The most important thing when dressing for someone’s wedding is to understand what level of formality the Bride and Groom are expecting. Unfortunately, some of the modern-day Dress codes such as “Summer chic” can mean a lot of different things to different people. Some find it festive with an open collar shirt while other consider a formal suit. The entire point of dress codes is to keep all guests comfortable in the same level of formality so if you are insecure about whether they want you in a suit or a pair of slacks, please do ask the toastmaster or the couple themselves in advance.
Even with traditional dress codes there will always be room for some personal choices. Make sure to wear something that fits you and makes you comfortable in but remember that the wedding is not your personal runway show and you do not want to steal the focus from the bride and groom. The key in my mind is to focus on the subtle details such as the fit of the suit, the texture or material and tone down the most expressive colours (unless the dress code explicably says so).
Below you will find my interpretations of three different levels of formality in a wedding.
The least formal outfit in this article is deliberately based on a non-traditional dress code to provide inspiration on how to tackle it. In my opinion it is always better to be slightly over rather than under dressed at a wedding. I prefer to still wear a suit but in this case I’ve worn a light beige linen option with soft natural shoulders and an unlined back for a casual feeling. As a shirt I went with a white classic cut away with single cuffs and combined it tie a light colour and discreet pattern.
The entire look is focusing on summer with low contrast and works perfectly in the sun for a day wedding. The wedding shoes I’ve picked to complement the outfit is the new mid brown unlined penny loafers. They are smart enough to be worn with the tie but casual enough to be worn with linen. And remember, always wear socks to a wedding, especially when you wear a tie.
A slightly more formal and traditional approach that would be quite common in most Swedish weddings. It constitutes of a navy (or dark grey) single- or double-breasted suit, a white cut away shirt, preferably with French cuffs and cufflinks, a subtle tie and a pair of black shoes. Personally I’m a big fan of black loafers to a dark suit but for a more conservative wedding I would go with a pair of well-polished black Oxfords such as the Adelaide.
If you ask me, the Tuxedo or Dinner Jacket is the most elegant piece of clothing a man can wear. It is in the top of formality just below White Tie and normally worn in the evening. If the invitation says Black Tie, a tuxedo is the only option to wear just as it is only worn when it is explicitly asked for. There are many options on what type of tuxedo you can wear but my suggestion is always to stay with the classics. Either a double-breasted or a single breasted with a U-shaped waistcoat or cummerbund to cover your waist. The shirt can be a classic dress shirt with pleated or pique chest but most important is the fact that it is white with a cut away collar and French cuffs. You never wear single cuff shirts to Black tie unless you’re JFK.
On my feet I’ve chosen a shoe that is equal parts conservative as it is brave. The Opera Pump is one of the oldest shoe models for men and still the most correct option to both black and white tie. If you hesitate… remember, if it was manly enough for Frank Sinatra, it is manly enough for all of us.
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