Men’s Fashion Advice: How to Dress for a Wedding

Men's Fashion Advice: How to Dress for a Wedding

If you walk into a room full of men and utter the word “wedding”, there will likely be a large, collective groan. With all the toasting, tuxedos, and mingling with distant acquaintances and strangers, wedding season can be very stressful. We’re here to take away some of that apprehension with this guide on dressing appropriately for a wedding.

Wedding Menswear Explained

Generally, if you are part of the wedding party, you’ll need to buy or rent a tuxedo, but if you’re on the guest list, you’ll do just fine by wearing a suit. However, your choice will depend on what’s written on the wedding invitation. Here’s how to decode them.

Black tie only:

For a formal wedding, you’ll need a tuxedo (yes that means guests, too!). Choose a black jacket, preferably with satin lapels, black trousers, a cummerbund, and a bow tie.

Evening dress/white tie:

Traditionally speaking, this means a tuxedo with tails, an overcoat, top hat, as well as a white tie. White tie is rare for modern weddings, but it’s sometimes still requested.

Black tie preferred:

If you’re a member of the wedding party, you’ll be wearing a white dinner jacket (for spring and summer nuptials) or a tuxedo. If you’re a guest, a charcoal gray or black suit will be fine.

Black tie optional:

This style is usually found on invitations to weddings held in the daytime. Wedding party members usually wear day suits or coats, but guests should wear suits in linen, cotton or tweed, in a dark or earth tone.

If the invitation doesn’t specify a type of dress, or if you aren’t sure what kind of suit to wear, you should base your final decision on the time and season when the wedding occurs. For spring or summertime day weddings, linen/twill suits are acceptable; for a beach wedding, you can go without a tie and just wear dress trousers and a blazer in a shade of gray, beige, or cream. For night weddings held in the summer and spring, guests should avoid scratchy, heavy and hot woollen suits. Choose a cotton suit instead, in gray, charcoal, or black.

If a wedding is being held in the daytime during the winter or fall, choose a wool or cotton suit in a neutral, dark colour. For night-time autumn/winter weddings, look at the invitation for clues. If the invitation is simple with casual phrasing, you can get by with a basic black suit. If the invite is ornately written, your best bet would be to wear a full tuxedo.

Don’t Forget the Accessories

Accessorising for a wedding is almost as big a step as your choice of suit. Start with the tie, where the knot you use is just as important as the style and colour you choose. For tuxedo wear, a satin or silk bow tie with a black cummerbund is the safest bet, but a black vest and tie are also a reliable option.

Belts should be black and thin, but for formal weddings and tuxedo wear, the belt is unnecessary as the cummerbund (and sometimes suspenders) are used. If you are part of the wedding party and want to wear cufflinks, choose silver or pearl for day weddings, and gold or black for night-time events. Moving downward, your shoes should be plain toe, black or brown Oxford style. Now’s not the time for the wingtips you’d normally wear to the office.

Keep in mind that weddings can last for hours, and there will likely be dancing involved. Be sure that your clothes are not only appropriate to the occasion, but that they fit you well enough and are comfortable enough to be worn and danced in. If you follow the tips above, you’ll be remembered as part of a special occasion— for all the right reasons.

Written by Crispin Jones for suppliers of unique menswear and womenswear, Anna Davies. Click here to see their Barbour range.

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