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Image via Christian Marc Photography. Bridgette & Dales Rustic Country Wedding With Native Flowers

Image by Christian Marc Photography Barber Fade ‘n Blade Barber Shop by Bridgette & Dales Rustic Country Wedding With Native Flowers

Grooming has certainly evolved over the years. Undoubtedly, it was more associated with pets than people when I was growing up. Fortunately, times have changed and grooming, especially for men, has not only evolved, but is now celebrated. And all jibes about ‘manscaping’ aside, the idea that a man could or even want to take care of his appearance, used to be met with negativity, almost as a sign of weakness. It still is today, in some circles.

But as traditional notions of masculinity are redefined, we can also be comfortable in embracing taking care of ourselves – inside and out. Over the past few years I’ve had a chance to pick the brains of a bunch of grooming experts, and I’ve dug through the archives to compile some of their best tips and tricks.

Skin

I’m starting with skin because I have a hunch it’s one of the key grooming areas which men might neglect. You might not have even thought about using a product on your skin, but Julian Burak, founder of A Good Man – an international personal shopping and styling service – says there’s nothing to shy away from.

“Exfoliate and get the dead skin off your face,” Julian says. “A simple shower scrub will do. If you are up for it, book in for a facial.” And as the big day approaches, you can be forgiven for succumbing to that inevitable stress blemish.

Nathan Jancauskas, owner of Mensbiz – a Melbourne grooming store – says grooms can also consider a concealer. “Use a concealer to cover dark under-eye circles or any blemishes that might pop up,” he says. “If you have particularly oily skin, use an anti-shine cream or powder in the morning.”

Photo by Jordan Knight. Image via Kate & Trenton's Romantic Wedding With A Muted Colour Palette

Photo by Jordan Knight. Image via Kate & Trenton’s Romantic Wedding With A Muted Colour Palette

Hair

Hair is the most obvious aspect of grooming for grooms, and when it comes to going the trim, I’m a fan of heading to a traditional barber. The best part? The ‘traditional barber’ has had an amazing comeback in the last decade, and it’s now easier than ever to find a talented (and modern) barber in your neck of the woods. I tend to go with Kings Domain Barbers (Melbourne and Sydney) and I’ve also got a soft spot for Melbourne’s Barber Black Sheep.

“Stick with what you know and trust,” Nathan says. “Ideally book your haircut in for a few days ahead of the wedding and go to someone you know and trust (best to make a booking for the barber you usually see, rather than a barbershop that makes you take whoever might be free at the time). Allow time for your hair to grow out and feel more natural.” If you’re thinking about something a little different for the special occasion, don’t leave it to the last minute, Nathan says.

“The week before your wedding isn’t the best time to reinvent your look, so if you want to experiment with a different style, best to start thinking about it a few months ahead of time,” Nathan says. “Allow time for your hair to grow out and feel more natural.” The team at Kings Domain says you should consider “at least three haircuts” with the same barber before your wedding.

“This is so the barber has time to get to know you, what you like, what you don’t like and what will work best with your hair type,” a spokesperson said.

“We really do get a bit of everything but I guess it’s the classics that most people want: clean and sharp. A lot of guys are coming in for tailored facial hair – neat beards and cut throat on the cheeks and neck.”

Shaving 

As beards have made their inevitable comeback in the last few years, it’s meant grooms have more to think about in the lead up to their wedding day. Do you shave it all off? Or perhaps just a trim? Either way, I suggest going with a professional.

Just like the hair on top of your head, it’s important to go with what you know, otherwise leave a good amount of time before your wedding day – just in case things go wrong. “If you are going to get a hot towel shave on the big day, then come and get one a week or two before to make sure you don’t have any reaction to the blade,” the Kings Domain team said.

Let’s not go crazy here. Leave the reinvention to ageing rock stars and stick with what you know. Nathan’s message was loud and clear for those looking to shave: Do it early and do it slowly! “If you’re shaving the morning of the wedding, slow down and take your time. Use a sharp blade and finish with a soothing aftershave balm. Make sure you don’t cut yourself or miss any stray hairs.”

Photo by Underatreehouse. Image via Laura and Andy's Intimate Yarramalong Country Farm Wedding

Photo by Jordan Knight. Image via Kate & Trenton’s Romantic Wedding With A Muted Colour Palette

Fragrance

Still reaching for the old green Brut bottle? Come on, guys. It might have worked for your old man, but it’s time to branch out. Personally, I use the David Beckham fragrance Intimately. I’ve been using it for the better part of a decade now. The good thing about finding a fragrance that you like and sticking with it, is that when I started using it, it set me back in the hundreds of dollars, today it’s less than 30 bucks a pop!

Heads up, you’re going to smell on your wedding day. It’s up to you whether you smell good or bad.

So how do you make sure you stay smelling sweet and not like a locker room?? Nathan says there’s a trick to staying on the right side of fragrant throughout the day. “To help your scent last longer, it’s best to apply fragrance straight after a shower, while pores are open,” he says. “Spray onto pulse points that offer good blood circulation; such as the wrists, the inside of your elbows, the base of your throat and just below the earlobes.”

Bonus tip: Don’t get too adventurous

Let’s be clear here, the week of your wedding is not the time to start using a new product, shaving an area of your face which hasn’t been shaved for a long time, and definitely not a time to be getting a new haircut.

As Julian Burak, founder of A Good Man – an international personal shopping and styling service told me: “grooming is important all the time”, however, there is a time and a place to get radical. “When it comes to your wedding, you need a month if you want to try something new. Leave room for mistakes.”

Solid advice. I’m all for trying something new but let’s leave at least a month to fix any accidental stuff ups.

About Mr Houndstooth: I am a happily married man. I enjoy a fine whisky, a new suit and swashbuckling around town with my beautiful bride. Looking back on my wedding day always makes me smile, even though it began to rain just as I said ‘I do’.

With a dress code such as “farmyard chic”, it’s no wonder the Groom was sporting a slightly country, slightly floral get up – which allowed for plenty of swing dancing! Which, is how Harmony and Liam came to be and informed a lot of the wedding styling and vibe. The Bride fills us in on the decisions surrounding the outfit choices!

Liam wore a floral shirt, green jacket, brown pants and brown boots. Basically, once we knew the theme of the wedding, he wanted to dress to that, and the outfit was designed to be both comfortable and fairly striking. He found the jacket first at some sales post the spring carnival the year before, and eventually found the shirt, which looked awesome!

Groom’s Attire: AsosGroom’s Attire: GAP / Groom’s Attire: Bossini Menswear / Groom’s Shoes: Asos / Groomsmen Attire: Target / Groomsmen Attire: General Pants Co / Groomsmen Bowties: Brobows

Credits

This post features the following wedding vendors. If you've been featured below, we'd love to get to know you. Click here to join Polka Dot Bride.

Where do you find your inspiration?
Many things inspire me; my heritage, different cultures, art and nature but I am mostly inspired by people and personalities.
Style is so unique and individual and I love being involved in the process of creating a garment for a unique individual.

Is there anywhere in the world you love to travel to for inspiration?
Italy is always a source of inspiration for me and I can’t get enough of it. My family is Italian and I have been lucky enough to travel back there often. Each region, city and village has a totally different story to tell and its style and traditions are unique. It still amazes me that even after so many visits I am constantly inspired by something new that captures my attention. The north of Italy really embraces a formal way of dressing whilst the south has softer more relaxed approach to tailoring.

What should a groom know before getting his suit tailored?
That it is your wedding day too! And you are allowed to wear whatever you like. Your wedding is not the time to be too experimental and you should go for a style that makes you feel comfortable.
Whether your suit is more formal, traditional or relaxed, always choose a colour that compliments your skin tones and don’t focus too much on trend. Trends come and go and your wedding style should be more timeless. Likewise with silhouette, do not go asking for an ultra tight suit. They are never flattering and you will look uncomfortable.

Instead, ask for a beautifully fitted suit that sits nicely around the shoulders and chest and tapers through the waist. Trousers should be tailored nicely through the leg allowing the fabric to drape and not pull.


Why tailored rather than off the shelf?
You will always a get a better fit with a tailored suit and you get to design every little detail. Off the shelf, on the one hand comes with its limitations, you don’t get to choose the actual fabric and you have to choose from a pre-designed size ready made. A tailor will enhance your features but also correct your posture and allow for more a flattering fit.

What trends are you seeing for 2019/2020?
I try not to focus too much on trends, I prefer to work with individual style and create something that has more longevity and versatility. However textile trends really do excite me! We are seeing a great deal of innovation in blended wool, silk and wool linen fabrics which are light weight, breathable and durable. These textiles are often textured and woven with interesting patterns, which make for a far more interesting suit.

Colour trends at the moment are also very natural, with an emphasis on greens and browns and even soft pastel hues. I love bold patterns and checks, but they are not for the faint hearted. If you prefer to go for something a little more classic you can always reflect these tends in your shirt, ties or other accessories.

What’s your favourite style for a groom?
I love a tuxedo. The groom should always be the best-dressed man in the room and who can compete with a man in tux? Unless of course the dress code for all of your guests is Black Tie, in which case the groom has to step it up a notch. This is where he may consider a white dinner jacket with satin lapels or even a contrast dinner jacket. Burgundy and emerald green has been particularly popular of late so have brocade and paisley woven fabrics. They will make you stand out from the crowd.

What’s hot in ties?
I love anything textured. In particular Shantung or Grenadine silk.
Shantung is a slub weave silk which is quite raw looking. It is a traditional Chinese method of weaving silk and I love the coarse texture. Grenadine is an open weave silk made famous in Italy. It also looks knitted but the large open weave nature of the cloth gives a linen look.

What tie, shirt and belt combo work best with a grey suit?
Grey is one of the most versatile colour suits you could ever own. You could go for a more elegant look and keep it monochromatic with a white shirt and black or dark tie, just make sure you shoes and belt are black also! For a more fun day time look, wear a pale pink shirt (or any other soft pastel colour), a pink tie to compliment and brown shoes and belt. This look is great for a garden wedding or even the Spring Racing Carnival.

What tie, shirt and belt combo goes best with a navy suit?
Anything you like. Navy is definitely the most versatile suit you will have in your wardrobe. And it’s my favourite. Every single colour works with navy. You can wear black shoes and belt with a white shirt and navy blue tie for a very corporate look or introduce soft pastels colours, or even deep colours such as burgundy, red and green. Brown shoes and brown belt always work, but if you’re a little braver, tan shoes work a treat too.

What do people need to know before going “White Tie”?
White is the most formal of attire within Western civilisation. It consists of a black coat with tails, black trousers, a white starched piquet cotton waistcoat, white dinner shirt with wing tip collar and a white bow tie. White Tie is the evening counter part to traditional English morning attire, where a coat and tails is worn with a three-piece ensemble. If you are planning white tie for your wedding, you will want to ensure that your guests follow suit, otherwise stick to Black Tie.

What is the most unique suit you have ever created for someone?
I once made a suit for a client out his family tartan. Rather than wearing a kilt and traditional Scottish attire we created a three-piece suit made out of his red and green checked cloth which had been custom woven especially for the day. The suit was accessorised with a black tie and white shirt and looked like it was more of a Vivienne Westwood punk rocker creation. I initially had my doubts but by the end of it, the suit looked amazing and I absolutely loved it.

How do you feel about sneakers and suits? How does one pull this look off?
Sneakers and suits certainly work in the right setting and on the right person. I personally don’t wear my suits this way, but it can be done. However, be sure you have the right sneakers. You cannot wear trainers or shoes you would usually wear to gym. You need to go for a white or tan sand shoe or something very plain. You must also pay special attention to the trousers. Ensuring the length is cut slightly shorter so that it sits on top of the shoe and not over the shoe. I would opt for a cuffed trouser and wear no sock.

How do you feel about the no socks look?
This is definitely acceptable. Whenever you wear a loafer or sneaker with a suit or trouser and sport jacket ensemble, the no sock look is called for. Once again ensure the trousers are nicely tapered through the leg and are cut just on the ankle so as it to reveal a bit of skin.
This is a very European look and is quickly becoming accepted here in Australia.

Located in the heart of Melbourne’s fashion precinct, Carl Navè’s Bourke Street studio offers a unique made-to-measure experience. Combining the art of bespoke with fashion design and textile expertise, each piece is carefully crafted with an emphasis on style, fit and comfort. Born in Williamstown, Melbourne to Italian parents, Carl Nave comes from a family of tailors, and has been sewing since the age of six.

Credits

This post features the following wedding vendors. If you've been featured below, we'd love to get to know you. Click here to join Polka Dot Bride.