Already receiving wedding invitations in the mail? While you’re getting in shape to fight the blue-haired ladies for the first batch of jumbo shrimp and making multiple runs to the open bar, looking sharp and being appropriately attired is a must. Here’s some tips from our friends at GQ.
Wedding season is coming and with it, piles of invitations that should clue you in on what to wear to your pals’ upcoming nuptials. But if you’re the type of guy used to putting on his “wedding suit” no matter who’s getting married, receiving a suggestion to show up in your best “Beach Formal” gear can be confusing. And, let’s be honest, annoying. So to help you avoid blowing your hard-earned bills on a new wedding-ready wardrobe (which you don’t need to do) or turning up to someone’s big day inappropriately dressed like a cowboy (Fancy Farm makes zero sense), here’s a go-to guide on how to ace every summer dress code.
What It Says: Black Tie
What You Should Wear:Sorry, guys—there’s no getting around this one. Black tie calls for a tuxedo, a bow tie (black tie means bow tie around these parts) and patent leather shoes or a pair of evening slippers. Of course, black tie doesn’t have to be black; pick whatever hue of formal wear you’ll feel best in, be it navy, charcoal, or swag-tastic ivory. If the invite calls for “Creative Black Tie,” you can to throw a pop-of-color pocket square or a patterned bow tie into mix. You cannot, however, show up in this.
What It Says: Formal (a.k.a. Black Tie Optional)
What You Should Wear: The same suit-and-tie rig you’d wear to an important meeting at the office this time of year. And just like your 9-5 kits, a gray or navy suit is going to be your best bet here. Pair it with a proper dress shirt (no button-down collars, please) and solid or subtle patterned tie to keep things on the dressier side. You can wear a tux if you’re so inclined but like the dress code says, it really is optional.
What It Says: Semiformal / Cocktail Attire
What You Should Wear: See above, but feel free to take some liberties with your underpinnings. A gingham would be a smart move. Same goes for a pair of sleek loafers instead of lace-ups.
What It Says: Beach Formal
What You Should Wear: The most relaxed suit you own. We’re talking a lighter hued (i.e. khaki, beige, buff, fallow, or whatever your favorite name for tan is) cotton or linen suit paired with a lightweight dress shirt, also in linen or cotton. You can opt for a dress shirt in a color, but the default is always crisp white. Leave the tie and socks behind but not the shoes—formal equals footwear, always (yes, even if there’s sand involved).
What It Says: Festive Attire
What You Should Wear: In short: have fun. That olive green suit you’ve had your eye on? This is the time to pull the trigger on it. But a swervy suit is just the start. Pair your uncommon colored tailoring with a patterned shirt (polka dots work particularly well), socks and a pocket square that packs an equal amount of punch, and footwear that will get you noticed. We’d even cosign wearing streamlined sneakers if the wedding’s going to have an easy-going vibe.
What It Says: Casual
What You Should Wear: First things first: no jeans—ever. Casual might not call for a tuxedo, but you still want to honor the occasion of two people spending a crapload of money on a party (okay, yes, and vowing to be with one another until the end of time). Opt for khakis or a pair of slim dress pants paired with either a button-up shirt sans tie or a logo-less, non-obnoxiously-hued polo shirt. Finish your look off with some polished loafers or suede desert boots.
What It Says: Dressy Casual
What You Should Wear: See above, add a blazer or your favorite sportcoat.
What It Says: Rustic Elegance / Garden Party Festive / Farmhouse Chic / Barnyard Bohemian
What You Should Wear: Our thinking is, the crazier/weirder/more annoying the dress code, the further back-to-basics you should go. So throw on your best suit for the climate, pair it with a white or heightened blue shirt and a solid, dark tie and go forth knowing you’ll be neither underdressed or overdressed—just well dressed.