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TRADE GROUP OFFERS HINTS ON GROOM'S ATTIRE

To many people, "cutaway coat" sounds like a prop Sid Caesar might have used on his TV show 25 years ago. "Ascot tie" sounds like something Louis Nye might have used to keep Sid down.

Many men view the word "tuxedo" in the same vein _ and with a lot of fear and trepidation thrown in, especially if they're unsure of what kind of formal wear is appropriate for their wedding day.The International Formalwear Association, an industry trade group, has a few suggestions on proper wedding attire for men, depending on the time of day and type of ceremony.

One of the most popular kinds of weddings is the contemporary, semi-formal daytime affair. For this, the groom should wear a tuxedo or tailcoat. Dark shades are called for in fall and winter, but pastel shades are fine for spring and summer. A white shirt, pleated or flat, and patent leather shoes complete the outfit.

A traditional, very formal wedding _ usually held in the evening _ calls for a black, full-dress tuxedo with tailcoat. The shirt should be pleated and formal, with a bow tie, vest or cummerbund to match. Shoes should be in patent leather.

For traditional, very formal daytime weddings, the groom is advised to wear a cutaway coat, gray striped trousers, gray vest, ascot or striped four-in-hand tie. Shoes should be patent leather. A top hat, spats and gray gloves are optional.

Groomsmen at daytime weddings have a bit more latitude in their dress, the IFA says, and suggests they be dressed similar to the groom but with a "possible variation in tie or vest." The fathers of the bride and groom and a ring bearer should be "dressed identical to the groom and groomsmen."

The IFA offers a pamphlet with suggestions on proper formal dress for weddings. To receive a copy, send $1 and a business-size (No. 10) stamped, self-addressed envelope to: The International Formalwear Association, 11 East Wacker Dr., Suite 600, Chicago, IL 60601.