What to Wear to a Wedding – The Men’s Guide
With wedding season in full force, it’s important to realise that you should be adhering to the dress codes written on the fancy invitations you’ve received! Your friends have spent a lot of time, energy and probably many domestic arguments fighting over little details like this, so show your friends some courtesy and dress appropriately! That being said, we understand that sometimes dress codes can be really confusing (cocktail chic anyone?) so here’s a guide on how to be perfectly dressed for every type of wedding you attend!
Dress Code: White Tie
Suit: White tie is the epitome of formal attire and is typically associated with very formal events so it’s important that you know what’s required of you. A white tie dress code requires you to wear a solid black tailcoat, straight or pleated black pants cut with a higher rise so that it sits high on the waist, white waistcoat (vest), white bow-tie (preferably the self-tie kind) and patent leather shoes. Note that the trousers also must have a single or double satin trim running down the side. Accessories are also mandatory and include studs and cufflinks for the shirt and suspenders for the pants. Boutonnieres are also recommended but in a white tie setting, the only proper boutonnieres are white carnations and gardenias. Black top hats and white gloves are also common accessories depending on the time of the event and if you’re going to be wearing a watch, the only acceptable time-pieces are pocket watches attached to your waist coat.
Shirt: A formal dress shirt is essential and this means that the shirt is white in colour with a wing-tipped collar and a bib front (bosom), a stud placket and double cuffs.
Dress Code: Black Tie
Suit: If the dress code says black tie – there’s no two ways about it - you’ll need to get your tuxedo ready. Black tie events require you to adhere to a strict dress code and probably means that your friends are having a pretty formal wedding so a tuxedo is essential. It does not mean you can just rock up in a normal black suit and wear a black tie. The tux doesn’t necessarily need to be black – a midnight blue tuxedo or navy tuxedo makes a big impression and maroon and navy velvet tuxedoes have made a big come-back in recent years. Tux pants with a grosgrain stripe on the side are not really in fashion anymore, so that is not a requirement, however do ensure that your pants have side tabs and no loops.
Shoes: Remember – tuxedos also call for patent leather shoes or formal slippers so don’t ruin your outfit by wearing the wrong shoes!
Simon Pryce a.k.a the red Wiggle in The Henrik Tuxedo
Dress Code: Formal
Suit: Formal attire is the most common dress code for weddings these days so even if your invitation does not state a specific dress code, assume that it’s formal. Whilst it’s perfectly within reason to turn up in your 9-5 suit and shirt attire, it would be best to dress it up a little so you don’t really look like you’re just heading off to work. During the hotter months and especially if the wedding is outdoors, opt for lighter coloured suits like light greys, blues, and even better if they have a bit of texture or pattern. Dark charcoal suits and navy blue suits are also perfectly acceptable but if your suit is quite plain, make sure to add a bit more character through interesting accessories like a textured tie, vibrant bow-tie or a funky pocket square. Another way to dress up a dark suit that you might otherwise wear to work is to add in a vest. Nothing says dapper quite like a 3-piece suit. Go one step further with a gold or silver tie bar and lapel pin and to finish off the outfit, a sensible pair of oxfords. Always ensure that the colour of your shoes matches your belt and buttons.
Shirt: Whilst there isn’t really a rule on what type of shirt is acceptable, a custom-tailored shirt that fits you is far more important than the colour and weave. In general, aim for plain whites, blues and lighter colours especially if you’re wearing a darker coloured suit. In terms of cuffs and collar styles, there is again, no set rule but as a wedding guest, button cuffs are sufficient and a spread collar is always good for when you want to take off your tie at night when the dance floor opens.
Joe Button Groom and groomsmen in The Montana two piece.
Dress Code: Cocktail Attire
Suit: Cocktail is always a little ambiguous – you’re constantly left wondering if you’re going to be in the overdressed group or the underdressed group. The rule of thumb is that your outfit should be a little bit less formal than a formal suit but more dressed up than a casual get-up. Depending on what season it is, you can play around a lot with different textures and patterns. For a winter wedding, go for a plaid, tweed check or a nailhead solid to add a bit more body to the suit. For a summer wedding, go for a lighter wool or even a linen or cotton suit. Keep the suit to a 2-piece as a 3-piece might be a bit too formal for the cocktail dress code but don’t be afraid to bring out a bit more colour with a maroon suit or even a forest green suit.
Shirt: Whilst a white or blue will probably look best with a patterned or bright coloured suit, your options are wide open if you’re wearing a plain dark suit. Go for a two-tone check or even a small gingham check shirt – something that suggests you’re not just going to work.
Shoes: Depending on the suit, this is the one where you can bring out the suede loafers. Make sure the pant length is not too long if you’re opting for loafers.
Dress Code: Lounge Suit
Suit: The lounge suit is a little more relaxed than cocktail attire and usually called for at a beach side, garden or daytime wedding. A two-piece suit is more than sufficient and instead of the usual greys and blacks, opt for neutrals like beige, light grey or tan suit. Again, whilst a nice check wool suit will certainly be acceptable, linen and cotton suits in plain colours are also very popular. Ties and pocket squares are preferable and given that it is a more casual event, mix it up with a textured tie – a knitted tie or chambray tie would look perfect!
Shirt: A nice fitted cotton shirt in white or a light neutral colour with a point collar is perfect for a lounge suit dress code. Make sure the shirt is custom tailored to you as the chance that you will be sans jacket, especially for a summer wedding, will definitely be quite high. You want to make sure that you still look neat and stylish even without your suit jacket!
Joe Button Groom in a custom powder blue two-piece suit