Summer is wedding season — you might have several weddings to attend over the warmer months, and deciding what to wear can be nerve-racking.

Menswear doesn’t leave a lot of room for creativity, but there are definitely things that can offend the newlywed couple. Avoid some of the biggest fashion faux pas with a few quick tips on what not to wear.

An Outfit is From Head to Toe

Men’s summer wedding attire might be casual or formal, but the shoes always need to match. If the dress is super-formal, a pair of opera pumps is the way to go. That means no laces and patent leather. If the wedding is casual, that doesn’t mean sneakers are always welcome.

Dancing is part of most weddings, so wear shoes that are comfortable on the dance floor. Oxfords, wing tips, basic dress shoes and a dozen other styles will work. Summer also means beach weddings, but that doesn’t mean sandals are always welcome. Try out your favorite wing tips with no socks to fit the theme.

Summer Says Comfortable, Not Casual

One of the nice things about a summer wedding is that many couples avoid the formal dress codes; therefore, lighter fabrics and comfort take center stage. To dress up a summer suit, don’t worry about long tails or a bow tie. Instead, focus on the tailoring.

Get a nice, but not necessarily bespoke, suit and have it tailored to fit. Once the sleeves, shoulders, hems and every piece fits your proportions, you have a comfortable suit ready for an all-day celebration.

Fabric First When Choosing a Wedding Suit

Summer is hot. On some days, it’s brutally hot, and not every venue has central air conditioning. You might wind up outside, posing for photographs. If a wedding is set outdoors, it leaves you facing the issue of sweat stains and heat exhaustion if you don’t have a suit made from the right fabric.

Cotton and linen offer a breathable fabric choice, but you don’t have to abandon wool altogether. There are tropical weight wool fabrics that look good and help keep you cool. Wool might sound heavy, but lighter weaves weigh in at just 210-220 grams per linear meter — almost as light as cotton.

Less Layers for Added Comfort

A summer weight fabric can still leave you uncomfortably warm if the suit construction includes an extra layer of lining. The lining can trap heat close to your body, giving you a flushed face and a yearning for an air-conditioned indoor setting.

Go for a suit with a half lining or no lining at all, so you can take advantage of every breath of air or hint of a breeze.

Summer Time Accessories

Formal weddings mean you leave the hats and shades at home, but a summer wedding might be the perfect time to break out the dark glasses. Avoid mirrored lenses at a wedding, but you can certainly wear sunglasses during an outdoor summer ceremony.

Being outdoors also means you can keep your hat on, and roll up your sleeves if the attire is casual enough to leave off your jacket. You can also have a bit of fun with a colored bow tie or some interesting cufflinks. Dress up a casual look with the right accessories.

Dress for the Beach..

When you head out for a beach wedding in the summer, you can dress down, but not for a day at the beach. No shorts are to be worn at the wedding. You can leave the socks at home and walk on the sand in boat shoes or loafers, and even unbutton your shirt’s top two buttons, but you can’t show a lot of skin.

Loose slacks, a button-down shirt and a jacket are the uniform of choice for a beach venue. Linen and seersucker suits hit the beach on the regular for a beach wedding. A tie is usually optional, so you can button up and tie one on, or relax a little and leave the neckwear at home.

Dress Codes Aren’t Seasonal

If you get a summer invite with a white or black tie dress code, it’s time to break out the tux. The hosts set the rules, and if they want a full formal affair, you should dress to match. That means a black tux jacket, vest or cummerbund, a white shirt and tuxedo pants.

Only go for color accents if you ask the hosts for permission first — you don’t want to draw attention away from the bride and groom. Sure, dressing up in a tux is uncomfortable in the heat of the summer, but a wedding day is all about the happy couple.

You can’t avoid the layers, but you can get there early and try to stake out a spot in the shade.

When in doubt about appropriate attire, you can always ask the hosts. It’s always better to get some clarity about the dress code so you don’t feel awkward on their special day. If asking isn’t an option, it’s always better to dress up, not down.

men's fashion advice

Ralph Lauretta

About Ralph Lauretta

Ralph is a co-owner of Sal Lauretta for Men. His areas of expertise include custom clothing as well as being the primary clothing buyer for the store. When not at work you can find him hanging out with his family, reorganizing his garage or watching a Denver Broncos game.