the place. And this post is for men looking to make a huge impression. An exception to this disadvantage is if you’re the type that never wears suits. It will then be a huge surprise for everyone to see you in a suit. The wedding pictures, however, will still look like everyone else’s. Just another man in a suit.
The Ivory jacket.
The ivory wedding jacket, as seen in the look below by Sao Sartorial. An option almost as common as a suit albeit a little more stylish. You’ve seen them, the white or ivory colored jackets that ordinarily come with black lapels. Below are a couple of advantages and disadvantages of the ivory jacket for the groom in Kenya;
- Can look quite stylish, at least with respect to the suit, depending on the fabric and craftsmanship used to make them.
- Tends to match the bride’s wedding dress in terms of color (either white or ivory).
- Can be custom made to your style and specifications.
- Just like a wedding gown, it’s unlikely to ever be worn again. There are just not a lot of occasions in which you can wear an ivory wedding jacket after the wedding day. Gala nights usually insist on black. If you attempt to wear it to a wedding as a guest, you run the risk of looking exactly like the groom. Date night? Not really. Sometimes, even a suit would look better than an ivory jacket on a date with your new wife.
- As a prospective groom, you’re unlikely to already own one. This means you’ll either have to buy or custom make one, which just adds to both the hassle and expense of what may already be a stressful planning process.
The statement jacket.
My personal favorite, the statement jacket as seen in the look below by King Sidney. I won’t lie, I have always been the type of man who liked to subtly stand out and look different, so I bought a statement jacket for my wedding a year ago. Now, I realize most men may not like to stand out, but if you’re part of the few that do, here are a few advantages and disadvantages I experienced first-hand from wearing my statement jacket.
- Statement jackets are extremely versatile. If you think about it, a statement jacket is simply a very nice, unique jacket, and those can be worn anywhere. They can be worn as a groom at your wedding, then as a wedding guest at your friend’s wedding in a few weeks’ time. They will have you looking great on date night. They can be used to impress your clients on days you are not required to wear a suit. They can be worn for literally every special occasion after your wedding day.
- Perhaps the one I should’ve started with but I didn’t, since men are more logical than they are emotional (or so we like to believe) they will have a huge impact on your new wife. Huge. You actually see her eyes light up. And that jacket was probably the only thing my mother in law has ever given me a compliment on. Statement jackets are real compliment pullers.
- You may encounter opposition from fans of tradition. Most families will prefer you to take the safe option and look like the grooms in most other weddings. Some brides as well will prefer the prospective groom plays it safe. So these are not for everyone.
- You cannot really custom make one because you may not possess the design and fabric experience to guide your tailor to come up with something stylish and not tacky (check out my upcoming article, the problem with custom- made) You’d have to buy one ready, which leads me to the next disadvantage.
- They tend to be quite expensive. A disadvantage often offset by their versatile nature, but still…
A great look on your wedding day as a groom can be a great way to start a marriage. Remember, once nakedness is covered in terms of basic fashion, the next level of style becomes about making a statement and portraying your personality with what you wear. And nothing makes a bigger statement to your new wife than making the effort to look good for her on her big day. Because lest you forget, inasmuch as everyone’s attention will be on the bride, her focus will always be on you.
Photo Credit : Nairobi Grooms, Sao Sartorial & King Sidney