Weddings are an excellent opportunity to upgrade your style, especially if suits aren’t a common item in your everyday wardrobe. Even if you do wear suits regularly, weddings allow you to get more creative with colors and accessories. However, weddings can also be a bit tricky. You’ll have to abide by the rules if the bride and groom if they have a specific dress code or wedding theme that they would like everyone to stick to. And you certainly don’t want to upstage the man of the hour. So, how do you create the ideal balance of dapper but appropriate? We are here to help you find the perfect wedding guest suit for any type of wedding.
The Perfect Wedding Guest Suit
First of all, you need to find out if there is a dress code. It’s always easier to find a suit if there is a dress code as you’ll have specific guidelines to work from. Usually, the wedding invitation will state the dress code so you can get started right away. The most common types of dress codes are black tie, black tie optional, creative black tie, cocktail attire, and casual attire. What do all of these mean?
Black Tie optional
Black Tie creative
No dress code (no panic!)
1. Black Tie Wedding Attire
The black-tie attire is the most formal type of dress code, so you should wear a black tuxedo. Pair it with a black bow tie, white tuxedo shirt, and black patent leather shoes. You can also wear a neat white pocket square, but make sure you’re folding it so that it doesn’t stick out too much (it should look like a thin white line above the pocket).
Choose a black tuxedo, this is the standard option for this dress code. Then you can decide what kind of lapel you want: peak and round lapel tuxedos are the most standard ones, take a look at this blog post to choose: round lapel vs peak lapel tuxedo. The tuxedo shirt is usually a wingtip collar shirt because this one is the standard one to wear a bowtie.
2. Black Tie Optional
This dress code may seem a bit confusing, but all it means is that you don’t have to wear a tuxedo if you don’t want to. It may be clearly indicated whether you should or shouldn’t, but if you’re in doubt ask someone. If you don’t need to wear a tuxedo, wear a dark suit instead. Black, dark charcoal, or navy are all acceptable colors. Stick to a matching suit rather than mixing colors. Wear it with a white dress shirt, dark leather shoes, and a black bow tie or necktie. Like black tie, if you choose to wear a pocket square go for a subtle white one.
3. Creative Black Tie
As the name suggests, you can be more creative with this type of dress code. You don’t necessarily have to wear a tuxedo or stick to a certain color of suit. Think celebrities on red carpets: a dinner jacket tuxedo, tuxedo or dress shirt, black patent leather shoes, and a bow tie or necktie. For example, a white dinner jacket with black trousers and a bow tie. Or a burgundy dinner jacket with black trousers and a necktie. You can even choose a patterned or textured jacket, like velvet or paisley.
4. Cocktail Attire
This is another dress code that allows more creative freedom. You should still wear a dark suit and dark leather shoes, but you can start adding in more colors and prints with your shirt and tie. For example, a light blue shirt underneath a navy suit or a deep plum shirt underneath a black suit. You can wear a patterned necktie (floral, paisley, striped, etc) to break up the solid colors in the rest of your look. Cocktail attire is when you can also start playing around with your pocket square more and using different, more prominent types of folds.
5. Casual Attire
Don’t let the name fool you - this doesn’t mean you can wear a t-shirt and jeans (unless specified by the bride and groom, but this is very rarely the case). You should still wear a suit, leather shoes, and a dress shirt, but now you have the option of choosing any color you like. You may also choose a patterned dress shirt and skip the tie if you like. If you’re attending a spring or summer wedding, you can choose a lighter colored suit like blue or beige. If the wedding is later on in the year, grey or brown are always good choices. If you prefer dark colored suits that’s fine too. Casual attire gives you the most options in terms of color and style, but at the same time you don’t want to stand out and be overly formal with a tuxedo jacket and/or bow tie. Find a nicely tailored suit in a color that you like and you’ll look great.
What To Wear When There Is No Dress Code
Here’s when it really gets tricky. Nowadays there are so many different kinds of weddings and dress codes that it’s easy to get mixed up. Even if the bride and groom specifically told you that you can wear what you want, a wedding is still a formal event and you should be putting in the effort to look polished and appropriate. You can also gage the formality of the dress code based on the location of the wedding. If it’s taking place at a fancy church, hotel, mansion, country club, or banquet hall, chances are you should probably get a bit more dressed up. If it’s taking place in a park, garden, farm, or at a family home, it will probably be a bit more relaxed but that doesn’t mean you should skip out on a suit. A good rule of thumb is to stick to cocktail attire - you can’t go wrong with a nicely tailored, dark colored suit. It will come in handy for many other formal occasions like special dinners, parties, and galas, so it’s all all-around good investment. Or if you know that the wedding will be colorfull and in summer, wear a fashionable suit.
Summer is probably the most popular season for weddings. The days are long and the sun is bright and warm, so it’s an ideal situation to tie the knot. Destination weddings in tropical locations are also growing increasingly popular. This is great for women who have the luxury of wearing breezy sleeveless dresses, but what’s a guy to do to keep cool and look amazing? Choose a light colored suit like light blue, light grey, or beige. Not only will it look seasonally/locationally appropriate, it will keep you as cool as possible as dark colors attract the sun. Outdoor tropical weddings are automatically less formal than indoor weddings (golden sand and palm trees always lend a relaxing atmosphere) so you can wear a colored or patterned dress shirt. However, you should still wear leather shoes and a necktie.
Vintage Weddings are most commen nowadays. Weddings are planned outside or at a vineyard. To dress well at a Vintage Weeding, Tweed is the key. Tweed fabric looks very rustic and creates the style you need to have. Wear brown tweed and combine it with light blue. You can choose if you want to wear a waistcoat or if you want to upgrade the look with a blazer. It is up to you!
- If you’re wearing a bow tie, tie it yourself. A true bow tie simply looks better than a clip-on (plus it will give you a sense of accomplishment).
- Wear a three-piece suit. It’s traditional wedding attire, plus it will make you look more put-together. And lastly, if you’re attending a summer or tropical wedding and get too hot you can remove your jacket and just wear the waistcoat. You’ll still look amazing.
- You may be allowed to wear sunglasses to a summer wedding, but stick to a classic styles (like aviators) in simple colors. You don’t want your sunglasses to overpower your look.
- Try and find out what the groomsmen are wearing so you can differentiate your outfit. They and the wedding planners have worked very hard to create a specific image, so let it be theirs and theirs alone.
And lastly, make sure your suit is properly tailored and as comfortable as can be. Being a wedding guest is all about having fun, so your suit should allow you room to dance the night away. Enjoy the festivities!