What to wear to a wedding: a men’s guide to dressing well

Photo by Gades Photography on Unsplash

Along with April showers, you can count on spring to bring with it wedding invitations – lots and lots of wedding invitations. It’s the season when happy couples everywhere seem to line up en masse to tie the knot. And all have one thing in common. They’ve spent the last six months painstakingly planning every detail of their perfect day, right down to their guests’ attire. Some will specify the requisite dress code in big, bold print, but others will trust their guests’ judgement. Are you up to the task? If you’re harboring any doubts, take five minutes to review Epic Mens’ quick list of basic wedding attire do’s and don’ts. Being a model wedding guest does take some effort, but both the bride and groom will thank you for it.

 Do follow the suggested dress code

If the wedding is an evening “black tie” affair, only a black or navy tuxedo with all the accoutrements will do. These include a black bow tie, white wing collar shirt, suspenders, vest or cummerbund, and polished shoes. On the other hand, if “black tie” is followed by the word “optional” or if the designated dress code is “formal,” you may opt instead for a matched suit, dress shirt and tie. In contrast, a “casual” dress code opens up more possibilities, many of which can be found in your everyday wardrobe. If it’s an afternoon wedding, pair dress trousers or chinos with a solid-color, button up shirt (no tie necessary), leather belt and lace-up oxfords. For an evening event, simply add a sport coat or blazer. Dress codes are meant to be a help, not a hindrance. Follow them closely and you won’t disappoint.

Don’t mistake “casual” for “come-as-you-are”

Yes, your hosts want you to be comfortable. No, they don’t want you to show up in your sweats and hoodie or your cargo shorts and Birkenstocks. Likewise, plan on leaving your jeans, trainers, tank tops, flip flops, and graphic tees at home. If it’s a choice between being underdressed or overdressed, choose overdressed every time.

Do be mindful of the season

When the seasons change, so should the fabrics and colors in your wardrobe. Fall and winter weddings are the perfect venues for wool and wool-blend suits, along with layered cashmere sweaters or tweed vests and knit sport coats. Colors should be rich and earthy. Think charcoal gray, deep burgundy, chocolaty brown and forest green. But when the days grow longer and brighter, your choice of fabrics and hues should lighten up as well. For trousers and shirts, choose lightweight, breathable cottons or cotton-blends. And for comfortable summer suits – try linen or seersucker. Pairing natural colors (sand, slate, bone) with breezy pastels will help ensure you look as cool and collected as you feel. A wedding is more of a marathon than a sprint, and dressing appropriately will help you stay comfortable from start to finish.

Don’t upstage the newlyweds

This is their day, not yours. Leave the bling at home, and stay away from all-white or all-black ensembles. Also avoid wearing colors similar to those the groomsmen are clad in. The last thing you want is to be mistaken for a member of the wedding party. Best to play it safe with a look that’s sharp, conservative, and somewhat neutral.

Give some thought to this list of do’s and don’ts the next time you receive a wedding invitation. Every wedding you’re lucky enough to attend is a day someone is going to remember for the rest of his or her life. If you’re looking for a reason to step up your fashion game this spring, you can’t do much better than that.
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