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wedding-attire-for-men-explained

Wedding

Wedding Attire
for Men Explained

Wedding Attire
for Men Explained

Man wearing a black-tie tuxedo
Man wearing a black-tie tuxedo

Wedding season is always exciting, full of travel, celebration & memories. But it’s also full of decisions and uncertainty when it comes to deciphering dress codes wedding attire options and choosing what to wear to each wedding occasion, or even what kind of season you’re in. So we’re here to break down wedding attire for men—from black tie weddings to weddings on the beach, receptions requiring classic tuxedos to backyard weddings calling for smart casual suiting —our wedding attire guide will ensure you always look & feel on-point.

The Traditional Tuxedo

When choosing a traditional tuxedo, always remember the essential details: a stud button tuxedo shirt with french cuffs and cufflinks, suspenders (never a belt!), a silk bow tie, a pocket square, and, for your dress shoes, a pair of classic classic patent leather lace-ups.

Black tuxedo with black silk bow-tie and tuxedo shirt.
Patent leather shoes as a part of tuxedo attire.

The Creative Black Tie Dress Code: Black Tie with Flair

Traditional black tie wedding attire doesn’t necessarily have to be stuffy or lack creativity and personal style. Once you’ve mastered the fundamentals of black tie (ie: owning an incredible tuxedo), if the dress code calls for creative black tie, you can venture out and go a little bolder with your style horizons. Trade the conventional white tuxedo shirt for a silk turtleneck or pair black trousers with a bold dinner jacket made from textured velvet in sophisticated shades.

To top off the look, set yourself apart from the crowd by swapping your patent leather lace-up shoes for velvet slippers. Push the style envelope with a custom embroidery for an instant modern twist on a classic.

Creative black tie look with a beige velvet blazer.

Velvet slippers bring a modern twist to black-tie wedding attire, and are perfect for weddings requesting “creative black tie.” More comfortable than classic dress shoes like tuxedo oxfords, velvet slippers are a winning combination of style and elevated style and exceptional comfort.

Complete your tuxedo look with black velvet slippers, for any black-tie occasion.

Don’t be afraid to add a pop of color. Pair black trousers with a colored dinner jacket for a cohesive, yet dynamic look that will make an impact. Or, pair your classic tuxedo with black Italian calf leather sneakers to add a touch of street style to your elevated look.

Formal Wedding Attire for Men

The formal dress code, also known as black tie optional, keeps an elevated aesthetic, but doesn't quite require all the bells and whistles of traditional black-tie wedding attire.

Though not officially black tie, the formal wedding attire is still an undoubtedly a formal affair, and as such, you should dress appropriately for the occasion. Most evening weddings suggest formal wedding attire, so it’s a good idea to introduce a few formal attire options to your wardrobe.

Grey formal attire suit with a black tie
Navy suit for formal occasions, such as weddings and funerals.

The traditional way to wear a formal suit is intuitively simple: well-tailored jacket & trousers, a sharp dress shirt, a tie, and a pair of lace-up dress shoes. A classic navy or grey suit paired with a crisp white dress shirt is always a safe choice for formal wedding attire, and, of course, a staple that belongs in every closet. Having wedding suits in these classic colors will ensure you’re dressed appropriately for formal wedding events, including rehearsal dinners and receptions.

Formal Wedding Attire

Black Tie Optional Attire

As the name “black tie optional” suggests, adhering to the classic black tie dress code is of course encouraged, but not strictly required—but seeing as there are few occasions where you can sport your tuxedo, you should probably take advantage! With that said, it’s likely that most guests, especially if they’re not in the wedding party, will opt to leave their tuxes at home and go for formal wedding attire instead.

Formal wedding attire doesn’t have to mean sticking only to navy and grey- you can also wear colors like dark green and light brown.

Luckily, formal wedding attire doesn’t have to mean sticking only to navy and grey. Unlike wedding events that require black tie attire, formal dress codes give you the opportunity to introduce some color, texture and pattern.

A light brown shade suit paired with a knitted tie and optional waist coat for formal wedding attire.

A light brown shade suit, for example, paired with a knitted tie and layered with an optional waistcoat is an easy way to level up your look and stand out among the other wedding guests. Complete your formal wear look with black or brown loafers or lace-up dress shoes, and choose a complementary pocket square to top it all off.

Cocktail Wedding Attire

Cocktail attire is quickly becoming one dress codes for today’s wedding, and for good reason. Cocktail wedding attire is meant to be fun and festive, giving guests the space and freedom to infuse more personality and creativity into their style for the wedding events.

White cocktail attire for a wedding or cocktail hour.
Light Double breasted suiting for a cocktail wedding occasion.

Cocktail wedding attire for men invites a more modern aesthetic than traditional black tie and formal attire options. A cocktail dress code is all about flair, and the party. Think about sipping drinks and eating hors d'oeuvres during cocktail hour, cutting a rug at the receptions and, for the wilder weddings, the after-party- that’s what this attire is meant to inspire & reflect. And, because it’s more relaxed than other dress codes, it means you can loosen up your look…and you can start by losing the tie.

To nail cocktail wedding attire for men, wear your wedding suit without a tie to give an air of carefree panache without compromising refinement. Tie-less single-breasted suits and double-breasted suits are great options for cocktail wedding attire. It’s also acceptable to lean into a wider range of colors—green and camel, or even pastel suits in colors like lilac or rose are all good, refreshing choices for cocktail wedding attire.

Light blue slip-ons paired with white trousers.
Dark brown tassel loafers for a comfortable attire.

Just because cocktail wedding attire for men allows for more adventurous sartorial choices, it doesn’t mean you can’t fall back on a tried-and-true suit in classic shades of blue, navy, or gray. As for your dress shoes, feel free to keep your patent leather lace-ups at home and pack something a bit more functional for the dance floor. Cocktail wedding attire allows for more comfortable and daring choices, like a casual leather loafer or a suede, monogrammed slipper.

Smart Casual Attire

Smart casual wedding attire can leave a bit of room for interpretation, but it still certainly means elevated and classy foundation. You’ll usually see casual wedding attire for men at fall weddings in a backyard, intimate, small wedding receptions at a casual location, or daytime weddings.

Our take on the smart casual attire means letting go of the standards of the conventional, conservative wedding attire and leaning more into relaxed refinement. Because casual wedding attire is less standardized, you’ll have more freedom to express yourself within your sartorial choices.

A light blue sharp tailored jacket to complement a smart casual wedding code.
A lavender tailored jacket to complement a smart casual wedding code.

Smart casual wedding attire means a sharp tailored jacket with your favorite pair of easy-going chinos and sockless loafer, completed with a bright pocket square to add some flair, color contrast, and personality to your outfit.

A smart casual wedding dress code also means more freedom of color. For instance, a spring wedding could call for lighter floral shades like light blue, pastel yellow and pink, while summer weddings can be a bit richer and bright. If the location is in a more casual setting like a backyard or restaurant, you could even substitute your button-up dress shirt for a crewneck, a popover, or even a henley knit.

Formal Wedding Attire

Opt for a crease-resistant fabric like our Traveller cotton, otherwise be sure to pack a steamer to ensure everything is wrinkle-free and, well, smart. Forget the dress shoes, and loafers. Crisp, clean leather or suede sneakers are a completely appropriate option for a smart casual wedding, even paired with a fun sock.

Beach Wedding Attire for Men

Elaborate beach weddings remain an increasingly popular choice. The sand, the sun, and the soothing sound of the ocean waves make the beach a natural choice for a beautiful destination wedding backdrop.

Be comfortable and functional in a tropical wedding setting with a light beige linen short suits.

But when it comes to what to wear to a beach wedding, it’s not always a clear choice for men. To start, the beach is no place for a dark suit and tie, and certainly not a place for dress shoes, so don’t worry about throwing those in your suitcase.

Man stranding wearing formal patent leather tuxedo shoes.
For a black-tie dress code, a black tuxedo jacket.

Look for a suit that’s both functional and comfortable in the sun and the sand. Formal beach wedding attire— to the extent that beach attire can be considered “formal”— can vary depending on the occasion, but it’s largely accepted (and expected) that guests will sport lightweight fabrics, like pure linen or cotton blends. Brighter shades like light brown, beige, camel, and light blues will also fit right into the theme and the atmosphere of a beach affair.

Shop all wedding suits online, and filter based on the required wedding dress code — Black Tie, Formal, Cocktail, Smart Casual, or Tropical. Don’t see the perfect suit? Book an appointment to buy a custom suit, but plan ahead. Custom suits delivery 4-6 weeks after fitting. To be safe, plan to have your suit delivered 2-3 weeks before the wedding festivities begin.