Courtney and Donnell Baldwin are a dynamic couple who not only love each other but love fashion. With a passion for dressing the man of the hour, the groom, these two love birds have created a unique business centered around grooms styling called Mr. Baldwin's Style. Taking their passion for styling and years of fashion experience, the Baldwin's embarked on the journey to create GROOMS. A stunning book of style and a go-to-guide for grooms, GROOMS helps men make the right wardrobe choice for their big day.
With a new book and growing business we had to get the scoop on the Baldwin's. From their love story to advise on marriage for newly weds we asked and they answered. Scroll down to read our 10 questions for the Baldwin's!
1. How did you all meet and fall in love?
Our love story dates back to October of 2004 when we were first introduced by mutual friends when we were both living in the Washington DC area. We dated for about four months but it seemed to be bad timing so just as quickly as the relationship started, it ended. We lost contact for nearly five years with no contact. Fast forward to 2009 when we reconnected via Facebook. By this time Donnell was living in NYC and I still remained in the Washington DC area. Our relationship took off very quickly again as if no time had passed. At this time we started our weekly trecks between NYC and Washington DC to be with each other. Needless to say we racked up many travel miles, but it didn't matter because all we cared about was being together. In February 2012, Donnell surprised me by proposing at a surprise 60th birthday party we were throwing for my parents (who share the same birthday). We wasted no time planning the wedding and were married at a Vineyard in Northern Virginia in September 2012. But the long distance story did not end there, we continued our long distance love story for another two years as I continued to work from Washington DC, three working days in DC and two in NYC. By September of 2014 we had had enough of the travel and I made the full move to my new home in NYC.
2. Did you have experience in fashion prior to writing GROOMS?
Donnell: I have 15 years in the fashion industry and nine years of that time was spent at Ralph Lauren. I am currently a Deputy Styling Editor for the largest luxury, global e-commerce menswear retailer.
Courtney: Although I worked in construction management for the past 14 years, my love for fashion has been part of me since I was a child. After marrying Donnell, it just made sense that we would pursue a business that focused on one topic we both love, fashion.
3. What inspired you all to pen your book GROOMS?
Many grooms are unsure of how to dress for their wedding day. The easiest, and most common approach is to just rent a tuxedo. Although many grooms will not hire a stylist for their weddings, they would seek guidance from a book. We wrote the book to help grooms find the look that best represents his personality, while complementing his bride and their wedding style and theme.
4. What does your creative process look like when prepping to style a client or style a photo shoot?
We are very detailed as it relates to prepping for either a styled shoot or a groom client. We gather as much information as possible about the couple, the wedding vision and how they want the groom to look. For styled shoots, we use mood boards, Pinterest, seasonal pantone color schemes, the venue, etc to make sure we are on track with styling the groom appropriately for the shoot. The processes are virtually the same, but we truly enjoy getting to know and connecting with our groom clients.
5. What trends are you loving the most in men's formal wear?
There has been a lot of emphasis on menswear lately. In particular, the use of non-traditional suit and tuxedo colors for weddings. We like this trend so much that we dedicated a chapter in our book to it, The Groom In Color.
6. What are your top 3 tips for grooms, as they select their attire?
1) Planning Ahead – It's important that a you plan ahead. Keep a schedule when planning your wedding attire. If you are planning to purchase a custom suit, you must account for the associated lead time. On average, it will take 6 to 12 weeks for custom suiting.
2) Hiring a Good Tailor – If you are unable to have a suit custom-made for your big day, it is critical that you enlist a tailor for your wedding day prep. The tailor will help to ensure that you achieve a nice fit without the cost of a custom suit or tuxedo.
3) Mastering the Details – In addition to selecting great suiting pieces, there are other details that help to perfect the look. Consider learning to tie a self-tie bow tie if you will be wearing one, selecting a tie and pocket square combination that doesn't match exactly, or adding a tie bar or collar pin as an added accessory.
7. How can the bride and groom create unique wedding day styles that complement each other?
We always recommend that the groom take cues from the bride. The bride's dress often sets the tone for the wedding. The dress often influences the décor, flowers and the wedding cake. We try to ensure that the couple looks great together and complements each other within the same level of formality while keeping the wedding style and theme in mind.
8. How do groom's take their wedding day attire and transform it for events after the wedding day?
Grooms can transform the same tuxedo or suit they wore for their wedding by simply changing up the shirt and tie combinations or even choosing a different shoe. Thinking outside of the box by pairing the look with a chambray shirt or other non-traditional wedding shirt options. We cover how a groom can wear one tuxedo three different ways in GROOMS as well!
9. What is next for you all and Mr. Baldwin's Style?
We are enjoying the momentum we are having with GROOMS and servicing our groom clientele right now. We are also looking for new ways to educate and inspire our clients – so if another edition of GROOMS is necessary, we'll be exploring that.
10. What is one piece of advice you would give newly married couples?
Be nice to each other. Love is patient, kind and does not lash out! Remember the words you say are powerful.
Photography By Alea Lovely Fine Art Photography