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Walking The Aisle In (InStitchu) Style: A Q&A With Co-Founder James Wakefield

27 July, 2022

The backlog of postponed weddings has triggered a frenzy in the world of nuptial-related businesses, with venues, hotels and suppliers of all kinds all enjoying a surge in demand. We sat down with our co-founder, James Wakefield, to chat about the wedding rush and why InStitchu is the perfect partner for your tailored wedding needs.

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Tell us about InStitchu and how the brand operates with wedding appointments?

We’re the leading custom tailors in Australia, looking after the tailoring needs of men and women for their wedding day. Everything we make is custom, made-to-measure, so when someone comes into one of our Showrooms, we take a range of measurements and help guide them through the whole process, from choosing a fabric to designing their suit - lapels, pockets to buttons, lining and more. Every wedding party is allocated a specialist Wedding Stylist - it’s their job to guide you through the whole process without stress or confusion, make it a lot of fun and provide you with a look that’s perfect for the occasion.

The great thing about our value proposition is there aren’t really any limits to what you want to do and how bold you want to go. You feel like going for broke with a wide sweeping peak lapel on a purple velvet dinner jacket? No problem. A timeless classic black tuxedo with satin lapels? Done. A navy suit that you can get lots of wear out of after the wedding? Perfect - and you can add a few details to make it feel a little special, like monogramming the date of the wedding on the inside of the blazer or using slightly more relaxed details like patch pockets or side adjusters. Your garment, or garments, are completely customised to your taste and needs, meaning it’s a unique reflection of your personality and your wedding. There’s a world of opportunity for design. And because it’s all made to measure, everything will fit perfectly and need no tailoring on the other side - it’s all included in our service, from first appointment to final fitting.

Our philosophy is to make sure that whoever walks into an InStitchu showroom for a wedding appointment or otherwise - they leave feeling and looking the best they can, immersing themselves in an old world tailoring experience. It’s fun and it’s completely different to walking into an ordinary shop and buying a suit off the rack - at InStitchu you’ll meet with a Stylist, talk strategies and ideas, and get designing, enjoying a whisky or a beer or wine with your wedding party.

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What about difficult wedding parties? All sizes and shapes? And different locations?

Because everything we make is made-to-measure, there’s no issues around sizing. In fact, that’s what we do best - unlike an off the rack brand, where there’s going to be a lot of difficulty finding the right style garments for different body types and then getting them tailored, we make everything from scratch to perfectly fit everybody. When it comes to annoying locations - there’s always a groomsman or someone from Singapore or London or a different Australian city who makes it difficult - they can drop by their local Showroom to get measured up separately, follow our online measuring guide, or even do a virtual appointment, where a Stylist will take them through their measurements.

How does someone work out their personal style when it comes to a wedding suit? 

Our Stylists work with the client to understand their body type, personality and needs, to help create a garment that will fit with the occasion, represent their sense of style and feel comfortable. Remember that we’re doing hundreds of weddings a month - we’ve seen it all, heard every type of request, and we know the ins and outs of bringing a wedding to life in a way that is both personal but timeless. Our Stylist is really your tour guide through the process - they’ve designed for all types of weddings and they understand the perfect balance of personal style and timeless tailoring, as well as how it will fit into the wider wedding style. It’s all about having a conversation and laying your cards on the table, when it comes to the things you like and how you picture yourself looking on the big day. The Stylist will counter your thoughts with advice and insight, and you can ignore that as much as you like.

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How bold should you go on your wedding day?

Because a wedding is such an important day, we always suggest that a safe bet is bringing your personality to life through details rather than bold statements - monogramming your wedding date on the inside of the blazer, a fun lining, side tabs on your trousers, patch pockets instead of flap pockets. These are the things that make a custom suit shine without overdoing it. 

Having said that, when you're working with beautiful fabrics and perfect made to measure fit, there's a world of opportunity to go a little more aggressive with your personal look if that’s what you want. In the last month we've done some incredibly vibrant wedding suits - silk double-breasted numbers, velvet tuxedos, pastel linen suits for a beach wedding. If you've got the appetite for something different, our limitless fabrics and customisation options mean you can do it in a timeless and stylish way. Just be sure to think about it in a holistic sense - making sure the colours and formality for the wedding work in cohesion. You don’t want to be wearing casual linen while the rest of the wedding is dressed formally, or wearing red velvet jackets if the bridesmaids are in green.

What personal touches with accessories can we add to our attire to make it our own?

It really begins with your suit - if your suit is bold, a bright colour or unusual fabric, you want accessories to be really classic and refined. If the suit is more simple and timeless, a navy two-button wool suit for example, you can have some more fun with accessories - gold cufflinks, a colourful pocketsquare, some bright loafers. But our guiding advice is - don’t go overboard with accessories. They can date very quickly - far quicker than the slow moving wheels of classic tailoring - and it’s not in anyone’s interest to look silly in ten years time when the wedding photos are on your mantle above the fireplace. Think about your high school formal photos - how have those bright, shiny ties so many of us wore lasted the test of time?

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How much does the location and season dictate suiting and attire?

It definitely helps to dictate the style of clothes, for sure - for example is it a beach ceremony? Formal? Rural? There are some all-round staples - a beautiful navy wool two-button will go with everything, from white sand to a ballroom. And a black tuxedo, which has specific details like satin lapels and should really be worn with a bow tie, will always look appropriate for a wedding, as well as being timeless. Trends in tuxedos so rarely change, it'll be your go-to black tie outfit for the next decade. 

If it’s a really seasonal event or specific theme, and you want to put a unique spin on your look, there's a great opportunity to play with occasion-specific garments - linen or cotton for summer, because it’s lightweight and relaxed, and for winter or a farm setting wedding, you might want to have some fun with a heavier, more textured fabrics, like a flannel or tweed. Don’t forget to think of the functionality of the fabric - you don’t want to be shivering in the middle of winter because you were desperate to wear linen, and you don’t want to be sweating because you pictured yourself in Peaky Blinders tweed despite the fact you’re getting married in humid Asia or Queensland.

In terms of colour and pattern - that's a personal decision, based on the other colours in the wedding party, how stand-out or classic you want your groom and wedding party to be. Neutral colours like navy, grey, cream, white - they're safe bets, because they're timeless, so your wedding photos will always look great.

What are the key considerations to consider when you’re buying a suit for your wedding?

Fit is paramount, but if you’re shopping with us that’s not a problem - because everything is made to measure and covered by our Perfect Fit Guarantee. The style of the wedding - in terms of the formality and themes - is the next thing. Picking a fabric and a style of suit that’s cohesive and works with the overall look is essential, and something your Stylist can guide you through if you’ve got worries or concerns. Lastly, it’s about comfort - picking fabrics with the right movement for the dancefloor, and choosing something that feels like you and your style, is key to feeling your best on your big day. In the end, some people just don’t feel right or comfortable in a really formal tuxedo - it would be silly to go down that path because you feel like you have to.

I hate wearing suits. What can I wear?

I’d start by saying that it’s entirely possible you just haven’t had access to the right fitting suit - because when a suit is made to measure from a high quality fabric, it’s just about the most comfortable, flattering garment in the world. If it’s wool that is the issue, more casual fabrics might be an option - linen and cotton are popular, particularly for summer or relaxed weddings, or blends that bring out the best of both worlds. 

In saying that, especially since the pandemic and how drastically expectations around formality have changed, with people working from home and wanting garments that can take you from the office to the pub or drinks afterward, smart casual is more popular than ever. Deconstructed jackets, using the same beautiful fabrics as suits, but without the formal lining and structure of a suit, is your go-to garment in this space - pair with mismatched tailored trousers or a pair of chinos and you’re set. 

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Can you give us some ideas of unique and unusual wedding attire combinations you’ve seen and worked with? 

We get all sorts of requests! In the last month alone, on top of hundreds of classic navy and cream and black suits in wool and linen and blends, we’ve done a green velvet wedding party, an orange silk double-breasted wedding party, a bright red linen wedding party, and even a wedding party who wore morning coats - about as formal as you can go, like the tails and top hats of British race days. We have thousands of fabrics and design options so the sky is really the limit when it comes to doing things bolder.

To explore our range of luxury and premium fabrics, book in for an appointment at one of our Showrooms, or request a free fabric book of some of your favourites - we’ll send them directly to you! Or if you want to try your hand at designing your own, head to our design page

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