5 Most Common Wedding Attire for Men To Make A Great First Impression
Choosing a wedding attire for men is a little bit like trying to find the Goldilocks Zone, that sweet spot that’s not too hot, not too cold, but just right. The same goes for your outfit: not under-dressed, not overdressed, but perfectly suited for the occasion. Here’s a short guide that will help you understand wedding protocol and will teach you how to look your best.
Things to consider when picking your wedding attire
Your first clue is, obviously, the wedding invitation. Most often than not, those invitations include a recommendation on guests’ attire, which means that half of the job is already done. The dress code specified on the invitation is not just a suggestion – it’s the desire of the bride and the groom for how their big day should look and feel, and it’s important to follow their lead. So, always, always dress according to the dress code on the invitation.
What to do when there’s no dress code specified?
Well, there are other clues that will help you pick a suitable attire. Your first indication should be the location: an upscale venue, such as a luxury hotel, for example, implies that you should wear an elegant, formal outfit. On the contrary, if the wedding takes place at, let’s say, a country inn, a smart-casual look will do the trick.
The time of day is also significant. Morning weddings are usually considered rather relaxed affairs (unless otherwise specified on the invitation), and you can wear something simple, like a casual, light-colored suit, for example, or even slack pants and a blazer. Afternoon/evening weddings are usually more formal, and it’s recommended that you wear dark colored suits or even tuxedos.
That being said, here are the five most common wedding dress codes for men and what each of them actually means.
Unless you’re rubbing elbows with royals, it’s very unlikely to be invited at a wedding that requires this particular dress code. But, just FYI, white tie is the most formal dress code out there and it involves a black tailcoat paired with black tuxedo pants, a waistcoat (which is a fancy vest of sorts), a white bow tie worn with wing tip tuxedo shirt and black patent shoes.
It’s also a pretty formal dress code, but a lot more frequently used than white tie. You’ll probably have to abide by the black-tie dress code at least a couple of times in your lifetime. If you want to visualize “black tie”, think James Bond when he crashes the charity gala and meets the gorgeous girl that will probably shoot him a little bit later, so don’t envy him. Anyway, a black tie dress code means wearing a black tuxedo paired with a white tuxedo shirt, a black bow tie, and black patent shoes. Cufflinks are a must, and you can personalize the look a little bit with a pocket square in muted colors or a checkered pattern.
“Black tie optional” or “Creative black tie”
Those expressions usually mean that the bride and groom would very much prefer their guests to be formally dressed, but they’re not comfortable with forcing them to wear a tux. So, it’s rather up to you, either wear a black or midnight blue tuxedo with a white shirt and a bow tie or an elegant, dark colored suit with a dress shirt and a muted color necktie.
Unlike the black-tie dress code, the creative black tie allows you (as the name implies) a little bit of creativity and playfulness. You could, for example, pick a patterned or checkered bow tie instead of the traditional black one or add a small splash of color to your outfit with your pocket square.
Cocktail wedding attire
Unless you have a very fancy family and circle of friends, most weddings you’ll be invited to will probably require you to wear a so-called “cocktail” outfit. It means that you can let your guard down just a little bit, compared to a black tie attire. It’s a medium-formal dress code that involves a nice suit (navy or blue, preferably, and entirely excluding black suits), combined with a solid but muted color dress shirt, necktie and dark leather shoes.
Casual dress code
Many men don’t quite grasp what “casual” means in the context of a wedding, but, to make things perfectly clear, no, you can’t wear jeans and a Tshirt at a wedding, and definitely not cargo shorts. The bride and the groom were gracious enough not to impose a dress code, but you still need to look put together for their special day. The most casual attire that’s still decent for a wedding is black pants, solid color or patterned shirt and a blazer. Also, any regular suit (other than black or navy) with a dress shirt and a necktie will do just fine.
Other factors to keep in mind when choosing wedding attire for men
If you decide to take your partner to a wedding, it’s important to let them know about the dress code for the event. Maybe your partner wants a little bit of color coordination of your outfits, which is always nice, so plan ahead.
Also, when you’re the “plus one” accompanying your partner to a wedding, don’t play it by the ear! If your partner didn’t say anything about the attire, don’t just assume anything will do. Maybe they simply forgot to let you know about the dress code, so make sure you ask.
Besides looking dapper at a wedding, you also need to be comfortable, and that’s why you should care about the fabric of your suit or tuxedo. If it’s a summer wedding and the weather is going to be hot, try to find lighter, thinner fabrics, and dress shirts made of natural fiber. Also, if it’s a morning wedding, you can juggle with the colors a little bit and pick something that will keep you from getting too hot, like tan or light gray suits.