Advice on my blue blazer dilemma

So I’m a groomsman for a wedding that’s taking place in December and I was just notified that instead of tuxedos, we’re wearing matching suit ensembles. The happy couple is footing the bill for the tie and pants, but we have to buy the blazer: A Brooks Brothers navy number that normally prices at almost $400.

Now I know how bridesmaids feel, having to buy an article of clothing that I know I’ll never use again–and trust me, I never will. I never go anywhere nice enough to wear that kind of jacket, I don’t personally own any matching pants for it, and my wife hates navy which means I could never go out with her wearing it.

Now, the jacket is currently on sale (about half off) and I’m being encouraged to buy it now. I have an alternate plan: waiting until shortly before the ceremony (say, a week), buying the jacket, wearing it that day, then returning it. Naturally I have to check a couple of things: (1) Brooks Brothers’ return policy, and (2) whether this jacket is common enough of a style/design that it won’t be discontinued in the next couple of months.

Obviously, the safer option is to buy it now, but with the ceremony 5 months away, returning it is not an option and I’m stuck with it. Plan B is financially riskier, but with the likelihood of returning it, is my preferred option.

It should be noted that this wedding is in the Virgin Islands, which means I’m already paying for plane tickets for two, accomodations, plus taking extra vacation time off. The bachelor party will probably involve travel as well.

What do you think I should do? The thing is that if I go with Plan B, do I let the bride know? She’s keeping tabs on us (which is very nice, keeping us informed and all), but how do I tell her that I’m waiting on the jacket to return it? Or do I just eat it and spare everyone the concern/anxiety/possible insult?

Don’t buy it then return it…that’s slimey. Have the bride supply you with an exact picture of it (or borrow one of the other groomsmen’s jackets) and buy one that’s identical at a cheaper store. I’m sure it wouldn’t be too tough to find a cheap knockoff. Just tell the salesman what you’re looking for and he’ll point you in the right direction or suggest someplace that might have it. You have plenty of time too look. I’d start at Men’s Wearhouse or that sort of thing. You might want to hit some outlets as well. If it’s a cut/style Brooks Brothers has done for quite a while you may want to hit thrift stores on occasion. Someone’s grandpa (in your size!) might’ve had one that got donated when he died or something. If that’s the case you might be able to score one for less than $20.

Have you tried eBay, also?

I know that this isn’t part of your OP, but I really have to add my two cents:

I really really really hate brides/grooms that do that to people.
I am so against making a wedding member buy stuff for one’s own wedding.

nevertheless, as I see it:

a) its tacky to return the suit after wearing it.
b) what if they don’t have your size in stock when you go looking for it?
c)most nice suits and jackets, IIRC, need to be taylored to the individual (sleeve length, etc). Meaning that once you buy it, it’s yours.

I don’t think buying a knock off would be good. If the Bride is picky enough to specify that the suit must be Brooks Brothers, a knock off will be obvious, especially if you are the only one wearing a knock off.
I think also that you may spend a lot of time searching for the right style knock off. Since time=money, you may spend more in the long run with a knock off.
If you can afford it, I think you should suck it up and buy the jacket now while its on sale.

If you can’t afford it, talk with the bride now and discuss options.

Have you considered shopping on eBay for this blazer? I’m no fan of buying used clothes but I do make an exception for vintage items. Maybe you’ll be in luck and someone’ll be auctioning what you’re looking for in your size.

Also, two hundred bucks for a new Brooks Brothers blazer is a steal. For that amount of money, you should invent places to be seen in such a smart number!

Buy the jacket on sale. A Brooks Brothers jacket is, as far as clothing can be, a good investment. Unlike 99% of all bridesmaids gowns which will never be worn again, you could have many opportunities to wear a good quality blue blazer. You say you’ll never use it again, but you could slip it on to attend a funeral for a friend. Go to Brooks and try one on. Your wife may change her mind about navy after she sees you in it.

I hope you enjoy the trip.


Good points have already been made regarding tailoring, tackiness, etc. And I’d not heard of the trend of having someone buy stuff for their wedding… uuggh!

Let me just add that a good blazer will serve you well for years and years. They’re casual with an open or polo shirt and dressy with a tie. The match well with a number of slacks and can even be used for Angus Young impressions. I hope you’ll find it of additional use if you spring for it. I wear mine at least a dozen times a year.

I am inclined to agree with the folks that say that while being painted into a corner stinks, you should buy the blazer on sale. Yes, the buy & return approach is yucky, yes, she’d recognize a non-BB blazer (the blues would be subtly different, which would freak her out for photos). And yes, even though you don’t think so now, a blue blazer is a good “standard” to have in the wardrobe. They go with jeans, khakis, and slacks, with loafers, tennis shoes and wingtips, and with t-shirts, polo shirts, button downs and turtlenecks. If you ever need a jacket, a blue blazer is the standard choice - so it’s not like its a dusty rose bridesmaids’ dress.

Sorry you have to cough up the bucks, but at least its on sale…

I also vote for buying the blazer. Seems a little picky of the bride to specify Brooks Brothers, though. Frankly, a blue blazer is a blue blazer. Ask her if she minds you buying a cheaper one – Mens Wearhouse or some of those places will probably have them for less than $100. If she insists on Brooks Bro, then suck it up and buy it on sale. As far as her “making you buy something” to wear to the wedding – well, welcome to a bridesmaid’s world, fellas. Anyway, a rental tuxedo would cost you at least $100 and, depending on style, possibly close to $200. At least you’ll get to keep the blazer (and you say the bride is buying slacks and tie, right?). You may think you’ll never wear it again, but you almost certainly will. A navy blazer is a fashion staple. It won’t go out of style any time soon. Unlike your average bridesmaid dress.


Buy the blazer. You can wear it with just about anything, it will never go out of style, and if you take care of it (and don’t gain alot of weight) you’ll have it forever.

Ask Buckaroo Banzai. He is an expert on Blue Blazers, especially Irregular ones. :wink:

I’m late to the party, but…

(late!?!? I wasn’t even invited!)

I agree with the majority of posters here with their advice to buy the blazer on sale.
a) it’s not much more than a tux rental
b) it’s really hard to match colors of blue blazers, so make sure you don’t take the cheap knock-off route
c) someday, believe us, you’ll have an occasion to wear it again, and honestly, a good blazer never goes out of style.
d) it’s tacky to buy-wear-and-return

There it is. My “me too” posting.

It’s a good thing blazers never go out of style. I’ve had mine over 15 years and the second time I ever wore the damn thing was about 8 years ago as part of a Halloween costume. I don’t think I’d be caught dead in it any more. I have some good suits for formal crap. (A gentleman shouldn’t wear a blazer to a funeral.)

Agreement here that couples who pull this kind of anal-retentive fantasy-wedding mind trip on their guests are inconsiderate and tacky. The whole thing sounds very expensive. Personally, I’d try and get out of going.

But if they really are fixated on you wearing that particular blazer and no reasonable replica will suffice, and since you personally have no moral problem wearing and returning, then you should absolutely wear and return.

Seriously, go plug “Brooks Brothers” into the search engine at eBay – there are dozens (some starting as low as $9). Someone is selling brand new ones in nearly every size for $59. You should see if that’s the one you’re supposed to get.

If I’m not too late:

You are being imposed on, but not by the blazer. It is a good deal. Buy it.

But this travelling wedding stuff, not to mention the bachelor’s party is too much.
I bet they’re registering at Nordstroms.

About ten years ago I bought a very expensive blue blazer - on sale. I wore it about a dozen times, tops.

My son has inherited it, and wore it to some high school functions, and to job interviews now that he’s in college.

It has withstood the test of time, and although it no longer goes all the way around me, he looks great in it.

Ok, the traditional wisdom is that you can’t go wrong with a blue blazer. It goes great with khakis for those “you have to wear a jacket” things, and they WILL come up.

Brooks Brothers makes very high quality, classic clothes that will not go out of style, ever, and they will survive into the next ice age with proper care (don’t EVER dry clean your suits, it will ruin them eventually). My husband has a couple of their suits that have served him well.

Now, having said that…
Sorry about the “tacky” factor, but I promise you this- if you buy that jacket at Nordstrom tomorrow, have it altered to fit, wear it once 5 months from now, and then return it, they won’t bat an eye. Go ahead.

Well, I bought the jacket, primarily because the bride is a genuinely nice person and I didn’t want to (a) lie to her by saying I had bought it when I hadn’t yet, and (b) stress her out by saying I’m waiting until much later to purchase it. I also didn’t know if there was any tailoring involved (turns out there wasn’t) and I didn’t want to run the (remote) risk of suddenly discovering I couldn’t find what I needed in a couple of months (I couldn’t find the right style & size on e-bay, btw, so that wasn’t a sure thing). It is their wedding after all, so I took the hit.

I appreciate the “You’ll find uses for the blue blazer” contingency, but trust me–I won’t. Why? Because I do have several sports coats/jackets hanging in my closet already, which I do the semi-formal thing with on those rare occasions. All of which I like better than this jacket. So no, I will never use it. Oh, another reason I won’t:

I used to manage a movie theater and our manager uniforms were the same grey wool slacks, matching ties and Oxfords, and a blue blazer. This blazer looks exactly like the one I wore then; obviously, the AMC version didn’t cost 1/3 of the value of this one, but it’s still identical (to these untrained eyes) to the one I had to wear 12 hours/day, 5-6 days/week, for years. So I’m never wearing a jacket like that again (anyway, it’s just not me–too corporate-conservative, although I’ll probably be the only one at the ceremony who isn’t an investment banker, so there you go).

I did briefly consider RTA’s Halloween costume suggestion (dress up as a Republican), but I’ll try the following: See what the return policy is for store credit (just in case, since the jacket will be barely used), and if that doesn’t work, donate it to Goodwill as a tax write-off. And no, I don’t think it’s “tacky” to return clothes after a once-off, as long as it’s not damaged and no deception is involved (I honestly can say “I don’t like it, won’t use it, and have changed my mind.”)

As for a couple other comments:

  • The knock-off idea was definitely out. These people would know the difference, probably at 100 yards. Not an option.

  • I don’t know where they’re registered, but we’ve got dibs on the gravy boat. :wink:

  • Not going wasn’t an option either. He was the Best Man at my wedding, and he is my friend (though we’re recently reconciled after an extended falling out over, well, what he did as my Best Man). However, I may not make the bachelor party since it’s possibly going to be in (gulp) another country. :rolleyes: Oh, and it’s also tentatively scheduled for Thanksgiving weekend. I’ve already missed one engagement party that was 500 miles away (had a good excuse–whew!)

  • When I showed my wife the jacket, she covered her eyes. Now, she’s threathening to wear white at the ceremony. :smiley:

Gotta go book those St. John tickets, now…

Thanks everybody! :slight_smile:

dammit i thought this thread was about blue lasers.