3 Tips to Buy a Suit for Your Queer AF Wedding

You know what I love? A good suit. Maybe that’s news. My business is, after all, called Curvy Custom Bride and, unfortunately, our gendered world assumes that if you’re a bride, you’re wearing a dress. But I’m here to tell you three things when it comes to wedding clothes:

  1. Not all brides wear dresses.
  2. Not all weddings have brides.
  3. Good suits are for everybody and every body.

Including me. Yes, that’s right. I’m wearing a suit at my own wedding in January 2021. Shhh — don’t tell anyone. But rather than wax poetic about this absolutely amazing floral jacquard fabric that I found for my wedding outfit, I want to tell you what you need to know before buying your wedding suit. 

I especially want to offer my professional advice to my queer fam. That includes all of my Trans and Enby  readers out there. Hello! I can’t wait to help you shine on your wedding day.

So let’s get started. These are my three pieces of advice when buying a suit for your wedding.

1. Don’t let anyone tell you that “You can’t wear a suit because…”

Curvy Custom Bride serves all bodies, genders, and expressions. As much as I wish that was the norm in my industry, I know it’s not. That means there’s a good chance that you may very well encounter a wedding clothes retailer who tells you that you can’t do X because of Y. You already know this, of course; unfortunately, you’ve probably had that very scenario already happen a lot in the course of your life.

Well, when it comes to wedding clothes, consider this your official stamp of approval from a professional fashion designer to tell that retailer, “You’re wrong.” (I want to say something much more R rated than that but I’m keeping it clean for the kids.)

Please know that you are not weird or strange or “unconventional” for choosing clothes that may not look like a magazine cover (unless we’re talking about Dancing with Her) but sure as hell feel more like you. You deserve nothing less, and I’m sorry that we live in a world where the go-to place for suits has the word “Men’s” in the name. Wearing a good suit isn’t just “a guy thing.” It’s for everyone and that includes you.

2. There’s no professional reason why designers need to say “bust.”

If you’ve ever measured yourself (or seen an episode of “Project Runway”), you know that the “standard” measurements for most basic women’s clothing are bust, waist, and hip. Well, guess what? Not every person who identifies as a womxn has a bust. That’s why I use chest, waist, and hip.

My wish is that whomever is making your suit does this, too, but if they don’t, I encourage you to tell them that they should. I realize this puts the work on you. I also want you to feel empowered to tell everyone you meet what makes YOU feel seen, even if that “everyone” is a professional fashion designer.

This same reasoning is why I never assume the gender of anyone’s partner. If you meet me and tell me that you’re in a relationship, you’ll notice that I say “they” in reference to your partner until I’m told otherwise. Honestly, I didn’t even know that I did this until a client of mine told me, “I realized that I never told you that my partner uses he/him pronouns and that you didn’t assume that he did. I love that.”

Long story short: You deserve to be fully seen by anyone whom you hire for your wedding. That’s especially true when that anyone is the person creating a piece of clothing for your unique and special body. 

3. A suit is going to sound more expensive than it is no matter who you are.

My pricing for two-piece suits usually starts in the $1,200 range. A lot of people see that number and do a double-take. I get it but there’s a reason why this custom piece of clothing is going to cost more than many options readily available on the internet. 

One of those reasons is that this is not fast fashion. I go into the term more here but, in a nutshell, that $250 suit online is a lot cheaper but it’s not necessarily for the reason you think. I promise you: Somebody is paying the difference, and knowing what we know about the fashion industry, that person is probably paying with their health, their sanity, or, heaven forbid, their life.

Does that mean you can now suddenly afford a custom suit? I wish the world worked that way but sadly, it doesn’t. I know many people who want to do one thing but capitalism keeps them from doing it. No shame! Instead, I ask you to consider why you’re buying this suit in the first place. 

My hunch is you’re buying it to wear both on your wedding day but also for a long time after that. Maybe the next 10, 20, or 30 years? While another suit may be cheaper upfront, I know from experience that it’s going to be made from less expensive material using less expensive methods and that, unfortunately, often means less time that it’ll hold up. I, however, make my work to last. That’s why my custom suits cost what they do.

Also consider alterations. Very often, a person will buy a $200 or $300 suit thinking they’ve done it. They have bought their clothes to wear at their wedding only to surprise! Find the darn thing doesn’t fit right. 

That leads to alterations that can easily cost as much as the suit. By that point, we’re talking $600 or $700 invested in something that’s going to last half as long as if we’d started from scratch. (By the way, this same scenario happens with wedding dresses, too.)

Is it a lot of money? Yes, it can be. It can also be a very wise investment.
Ready to suit up? Let’s talk.

Wedding Dress Alterations: What You Need to Know

Let me tell you a story about wedding dress alterations. 

Recently, a bride brought me her dress. She’d bought it at a boutique and parts of the dress were several sizes too big. To make it fit, I took in the bodice which made the front straps move really far to the side which made the back become wide which meant I needed to cut down where the strap came out of the fabric so that it didn’t cut the bride off at the armpit.

I call this type of course correcting the domino effect of wedding dress alterations, and it’s not an usual situation for a bride who buys a pre-made dress (so, you know, most brides). Unfortunately, the domino effect happens a lot even though ? we don’t talk about it.

Why don’t we talk about this?

We don’t talk about how much labor wedding dress alterations take for two reasons. 

The first reason is that often, the people at the boutique or online store where a bride buys her dress sincerely don’t know how much or how little will be needed to alter the dress. That’s understandable. The person who sells you a wedding dress isn’t often a trained seamstress or designer. 

The second reason is a lot more gross: We don’t talk about how much labor alterations take because if we did, there’s a good chance you wouldn’t buy the dress to begin with. What seems like a good deal off the rack looks much less attractive after you tack on the $800, $1,200, $2,000 worth of alterations the dress will need to fit. 

These numbers aren’t bloated, by the way. Those are actual figures and the reason they’re so high is because they capture the hours of labor that go into altering a dress. 

What’s a bride to do?

The most important thing is to be informed. If possible, get an estimate for alterations before you buy your wedding dress or, if that’s not an option, get an estimate within the timeframe you may have on returning the dress. 

Another option is to make a dress from scratch. It’s easy to assume that ordering a custom dress will naturally be more expensive but, in my experience, it often isn’t. 

This is because there are no hidden fees or last-minute expenses. You and I work together to design your dress from the ground up. This dress is created for your one unique body and, as such, we don’t have to worry about alterations (and how much they cost). We spend more time working on the design and having fun with that instead of worrying about the fit.

It’s about risk

It’s easy to trick ourselves into thinking that buying a wedding dress off the rack is “less risky” than designing a dress ourselves. That makes sense. For many of my clients, our interaction is the very first time that they’ve ever designed a piece of clothing. 

But when you factor in the cost of altering someone else’s work, the time it takes to do so, and the labor (mental, emotional, and physical) to get it all done on a tight any deadline, it’s worth considering another option. Nobody wants to deal with dominos, particularly when planning a wedding.

Want to talk more? Great! Contact me.

Image by Abbey Elaine