Last weekend, brides across Massachusetts flocked to Boston by the hundreds to take part in the 5th annual Fenway Park Bridal Festival, and Chatty Brides editor Caroline Goddard was there to hand out magazines, text her most sports-obsessed friends (“dude, I’m standing on the field right now, NBD”), and catch up with Say Yes to the Dress star, Randy Fenoli. Ok, let’s elaborate on that understatement of the century: Randy is also the star of TLC’s Big Bliss, Randy Knows Best and Randy to the Rescue, is the author of It’s All About the Dress, and additionally, he may be the most dapper gentleman ever to stand in the shadows of the Green Monster. In our book, anyway, he had us at “Hello, Beautiful!” Listen up boys (yes, boys!) and girls, we’ve got some killer style advice.
Chatty Brides – Let’s start with the girls. For those of us who tend towards the au naturel look, obviously a good up-do and makeup has good staying power and is important for photos, but what would your advice be to a bride who just doesn’t feel like herself covered in makeup?
Randy Fenoli – My future sister in law just go married a few weeks ago, and the makeup artist came in and she was just painting on these eyebrows and lining the inside of her eyes in black, and I came down and said “no, no, no!” Wipe those eyebrows off and take off the black, she wants to look natural! And she said “oh, but she’s got photographs,” and I said, “she doesn’t care about the photographs, she wants to look like herself walking down the aisle.”
I think that on your wedding day, you just want to be the best version of yourself. So if you don’t wear a lot of makeup, then on your wedding day, don’t look like a drag queen or Dolly Parton, I mean really! Go natural, go understated. And sometimes, the more makeup you put on the older you can look, so lighter is better. You can keep adding the gloss as the night goes on if it wears off, but I say if you’re not used to wearing a lot of makeup, don’t do it on your wedding day.
CB – Mismatched bridesmaids dresses. Are you over it? Do you think it’s a good thing?
RF – If the color is the same, and the fabric is the same, you know with different necklines and whatnot. But I don’t like rainbow colors, I don’t like different fabrics. It looks like you’ve chosen guests and said “come up here, stand up in my wedding.” They’re wearing any kind of dress, any color… it’s a mish-mosh. It doesn’t give a nice cohesive look. I don’t care if one wears a one shoulder, one wears strapless, one wears one with sleeves… As long as it’s the same fabric and same color, it will unify that look and make that whole bridal party stand out and frame the bride in the center.
CB – Ok, I want to talk about Men’s Fashion.
RF – I love it, it’s about time!
CB – I’m from Rhode Island, where we just passed same sex marriage, and I’d love to know what you think are the exciting trends in same sex marriages. Are you for matching suits or do you think grooms should just go totally unique?
RF – I think that with any couple, it’s really about telling their story. They need to express who they are through their clothing, whether they want to wear matching suits, or one wants to go a little over the top, or even if one wants to wear a dress, I mean, if that’s what they want to do, if that’s who they are, then why not?
I think that with all weddings today, it’s really about the couple expressing who they are, from the food to the music to the dress to the venue, everything says “this is our story and this is who we are, and this is our taste level and this is the music that we like to party and dance to, and this is what we like to eat…” The way you dress is a reflection of who you are as a couple, so you need to dress for yourselves.
The great thing about same sex marriages is that same sex couples have a huge influx of cash, because most of them don’t have children. So it’s really going to be, I think, a boost to the economy, and I think people are realizing that. It’s good for everyone all around, really. Except for maybe the religious right wing, but you know, they’ll get over it eventually.
CB – We’ve been seeing so many fun and funky groomsmen trends, everything from suspenders and chambray to ridiculous sunglasses…
RF – And matching socks! Fun socks! [ed. note: at this point, Randy pulls up his pant leg to show his FABULOUS own red dress socks]
CB – What are some of the best things you’ve been seeing trending in men’s wedding fashion?
RF – Well the best thing is that men in America are finally starting to let go of their inhibitions and really just own clothing. I mean come on! The Egyptians wore makeup and skirts, and for three thousands years! Finally, men are starting to come back to owning the fact that fashion is good for everybody. If it feels good, do it and wear it.
The biggest problem with men’s fashion is that men tend to buy their clothes too big because they want to be comfortable. So usually their suits are too big and baggy and it looks like they’re wearing their daddy’s suit. I always say: tailor, tailor, tailor, and buy the right size! Usually I tell men that when you go to get a suit, grab for the size smaller and when you get to the register, go back and get the size smaller and it’s probably the one you should be wearing. Because generally the shoulders are hanging way down and the pants are baggy and pleated…no, no, no! Get rid of all that! Slimmer is better. If you’ve been working hard on that body, show it off!
CB – If a groom is going to use his wedding day to splurge on some kind of investment piece, what do you think that should be?
RF – Always accessories! Something you can wear again. And also a suit. Every guy needs one great black or navy or charcoal suit that looks good on him, whether for someone else’s wedding or a funeral or a formal occasion. But, accessories are either going to elevate or depreciate your look. So if you’ve got a gorgeous looking three thousand dollar suit and you’re wearing a pair of scuffed up shoes, your eye is going to go straight to those shoes. Accessories are key. And once again, if you invest in the accessories, I would rather you spend 600 dollars on a good pair of made to order shoes than 60 bucks on a pair that is going to get scuffed up, go in the back of the closet and be thrown in the trash in a couple years. If you get some really good shoes, they’re going to last longer, you’re going to take better care of them, and you’re going to wear them forever.
CB -You’re good!
RF – Thank you, this is my job!
CB – Man, I need you in my closet all the time!
RF – No, I’m out of the closet!
CB – [Ed note: after looking at Randy’s instagrams of his tie collection, of which he said “I think there is a twelve step program for this,” and admiring his Paul Smith oxfords with perforated brogue detailing and contrasting purple laces] “Guys have so much fun stuff!”
RF – “No, women have fun, guys are just afraid.”
-As told to Caroline Goddard, September 8th, 2013.