The days leading up to our wedding were pretty packed.
We reunited at SFO on Saturday and went back to Davis on Sunday, which meant that we only had five(ish) days to get everything in order before the big day!
One of the errands we had to run was picking up Jean Philippe’s tux rental.
I really do not know anything about menswear.
JP and I planned everything together–but we planned while I was in California and he was in Australia. This made the tux rental process a little bit complicated.
I had worked everything out with a place that rented out tuxes in Davis. A while back JP and I sorted out the tux rental even though he wasn’t in Davis to get measured for it. The store explained that we could just send in his measurements and the tux would fit fine–and if it didn’t, we would have enough time to order a new one.
So, come Monday (three days before our wedding) we go in for JP to try on the tux.
I’m sitting on the couch right in front of the dressing area waiting for JP.
He’s taking a while.
“I want to see!” I say.
“Oh no,” he mumbles.
After a while of shuffling he opens the curtain to reveal himself in the tux.
“I look like a pirate.”
His face says it all before I see the rest of his body. I can feel how uncomfortable he is. The pants are too short and boxy, the shirt is billowing, the vest too big and the jacket is awkward.
“I like the bowtie and the cufflinks,” he says, offering a weak smile.
The seamstress tells us that she can lengthen the pants a bit but explains that this is a rental so it’s not going to fit perfectly.
While we were both very well aware that we were renting a tux the tux rental cost was $200! So even though this is supposed to be used again by other people, shouldn’t it still be flattering?
Still, it was a rental. It was not a tux that was going to be tailored perfectly to JP’s body–those damn ads fooled us!
The seamstress assured us she would have everything ready by tomorrow.
We walked out of the tux rental shop both feeling disappointed. Obviously, I think my husband looks great no matter what. I would have no problem marrying JP while he was dressed as a pirate, but not if he feels uncomfortable.
I, out of all people, understand that an outfit can really boost your confidence. When you look good, you feel good. And who doesn’t want to look and feel good on their wedding day?
I knew that if the roles were reversed, JP would be driving me to the nearest bridal store to find a solution until I felt beautiful.
So that’s what we were going to do for him.
“We’re going to Nordstrom,” I stated, unlocking the car.
“What? No! You’ll look beautiful, that’s all that matters.”
I gave a JP you’ve got to be kidding me look.
I knew he meant every word, but when he feels bad, I feel bad. And his face in that tux rental simply killed me.
My husband hates spending money on himself. He’s a much more practical shopper and spender than I am–something I’ll benefit and learn from. He’ll do his research before making a big purchase where as if I see something and I love it, I get it.
(Yes, that has gotten me into trouble).
But this was an important purchase and we didn’t have much time to research for a solution.
After much of JP’s protesting we headed to Sacramento for him to try on some suits.
Like I mentioned earlier…I know nothing about menswear. And JP doesn’t like spending money on himself! Neither of us really understood (and still don’t understand) the price range of suits.
JP and I soon found ourselves in Nordstrom’s. Right away, a gentleman was at our service. He went off to get a measuring tape as JP and I started to sift through the suits.
JP grabbed a price tag and his jaw dropped, “Babe. No.”
The jacket alone was $800.
The Nordstrom’s man reappeared with a measuring tape.
“So…” I started, “we’re kind of on a budget. Are there–erm–any sales going on?”
The Nordstrom’s man offered a sympathetic look, “Honestly, there’s not.” He took a look around and his voice got very quiet, “But–Nordstrom Rack is about a mile away. They have the exact same things we do for 40-60% off–sometimes even more. The only difference is the clothing will be a few seasons old. But no one really notices that–this jacket I’m wearing is four years old. No one can tell.”
I am so grateful to that Nordstrom’s man! He could have tried to get us out of there as quickly as possible (knowing he wasn’t going to make a sale) or try to talk us into buying an expensive suit anyway. Instead, he took the time to measure JP and give him his correct size, and then gave us directions to Nordstrom Rack.
Now–Nordstrom Rack is a very different shopping experience than Nordstrom’s.
Nordstrom’s really prides themselves on keeping their customers happy. They have personal shoppers at no extra charge and an amazing return policy. You feel like you’re being waited on hand and foot when you shop at Nordstrom’s.
Nordstrom Rack is different.
That’s not to say it’s bad, but you do have to do all of the digging on your own. And they’re not nearly as organized as Nordstrom’s. With that being said–their prices are so much more reasonable.
I served as JP’s personal shopper, grabbing different jackets, pants and vests and giving my opinion on each.
The tricky thing with finding a three piece suit at Nordstrom Rack is that everything is so scattered and no one who works there is really going to help you piece it altogether. Finding a three piece suit that truly matches is difficult because if you get pants that are just a shade darker than the jacket, the whole thing looks wrong.
After much digging, we finally found a three piece suit that looked great. We found a nice blue suit by Original Penguin. (The vest is my favorite part…the back of it is this silver grey with little penguin designs on it!)
The Nordstrom Rack price was not too bad considering everything we were getting. And–unlike a wedding dress, a suit is something that can be worn again.
The price rang up to about $300–less than half the price of most of the jackets sitting around Nordstrom. It also was only $100 more than the tux rental, and again, this is something that can be worn on other occasions and it doesn’t have to be returned a few days later.
Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get our tux rental payment back. The place we rented from is more of a mom and pop style shop that gets their tux rentals from a big company, and because it is prom season we took one of the tuxes that could have been rented out. While that was a bummer, the seamstress hemmed JP’s new pants at no extra charge and he did really like the bowtie and cufflinks–so at least we were able to use those! **insert crying emoji** Of course we both wish we didn’t lose that money on the tux rental, but I’ve learned by now there’s no point in getting upset over something you can’t change.
And as far as the Original Penguin suit goes…though $300 is not an easy amount for us to swallow, it’s actually a very good price for a suit. Considering the average price of a wedding in America is $26,000–JP and I were like the extreme couponers of wedding planning.
Nonetheless, shopping with my husband on such a short and stressful timeframe turned out to be really fun! He doesn’t like money being spent on him so having an excuse to shop for him and let him be the center of attention for once was very exciting for me.
I loved being his personal shopper!
I felt like I was on Project Runway when they go to Mood. (I just wasn’t really designing anything or doing any creative work).
Still, we had to “make it work” and it did!
The suit we found was perfect for City Hall. The color is a very nice and almost slightly faded blue. It’s not as rich as the navy tux rental was and I’m so glad. It has more of a vintage feel and it suited JP fit and personality wise so much better. I’m really happy that JP will have it to wear in the future because I know it would be years until he would buy one for himself!
Most importantly, both of us were confident getting ready that morning. We didn’t have to worry about whether our garments were going to fit or look right and instead we could just enjoy every moment.
So, here is my advice to future brides and grooms.
Find something that makes you feel great. It doesn’t have to be super expensive or luxe, it just has to be something you feel confident and happy in.
At the end of the day, that’s all that really matters!
Photo by Becky Gmahling