Men’s wedding attire isn’t supposed to be insanely complicated. Lucky for guys, it’s actually a whole lot easier than what women have to deal with. That doesn’t mean every man knows what to put on when he’s attending a wedding.
The fact is, more and more weddings are throwing dress codes and rules out the window, letting men wear pretty much whatever they want to the ceremony and the reception that follows. While that might seem ideal for guys that aren’t so fashion savvy, it can make the process of getting dressed excruciating.
Use this guide to men’s wedding attire to help you navigate the world of proper attire. Read carefully and you should know what’s appropriate for every wedding you get invited to – at least for the next few years.
When most guys think of wearing a dark suit to a wedding, they envision more formal events, but not ones that black tie. For the most part, that’s exactly when you should be wearing a suit that’s black, charcoal or midnight blue.
Your invitation might say cocktail attire or it might say something a bit more cryptic like formal attire requested. That pretty much means that you need a traditional dark suit.
Most weddings that require dark suits will be held inside, typically in venues that have a more elegant appearance, such as the banquet hall of a fine hotel, for example.
Light suits are ideal for summer weddings when you know you’re going to be outside and for weddings that aren’t supposed to be particularly formal. For the most part, guys think of light suits as those that are high blue, cream, khaki or taupe.
If you’re going to wear a lighter-colored suit, you need to know that the event isn’t supposed to be exceptionally formal. A good clue is where the wedding will be held. For example, if the wedding is outside or at a residence, you can surely wear a light suit.
Dark, formal suits in black, charcoal and midnight blue should generally be made of fine wool or, if you live in a place that’s relatively warm all year round, tropical wool. Quality wool blends can also work for dark suits in temperate climates.
Lighter suits are best made in tropical wool, light wool blends or linen. Linen is your best bet for a spring or summer wedding as long as it isn’t a wedding that requires formal dress.
You’ll also have a great linen suit in the closet for all your warm weather needs. Choose cream or ivory to get the most use out of a linen suit.
When it comes to shirt options for men’s wedding attire, you really can’t go wrong with a crisp, laundered white shirt. No matter what you’re wearing, you won’t look out of place in one. You’ll also have a nice, clean backdrop for your accessories and a well-tailored suit.
However, there are some other colors that can work at a wedding. Sky blue is always an excellent choice, especially for less formal weddings. Dark colors, such as navy blue and black, can work as well, but these are best reserved for cocktail attire and paired with a dark suit.
Weddings that are more casual should allow you to pair an off-white, cream or taupe shirt with a light-colored suit. This look is perfect for an outdoor summer wedding, for example.
Ties say a lot about your personal style, and even at a relatively formal wedding, you will have some leeway regarding what you pick. Most guys should still pick simple ties with minimal patterns for their wedding attire though.
If you’re going to a formal wedding, a black tie is never a bad choice. Even weddings that are less formal can still be an excellent place to show off a black knit tie or one with a little bit of texture.
Other acceptable colors include red, blue, silver and charcoal. If you’re going to wear a pattern, keep it simple with a minimal stripe or microdot.
Bowties are also very popular, and if you like to wear them, a wedding is a fine place to do so. Stick with solid colors though, and avoid tones that might look too playful, like banana yellow.
Similar to white shirts, black shoes are going to be your best bet when it comes to men’s wedding attire. They’re obviously essential for black and charcoal, but even men that wear brown with navy, high blue or colors like olive should consider a more formal black shoe for a wedding.
However, that doesn’t mean brown shoes are never appropriate. Just limit wearing them to more casual weddings where you’ve chosen a brown, khaki, taupe or linen suit.
Accessories allow you to show off your personal style at a wedding, but wearing too many makes you look like you’re just showing off. That’s not the look you want to be sporting on a couple’s big day.
Keep your accessories minimal. If you love French cuffs, wear your cufflinks proudly. If you always wear a pocket square, now isn’t the time to try something different. Just don’t pair all of the accessories you have together.
For the best results at a wedding, limit yourself to two of your favorite accessories. If you must, add a simple watch that blends well with your suit.