Q&A: Anthony’s House of Formals

Specializing in men’s formalwear, Rhode Island-based Anthony’s House of Formals is anything but a
cookie-cutter rental tux outlet. Owner Aldo Segama operates his East Providence and Cranston showrooms like boutiques, with carefully curated selections of tuxes, suits and accessories. After nearly 12 years of dressing grooms and groomsmen, Segama is an expert at male wedding fashion, and his invaluable advice is worth the read for those looking to maximize sharpness.

SNEW: How did you come to be an expert in menswear? When did you launch Anthony’s House of Formals?

AS: Dating back to its original location in East Providence, Anthony’s House of Formals has been in business since 1942. When I bought the company in 2002, it was during the recession, and it was a tough time in the formalwear industry: independent owners were closing and giant franchises, with terrible service, were taking over. But we found that customers, then and today, appreciate our expertise in terms of style and fit, and we’ve found our niche by providing a high level of personal service. My background is actually in international business and business management, so when I invested in Anthony’s, I introduced new efficiencies. I don’t have a background in fashion but I have a knack for it, and after traveling to manufacturers and fashion shows across the country and abroad, I quickly learned the lingo. I even taught myself how to sew. Now, I’m lucky enough to style runway fashions for Boston Fashion Week and other high-profile shows.

SNEW: Dressing the groom and groomsmen is a big responsibility…what is the typical selection process like?

AS: I generally recommend that a bride and groom come together, maybe with one other person, like the best man, for a second opinion. If they bring the entire party, that’s fine, but the drawback is dealing with all of those opinions. And while three months before a wedding date is standard, coming in six to eight months before is even better in the long run because, let’s face it, guys tend to procrastinate. You want to avoid getting too close to crunch time for groomsmen to come in and get fitted. We can either custom order a tailor-made tux or suit for those looking to buy or we offer rentals. Our accessories, like ties and pocket squares, are also available to rent or buy. Conveniently, shoes come included in our rental packages but, if someone wants to wear his own, then we just discount them off the price. We have three Rhode Island locations and fittings can be made via phone, email or even online. Our new satellite location on Thames Street in Newport offers concierge-class service, which is perfect for destination couples from out of state. We can bring the desired looks to Newport, have all of the guys measured and then deliver the finished looks right to a hotel. Hotel pickups are also possible to avoid late fees. It’s an all-in-one service.

SNEW: How do you make sure the groom’s overall look fits with his bride’s fashion?

AS: We are able to achieve any look, from a timeless tuxedo for a black tie affair to a linen suit for a beachside wedding. But when it comes to matching colors, whether in a bridesmaid dress or on an invitation, it’s most helpful if couples bring actual swatches. That way we can nail down the requested color exactly and, if nothing works, we can order a custom tie or bowtie for purchase with three months lead time. A custom tie is perfect for achieving just the right stripe combination or paisley pattern and it also makes a great groomsman gift with a price point of $30-$55.

SNEW: What are some ways to jazz up a traditional tux?

AS: My advice is to keep the look traditional and smooth looking while highlighting one major focal point, which is traditionally the tie, but could also be a bowtie and pocket square combo, for example. And if the tie is brightly colored or patterned, I would keep the jacket very traditional. It’s always best to keep the overall outfit simple and timeless and highlight just one feature.

SNEW: What are some of the upcoming trends you’re seeing in menswear for weddings?

AS: Colored jackets are in. We’ve seen a huge interest in colored tuxedo jackets, from blues such as navy and sapphire to deep reds and purples like burgundy and plum. For the fashion-forward groom who doesn’t want a typical black tux, these colors are dark toned and rich looking, not tacky, and pair well with classic black slacks. Another trend is a patterned jacket: checkered and shark skin are both subtle and popular patterns.

SNEW: Tuxes aren’t only for bridal parties; sometimes guests need them too. When is a tux appropriate for a wedding guest?

AS: If a wedding invitation says black tie, then a tux is required; it’s not optional. Some guests will miss the mark and wear a black suit and tie and then will end up feeling uncomfortable when everyone else is in tuxes. However, if an invitation says black tie optional, then either a tux or a nice suit is OK. In this case, the bride is just asking that you look your best.

Photos courtesy of Anthony’s House of Formals

**This article originally appeared in the 2016 Edition of Southern New England Weddings, Written by Jennifer Sperry

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