Do men and women see clothes differently? To find out, we sent three of our writers to Scotland’s top groomswear shops with a male friend or relative in tow…
TTKS editor Beth Forsyth and friend Bill
Bill, my Sri-Mancan bestie (that’s Sri Lankan and Mancunian in case you’re wondering), lives for dressing up. He’s at his happiest planning outfits for Halloween or fancy-dress parties. Between you and me, though, we’re at that age where there are fewer such invites and more 40ths and weddings to go to instead. Even in his day-to-day life, Bill is a natty dresser, so I relished taking him shopping.
Our first stop was Gordon Nicolson Kiltmakers in Edinburgh, where I picked out tartan trews for him, plus a blue tweed jacket and waistcoat (shown below right). Seeing as Bill has a collection of bow ties that could rival Imelda Marcos’s obsession with shoes, I chose a fun floral-print bow tie to accessorise the outfit.
His own pick was a bespoke grey tweed check suit with an eye-catching silk lining, together with a navy wool waistcoat (shown below left). He told me he felt he’d be able to wear each of these items individually again to work meetings. Fair point.
At Slanj Kilts in Glasgow, he was keen to get into a kilt. As an adopted Scotsman (with the tattoo to prove it), he already has one of his own, but it has taken a hammering at festivals and he admits he could do with an upgrade. He’s not shy of a flash of pink, so he tried on an outfit based around the Scottish Association for Mental Health tartan (shown top left). As if its candy check alone wasn’t enough to entice him, when he discovered that 20% of each sale goes direct to the SAMH charity, he was sold.
Meanwhile, I scoured the rails at the Bath Street store for another cost-per-wear winner and reckoned he’d get a lot of mileage out of trews and a waistcoat in the Black Watch tartan (shown top right). And who knows: the velvet jacket it’s worn with might even get a spin again if he goes guising as Gomez Addams.
Staff writer Nicole Conner and brother Rhys
Rhys is one of my best friends for many reasons, but one always stands out: we have the same taste in clothes. By this, I mean he buys nice things and I get to steal them from his wardrobe. I went with him when he was shopping for his prom suit a few years back and loved all his picks, and it was the same when we browsed the rails at groomswear stores recently.
That prom suit was a sleek navy with deep burgundy checks, so I had an idea of what he’d go for when we visited Remus Uomo in Silverburn: an easy-to-wear hue that still packed a punch. He settled on a crisp grey suit (shown above left) almost instantly, drawn in by the checks: they add flair but are subtle enough not to overpower. The suit would work with a wide range of shoes and shirts, so styling options post-wedding are endless.
My choice was a classic navy suit (shown above right) – effortlessly dapper whatever the season or venue. It will work with any wedding colour scheme and, for lovers of a bold tie, like Rhys, it will pair nicely with more out-there accessories.
My brother last wore a kilt a decade ago, but even before we arrived at MacGregor and MacDuff, I knew what he would be avoiding: super-formal Prince Charlie jackets and bright tartans. And, sure enough, he made a beeline for the Oban Mist kilt outfit (shown above right), whose dark greys and browns felt easy to wear for someone not used to Highland dress. I felt he should go a little brighter – the Lomond Mist kilt outfit (shown above left) would be my selection. Its subtle flashes of rose and white make the grey base pop. Our picture shows it with a tartan tie, but Rhys said he would have swapped that for something bright pink.
Staff writer Olivia Simpson and dad Frazer
My dad was never known for his sartorial savvy, but things have started to change. He has developed a penchant for ‘West End’ shirts (patterned numbers in pink and red which he sports in the Finnieston eateries beloved of the middle-aged set), and last Christmas my sister and I got him a dandy vintage coat that I know he’s looking forward to cracking out again this season. What is it they say about leopards and spots?
His formalwear, however, has seen no such progress. His suits are perfectly serviceable and the kilt he got for his own wedding in 1991 still does the trick, but it’s time for a switch-up. We started with suits: browsing some of the looks from the Slater Menswear’s ‘Made To Order’ service, he was drawn to this sleek blue number (shown above right), ready to be accessorised with a snazzy tie and pocket square for extra panache. Beloved of Mafia bosses and Wolf of Wall Street types, a double-breasted suit would be a real jump into the unknown for my Glasgow born-and-bred father, but this style (shown above left) is pared-back enough to feel comfortable rather than costumey and, at six foot tall, he has the height to pull it off without looking stocky.
For very formal events, his go-to will always be a kilt, and he liked how wearable the tones in this custom McCalls look are (shown above right), and how it could transition from day to night. That said, I’d love to see him in something totally new. When I uttered the words “velvet tuxedo”, his scepticism was palpable, but, given the fact that he is constantly telling me to “seize the day” whenever I doubt myself, I’m not letting him off that easily. It’s his turn to be bold, and what better way to carpe that diem than in this emerald-green beauty (shown above right)? Fortune (and fashion) favour the brave, after all.