Style Guide – Morning Suits
Following on from last month’s Wedding Suits style guide, this month we are going into a bit more detail on Morning Suits. Whether you’re considering morning suits for your wedding or simply for a formal occasion, we have all the information you need to carry this outfit off with aplomb.
Morning Suits derive from the ‘Morning Coat’ which originated in the nineteenth century from the practice of gentlemen riding their horses in the morning. For this they wore a cutaway front, single breasted coat. The modern interpretation of morning dress was originally a more casual form of half dress, but as the nineteenth century progressed it became acceptable to wear it in more formal situations. In the Edwardian era its popularity surpassed that of the frock coat to become the standard daytime form of men’s full dress.
Morning dress is now rarely worn as anything other than formal wear, consisting mainly of a black morning coat, contrasting waistcoat, and striped trousers. Also known as ‘top hat and tails’, today’s morning dress is mainly worn at weddings and formal daytime events, especially at Royal or Court events such as Royal Ascot and Trooping the Colour. It may also be considered for funerals and memorial services.
As well as the traditional ensemble, men may also wear a more popular, contemporary variant where all parts (morning coat, waistcoat and trousers) are the same colour and material. Often grey and usually called ‘Morning Grey’ to distinguish it, this is only properly appropriate when worn at weddings and summer events. Morning suits with matching garments, especially lighter-toned fabrics, are considered slightly less formal.
Here’s our handy breakdown of the component parts;
Morning coat (the morning cut of a tailcoat) – always referred to as the morning jacket, it is commonly single breasted with one button, or very rarely two, and has peaked lapels.
Waistcoat – usually in a contrasting dove grey, pale yellow or light blue, if choosing the black coat option.
Trousers – a pair of formal striped trousers in shades of grey and black, in a variety of stripe widths and designs with dogstooth, another option we sometimes recommend.
Shirt – there are two options for a collar shape; the pointed or increasingly popular cut away. A turn down collar is the classic choice, worn with a tie, double cuffs and cufflinks.
Tie – we recommend a tie over the cravat option, as ties have a more contemporary feel.
Pocket Square – a plain or patterned silk handkerchief or pocket square may be worn; it is folded and inserted into the front breast pocket of the morning coat.
Shoes – a pair of highly polished black oxford shoes or dress boots.
Top Hat – grey or black, mainly worn at the races.
Gloves – lightweight, in grey or lemon.