How to Dress for a Summer Wedding

Urban Beardsman
How to Dress for a Summer Wedding

Weddings are as synonymous with summer as words like “beach” and “barbecue.” So chances are you’ll find yourself at the inevitable wedding this season. Dressing for weddings can always be a little confusing, I mean the invitation doesn’t always explicitly state what you should wear. A good way to be ahead of any wedding season conundrums is to invest in a quality suit. Choose a classic color (black, gray, navy) or, for those that have an affinity for suiting, pick up something season specific like a khaki or royal blue. Whatever you land on, you can use the pieces of the suit together or break it up depending on what type of wedding you’re attending.

Casual weddings allow you the most leeway when getting dressed. You pretty much have free reign over what you want to wear and you have a real opportunity to get creative. Now this doesn’t mean you can show up to someone’s nuptials in shorts unless you’re a sartorial savant like Pharrell. Keep in mind that no matter how casual the event, you want to come off as a modern-day gentleman and you’re still attending a special day in someone’s life (this means if you are going the shorts route, at least wear the matching suit jacket). Include at least one formal element. Stick to a dress chino or suiting trouser—they echo the importance of the day. Step outside the box with the rest of the pieces. Throw on a print or chambray utility shirt. Add a fun linen or cotton tie. Opt for a sneaker as opposed to a dress shoe. Have fun but remember to keep the couple whose wedding you’re attending in mind and create your look accordingly. When in doubt always go more formal. It’s always better to stand out for being overdressed as opposed to underdressed.

Informal weddings can literally mean anything. This category is probably the most prevalent and also has the opportunity to be the most confusing. Depending on the couple and the venue this could mean a full blown suit, but it could also mean just a nice trouser, shirt and tie. You’ve got to make the call but I would recommend at minimum a suiting trouser and a button up. As for the tie, opt for something fun like a polka dot or a floral print. Try throwing on a vest, one that matches your pants if it’s leaning to the formal side of things, one that coordinates but doesn’t necessarily match for a more casual event. Between the tie and your vest at least you’ll look like you know what you’re doing. When in doubt make other guests question their own style choices. That’s always on trend.

Black tie affairs used to be easy to discern what the dress code meant. I mean it says to wear a black tie right in the label. But my, how the times have changed. A black tie wedding can mean just as many things as an informal wedding. As ties and more formal attire have made a resurgence in everyday wear, black tie has rebelled and become more casual (if that makes any sense). Now this is not to say that you should wear a pair of Jack Purcell sneakers to an over the top formal wedding. Be appropriate and know when a situation calls for a tuxedo. However, if the opportunity to get creative avails itself in a black tie situation I’m completely on board with trying something out of the box. I say at the very least a black tie event calls for a suit. But try getting rid of the tie. Add a lapel pin instead and make it the star of the show. Or try a suiting pant and a shawl collar tuxedo jacket. If you feel ready for it, by all means get creative. If you want to play it safe, go with a tuxedo. If it’s good enough for Bond, it’s good enough for you.

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