'Tis the season! Well technically folks get married all year round but everybody and their mama seem to get married in the summer. I don't blame them, warmer weather, flowers blooming, birds chirping, I mean, who wouldn't want to get married in this season?!?! If you aren't the bride and groom, it is also time to dress up and look your best! Unfortunately, women tend to take this opportunity more serious than men. When I was working at Men's Wearhouse, guys would literally have to get dragged in by their significant other to pick out a wedding outfit, and left on their own, they would rather go in 'Viva Las Vegas' T-shirt and jeans even if it's their best friend's wedding. That's where I would come in as a wardrobe consultant and guide them (specifically the woman, she controls his wallet anyway) through the process of what to wear, types of fabrics, sizes, shoes, etc. Think about it, she's going dressed up and you want to show up like it was another day you and your buddy were going to the bar? Nah, truthfully, she wants to show you off to everybody that her man can be suited and booted too. So drawing from my past experiences at MW, I've put together a few tips for the fit man to look dappered down at a wedding.
In a recent post, Contextual Style, I spoke about how Mother Nature and the social environment plays a role in what you wear so let's unpack that idea. Mother Nature (summer), social environment (wedding), what would be important things to consider when picking out your outfit? Comfort. Loose. Cool(literally). All under the umbrella of being stylish, so let's dissect this even further with some tips and illustrations.
Alright, you're kinda meeting your significant other half way here. You want to look decent but not all the way dressed up, cool. How about the vest and pants combo? Not too formal or too casual, sort of in that sweet spot. As I walk around in these sartorial streets, I don't see much gents wearing these, they are on extremes of either suiting up or cargo pants it up. So what a fantastic way to thread the lines of formality without fully committing to it! Add an extra flair to it by rolling up your sleeves, not only those it show off your forearms but it accentuates those biceps you've been beasting at the gym. I always recommend getting a three piece to any first time suit buyer who won't be buying more suits after this any time soon. The versatility of options you get from it makes it seem like you have more than one outfit from the entire three piece look, to the jacket and pants combo, pants and dress shirt combo, jacket and jean/different color slacks/chinos combo, jacket, vest and jean/different color slacks/chinos combo and of course...........the vest and pant combo.
Ok, you still want to be comfortable and casual but your mom keeps telling you how cute you look in a suit. Very well, let's appease her without sacrificing what you want. Let's try to combine a casual clothing item with a formal one, polo shirt and suit. Wait, what? You can wear polo shirts with suits? You sure can with dapper finesse. Admittedly, I saw another style enthusiast wear this and figured let me try it out and it works! The average guy isn't thinking about combining the two so what a way to set yourself apart from the crowd. It's a great summer look, I'd go with bright summer colors for the polo and a neutral color like grey or navy blue for the suit. The polo shirt is naturally constructed to be loose around your torso and of course you won't wear a tie with it giving it more breathability. Of course when it gets really hot or you want to show your dance moves at the reception, you can take the jacket off and show those pythons with the polo. I heard weddings are great places to meet singles :hint, hint: Add a nice pair of loafers and a spring/summer time pocket square and you my friend will own the "sophisticasual" look.
So you want to be the cool cat at the wedding huh? And I mean that literally, it's a summer wedding you don't want to get too hot and with your luck the wedding day falls on a day the meteorologist says it's the hottest day recorded in history. Ok maybe some hyperbole there, the point is, it's going to be hot and you need to keep cool. The two suggestions above are great for hot weather climate but may I introduce something many men may not be thinking of, or if they are they shy away from it: linen. I was one of those guys who avoided linen mainly because of the wrinkles and rough texture, but those aesthetics are what draw me to it nowadays. Maybe it's because of my love for sprezzatura, a non nonchalant way of being stylish hence the wrinkles and not being "well put together". The main reason I recommend linen is because it's a loosely woven fabric therefore creating breathability so air can pass through not leaving you a hot mess, literally. I'm slowly embracing linen with two sport coats, not yet ready for a full linen suit, no linen shirts yet even though that can be a possible option to wear to a wedding. Bottom line is, linen is contextually appropriate, accentuating your style to be different from the rest because trust me, a lot of guys ain't wearing linen for the lack of knowledge about it or the aforementioned reasons why I avoid it.
I have a personal rule of thumb when it comes to weddings, you don't have to follow this, it's just me. My rule of thumb is: it's not your day, so don't dress in a way that makes you stand out and all the attention goes to you. The groom won't appreciate that and the bride DEFINITELY won't appreciate that (after all, it's technically her day, women plan this date from birth! The groom just has to show up). There is dignity in simplicity, no need to go overboard and over dress yet avoid the other extreme by showing up like you don't give a damn about how you look. To quote a menswear stylist I follow on Instagram, Jason Locust, "Dress outstanding, don't dress to stand out", couldn't have said that better.
This blog post is also accompanied by a look book that you can find by clicking here