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What to Wear to (Almost) Any Wedding

By Synthese, Apr 25, 2016 | |
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    We get more questions about what to wear to weddings than just about any other menswear topic. With that in mind, we’ve put together a shortlist of what will be acceptable to almost any wedding. But before we begin, here are a few notes:

    • Yes, there are ways to dress appropriately that aren’t listed here. We get that some weddings are black tie occasions, and for some you’ll be on a beach wearing flip flops. Think of this as your starter’s kit. It will apply to guests, groomsmen, and even the groom - anyone who wants to wear a suit.

    • If you have a question about the dress code (what the hell is “casual beach formal?”), ask the happy couple. But not the night before the wedding.

    • A wedding is not the place to push the envelope, especially if it’s not yours. You’re there to be a respectful guest and to give your best wishes to the newlyweds, not to make the party about you. That means no red sneakers, no gold suits, and no purple shirts with pink ties. Again, if you know the couple, and have cleared it with them, or feel certain that your outfit choices are acceptable - great!

    • Unless you’re wearing a tuxedo (to an evening ceremony), don’t wear a black suit. Those aren’t for weddings. Grey or navy is going to give you the most versatility.

    • Don’t wear a “fun” tie. C'mon.

    The Wardrobe: What to Wear to (Almost) Any Wedding

    • Navy Or Charcoal Suit
      If you’re starting out, go for a solid, 3-season wool. That way, you’ll never be caught off guard. And no - before you ask, there is no such thing as a suit that won’t make you hot if it’s 80+ degrees outside. Also, please don’t wear black.

    • White shirt
      A white semi-spread or point collar shirt can be worn anywhere, and it will never look out of place. Just remember to take care of your laundry. Supima cotton (American Pima cotton) makes a great shirt - you’ll have to iron it, but all-natural fibers feel great against your skin, and hold their shape well.

    • White Linen Pocket Square
      Cheap. Simple. Effective. A white linen pocket square is never out of place.

    • Wedding Tie
      This isn’t the time for business stripes or frolicking Smurfs. You’ll want a traditional shepherd’s check, houndstooth, or glen plaid.

    • Belt
      Please, no giant belt buckles (lookin' at you, Hermès). That goes for every occasion - not just weddings. We prefer a silver buckle.

    • Shoes
      Black oxfords or derbies. If you’re a guest, well-shined brown shoes are acceptable (unless the groom has indicated otherwise).

    • Carnation
      Red is traditional - but if you're a guest, grabbing a flower on the way to the ceremony is great, too.


    Here's what to focus on:

    • Make sure the suit fits (that includes the pants). It doesn’t have to be the fanciest thing you’ve ever seen - a good tailor can make most off-the-rack suits look great. Remember that you'll probably end up in a bunch of photos!

    • Make sure the neck of your shirt isn’t going to strangle you. A slim fit shirt is great and all, but if you’re planning to wear it with a tie but can’t button the neck you risk looking prematurely drunk. And not in a good way.

    • Make sure the shoes are comfortable. There will be a lot of standing, milling about, and - hopefully - dancing, so if you’re going to have blisters before you even go to the venue...wear different shoes. And break them in BEFORE you wear them, because there is almost nothing worse than being prevented from having a good time because your feet are bleeding.

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