A twist on the tuxedo for gay grooms (and other gender-queer warriors)

Photo by Amanda Photographic.
Photo by Amanda Photographic
I'm helping my gay friend get married to the man of his dreams. My friend decided that he didn't want to go with a typical wedding tuxedo for either him or his partner, and neither one of them would look good in a dress. They definitely want some femininity in their wedding, but not an overdose of it. I was thinking of combining a tux with a dress, but I'm not sure how that would be done. Help? -Lisa

Lisa, congratulations to your friend and his fiance! I am not a gay groom (and therefore don't have any first-person experience to share), but I'm always down to talk fashion, so let's brainstorm a couple ways your friend and his partner could put a twist on their tuxedos.

That said, I'm going to broaden my focus a bit. Since I don't know your friends personally, I'm just going to focus on outfits that have worked for those playing with gender from all directions — from gay grooms, to gender-queer brides, to slightly femmey but totally straight grooms, etc. Also, before diving in, you might want to review our post on tuxedo-alternatives.

Ok, NOW! On to the ideas!

Groom with Bouquet
Photo by Danielle Chasteen

White tuxedo + groom bouquet

If the traditional wedding visual is a groom in a black tux and a bride in a white dress, imagine a groom in a gleaming white tuxedo. Yes, it's still a tux (arguably the ultimate in men's formal wear), but the bridal white gives a very clear indication that something's a bit different here. Your friend could take things to the next level by carrying a bouquet — I love the idea of contrasting a masculine tailored suit with the traditionally-feminine bridal bouquet. If you wanted to take the twist even further, you could go for custom tuxedos with lace edging, buttons down the back, and long train-like tails. The sky's the limit when you get into custom work!

Corset

Random dancing
It's a tux, but with a little cinch in the middle
If your friend wants to veer into full-on genderqueer territory, he could take a little inspiration from one of my favorite genderqueer wedding outfits EVER: Kimberly's truly inspired tuxedo-with-corset look. Personally, I think this is the ultimate for gender-queer women who don't want to wear a dress — I feel like I could write a dissertation about the layers of metaphor and symbolism in a corset-with-tuxedo.

For men who wanted to go this route, Starkers CorsetryThey ♥ OBB; we ♥ them does custom corsets for men that are stunning — you can see a couple very theatrical examples here, but I'd imagine Dianna DiNoble could make groom's corsets that are just as sophisticated and formal as her bridal corsets. A colorful corset subtly peeking out from the bottom of a tux could add a stunning silhouette anyone's figure.

Kilt

DSC_6274 (2)
Rock it however you like.

Of course there's nothing feminine about a kilt, but they can be a relatively traditional way to deviate from the suit/tux standard … and they can be as cheeky as the wearer desires. We've seen lesbians in kilts, gay men in kilts, and of course lots and lots of straight dudes of all sorts wearing them.

Really, I love kilts as a tux-alternative for any and all grooms. Of course there are more traditional Scottish kilts, but we've seen a lot of wonderfully offbeat takes on ye olde kilt too — from punk to hippie — all the way to a kilt with a tail.

As with the white tux concept, if you get into custom kilts, things could get really, REALLY amazing. White kilts? Goth kilts? Steampunk kilts? Lace kilts? Dream big!

Something even dreamier/schemier

19. Brides's Entourage
Photo by Patrick Schmitt

Does your friend and/or his partner have any cultural background that might flavor their attire, like the coordinated Achkan-style outfits worn by both Jeff & Talha and Glen & Chitpol?

If not, it's time to start brainstorming. When you say your friend wants something a little femmey, how far would he go? Would he consider a little guyliner or shoes with a slight heel? What if he went relatively traditional, but with a mini top hat with a veil? Or would he want to go glammy-queer Cockettes-style gender-fuck with a smartly tailored suit and buckets of glitter in his beard? SO MANY OPTIONS!

Any ideas from the peanut gallery? I'd especially love to hear some first-person perspectives on gender-queer formalwear! In related news, I wish the Genderplayful Marketplace would HURRY UP!!

  1. I love the corset idea. I think this all depends on how formal your "formalwear" is going to be, and what works with the couple in question. A corset over a fitted shirt and tie, with bootlegged tux pants would be majorly cute for a gothier look, or a long cyberish skirt and funky top (a la Billy Corgan, like here: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_sc3FqqisRG4/Slb9WG1OgPI/AAAAAAAAAgM/2qt6gawleAU/s320/SP+028.jpg) would be cool and super modern.

    A gender-queer friend of mine wore a tux shirt, coat w/ tails and bow tie, paried with a long, billowing black tutu to his university allumni dinner a few months back. I wish I had pics to share! But he looked amazing, and all his colleagues loved it.

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  2. Can I just say that all of these ideas are freaking amazing? As someone who's genderqueer and has always felt like I have to go one way – have to wear a dress or a tux, all of these examples are pretty epic.

    Love the tux and corset. Love the KILTS. Love the " custom tuxedos with lace edging, buttons down the back, and long train-like tails".

    5 agree
  3. I was at a two-groom wedding last year where one groom wore a traditional black suit, and the other was 6 feet 4 inches of glamour in a cream suit, 2" heels, and a loooooong white lace train. (They got more casual at the reception by removing the suit jackets — one had a dress shirt, vest, and bow tie, and the other had a beachy linen untucked button-down shirt.)

    http://a7.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash1/180478_1494130007204_1652693618_994036_496887_n.jpg

    http://a4.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash1/180521_1494110886726_1652693618_993973_5260238_n.jpg

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    • OMG! That outfit is freaking amazing!

      If a guy weren't so keen on a head piece he could do a lace or satin bridal-esque cloak to make the train….

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      • PlanningAhead do you have another link to pics of your friend in the suit with a train. I wanna do that and am brainstorming ideas :-)

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    • That outfit is AMAZING!

      If your friend wants a train, I second Ariel's suggestion of a long train on a white tux.

      One suggestion that I'd like to add is ruffled shirts. There are many styles of ruffled shirts for both men and women that would add a little bit of softness (or a lot).

      1 agrees
    • I would love to see this couple/wedding profiled on OBB!!!

      3 agree
  4. I frequently ask myself why I'm not marrying a gay man and in fact why I myself am not a gay man cause really I have an inner drag queen who spends a whole lot of time being an outer drag queen. That said, Don Johnson type ice cream colored suits work very well or the groom disinterested in tuxes or gowns. My bruv pulled the look off to perfection in an off white suit, linen trousers and a light blue aloha shirt underneath.

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  5. Through the 19th century it was common and fashionable for gentlemen to wear corsets. I think it's an interesting touch for people going for a steampunk or historical theme in addition to gender queer folk.

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  6. My FH isn't gay, but I'm still trying to talk him into a shalwar kameez. He hates formal wear.

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  7. Someone persuade Jeff and Talha to submit their wedding to the site, because the fashions? To quote Ariel, I DIE! I looked at the photos and drooled. The attendants' dresses are almost as gorgeous as the groomswear. And there's a sari!

    3 agree
  8. Awww, I love that this content exists here. My partner is a mostly straight guy who is pretty genderqueer, so this is stuff we talk about a lot. I *love* that you plug the genderplayful marketplace though, as said partner is currently doing some programming work for them. :)

    3 agree
  9. my groom wore leather pants and a pirate-style blouse for our wedding – and that was in 1984! who knows what he'll wear for our renewal ceremony.
    the important thing is to wear what you will feel good in with everyone looking at you and taking photos all day, so wear what you love.

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  10. Thank you so much! I love these ideas :) I have a pretty good idea of what I'll talk to them about, and hopefully they'll decide on something soon!

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  11. A couple more ideas:

    1. A kimono, or something similar? Traditionally, there are men's kimonos, but they look kind of feminine to a Western eye.

    2. I tried to find a picture of this but failed – an RSC production of A Midsummer Night's Dream I saw had the characters of Oberon and Theseus in beautiful silk dress coats with really long trains. Oberon in particular was played as a totally queer, playful character. The actor playing him had feathers in his hair as well. There was a film version released, so there must be pictures somewhere.

    1 agrees
  12. Try looking to the 18th century for inspiration. Back then, manly men wore makeup and high heels, frilly coats in bright colours, and one of the manliest thing you could do was to cry in public.

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    • This, absolutely. I've spent a good bit of time working in an 18th century house as a tour guide and we get dressed up for big events every year – there is nothing so spectacular as guys in knee-length brocade coats, long hair tied back with matching ribbons, and matching brocade knickerbockers. Pity only half of them would let me do their make-up…

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  13. I think it might be good to keep in mind that femininity doesn't have to mean a specific style of clothing. After all, a woman in a pants suit can still look completely feminine. You could think along the lines of a soft color scheme, incorporating flowers (Indian grooms wear lots of flowers), or something similar. I LOVE the pictures of grooms in different cultural clothing, with coordinating color schemes. Those are my favorites. :)

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  14. My beautiful androgynous boy went with a gothic lolita "prince style" jacket. Long and ruffly with shiny buttons and a built-in faux vest:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/plymouths/6398327755/in/set-72157628142086899

    Gothic lolita may sound like it's just for girls but it's totally not! I found lots of what they call "prince style" clothes that are made in both men's and women's versions.
    This is the site I bought his jacket from: http://www.fanplusfriend.com/servlet/the-EGA-for-Man/Categories (198 things in the category "EGA for Man"! Ok, so not all of them are wedding appropriate, but lots are!)

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  15. This is just my two cents, but what about double breasted military style jackets?
    A la –

    http://www.style.com/slideshows/mens/fashionshows/F2010MEN/BURBERRY/RUNWAY/00380m.jpg

    Or, you could femme it up a bit by going with something like this:

    http://www.ustrendy.com/prodimg/30553/1/315×430/30553_1_olga-001.jpg

    Or, add bling –

    http://www.instablogsimages.com/images/2009/05/07/balmain-crystal-embellished-jacket_vbEm2_48.jpg

    Then, perhaps a buccaneer-style cream colored shirt underneath, for when they get tired of the coats.

    All the best to you and your friends!!!

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  16. I had a huge post typed up but the tab refreshed itself and it disappeared so this'll be more short and to the point than I was planning. T_T

    I recommend Something based on the Aristocrat, Kodana (Prince style), or Dandy looks. Aristocrat should be fairly self explanatory; aristocratic, victorian, elegant. Kodana and Dandy are similar styles based on the aesthetics of a romanticised young victorian boy.
    I rediscovered this brand while looking for links for this post. Atelier Boz has lots of drool worthy outfits for your guys (they even have some dresses especially for men!). :
    http://www.boz.ne.jp/product/new/boz/list.html
    Some pretty shirts from Atelier Pierrot:
    http://atelier-pierrot.shop-pro.jp/?mode=cate&cbid=528906&csid=0
    A brand called Moi-meme-Moitie created by a crossdressing Japanese musician called Mana (he's the one on the front page; doesn't he look great in lolita dresses? -///-) has two different labels called EGA and EGL. The first is the one you'd be interested in as it stands for elegant gothic aristocrat. His stuff is really rather androgynous and beautiful. His other line is Lolita clothing, specifically the gothic genre. Equally as beautiful but not what you're looking for. Link:
    http://moi-meme-moitie.shop-pro.jp/

    Another brand that usually specializes in lolita clothing (mostly sweet genre with some classic and a bit of gothic) is Baby the Stars Shine Bright. They have a special label called Alice and the Pirates and it specializes in things with a sort of punk, goth, pirate, victorian, aristocrat style. More beautiful androgynous and elegant clothing~
    Coats/jackets/vests: http://www.babyssb.co.jp/shopping/ap/jacket.html
    Tops: http://www.babyssb.co.jp/shopping/ap/blouse.html
    and some headdresses and hats: http://www.babyssb.co.jp/shopping/ap/head.html

    I was trying to think of some other brands and remembered h.NAOTO. There are quite a few labels under the umbrella of h.NAOTO each with their own special take on the punk style. Here are links to the ones that have things that looked like they could work:
    h.Naoto – NAOTO SEVEN/DARK RED RUM/h.NAOTO Blood: http://kincs.ws/e-shop/app?page=VSCategoryTop&service=external&sp=l9&sp=Strue
    GRAMM: http://kincs.ws/e-shop/app?page=VSCategoryTop&service=external&sp=l24&sp=Strue
    Sixh. MINT: http://kincs.ws/e-shop/app?page=VSCategoryTop&service=external&sp=l25&sp=Strue
    Kikyou (in the sale listings though): http://kincs.ws/e-shop/app?component=psproductList.productItem.productLink&page=VSCategoryTop&service=direct&session=T&sp=l35763&sp=5

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