TUPELO — For over six decades, John Rush has helped the men of Tupelo and Lee County find their perfect wedding suit or tuxedo.
Over the years, he’s seen it all, and though he believes suit trends have changed little in that time, he said options have vastly improved.
For the past 47 years, Rush has worked at Reed’s in Tupelo. By his estimate, he sells more than a thousand suits a year.
Rush fetched a 2-foot-tall cardboard box brimming with suit tags. These, he said, represent his sales over the last two months. There’s no telling how many generations of Tupelo men Rush has helped find the perfect suit.
“I’ve had my hand on just about everything in this store,” he said, greeting customers as they browsed the store.
According to Rush, suit trends — for weddings especially — haven’t changed much. He noted there has been an overall shift from tuxedoes to suits as the costs of suits started matching the cost of renting a tuxedo. Reed’s CEO Jack Reed Jr. echoed this, noting an individual could buy and own a suit at Reed’s for about $299 and tuxedo rentals fall around that as well.
Many eschew another iconic feature of tuxedos: tails. Rush noted that many who choose to rent a tuxedo forgo garment’s traditional tails and go for a more modern jacket cut.
“(Style) hasn’t changed that much, but more opt to change now,” he said.
Rush said there were two major suit styles most popular among modern customers: the Chicago fit suit and the trimmer, sleeker New York fit. Chicago suits have thicker lapels, larger armholes and an overall more traditional style; suits with a New York fit hug the torso tighter, with higher armholes and a thinner lapel.
Reed said not only have suit options expanded over the last few years, there has also been a noticeable increase in tie and handkerchief options.
Colors have also become much more diverse in wedding suits and tuxedos over the years. According to Rush, when he first began working as a suit salesman, options were limited to mostly shades of black for weddings.
Modern sensibilities have shifted toward a multitude of colors, from light colors like white and tan for summer and spring weddings to navy blues and grays alongside the traditional black.
Despite the expanding options, Rush said black is still the most popular wedding suit color.
The most important part of picking out a suit for any occasion, Rush said, is ensuring it properly fits the wearer. Rush does all the measurements for the suits and tuxedoes he sells, and alterations can also be done in-house.
“You fit the man, not the suit, and they will always be happy,” he said.
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