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wedding-attire-for-men-explained

Style Guide

Wedding Attire
for Men, Explained

Wedding Attire
for Men, Explained

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. 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.

Black Tie Wedding Attire

Wedding dress codes have taken a modern turn — invitations now list perplexing dress codes like garden chic or desert casual. In response, some hosts are returning to the timelessness of the most traditional of all wedding dress codes: black-tie atttire.

Man wearing a formal black tuxedo

If a couple states a black tie wedding attire for their wedding ceremony, they most likely have a very specific, classic look in mind. Your go-to formal suit won’t cut it here. If the dress code calls for black tie, you’re expected to wear a tuxedo and a bow tie to the wedding.

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.

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

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 with flair, a grey tuxedo jacket.

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.

Velvet slippers as a black-tie formal shoe.

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.

Brown suit with a knitted tie for formal wear.

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.

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.

White pants with formal wear leather brown loafers.

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, for example, paired with a knitted tie and layered with an optional waistcoat s 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.

Navy blue suit for cocktail attire.

Cocktail wedding attire for men invites a more modern aesthetic than traditional black tie and formal attire options. A cocktail dress code s 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.

Tie-less single-breasted suits and double-breasted suits are great options for cocktail attire events.

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.

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.

A sharp tailored jacket with easy-going chinos for a smart casual look

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

Both elevated and casual 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. 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.

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.

Tropical Wedding Attire

There are exceptions, of course. If all caution is thrown to the wind and a truly relaxed, casual atmosphere is in order — like a family’s beach bungalow or a wedding reception held at beachfront tiki bar— you can opt for what we’ll call tropical wedding attire. Think, a lightweight jacket with a tailored fit, paired with shorts and a pair of espadrilles.

Leisurewear and comfort for the morning after a wedding at brunch.

Casual Wedding Brunch Attire

Wedding weekend festivities don’t always end at the conclusion of the reception, or even when the after-party finally wraps up. These days, it’s become customary for the couples, or their families, to host a farewell brunch for their guests, usually at the hotel where most guests are staying or another convenient location. A farewell brunch is a nice way for couples to see guests off, and for guests to catch up with anyone they might have missed or met the night before.

The dress code for a morning-after brunch, or even just a hotel breakfast, is always much more relaxed than the other wedding events. So unless indicated otherwise on the invitation, pop an aspirin, pour a coffee, and dress for relaxation (and recovery). Opt for pure Australian Merino wool men’s for a more refined, but still casual look. Or choose soft and breathable cotton blend sweats that look good enough for the farewell brunch while being comfortable enough for the ride home. Both work for the farewell brunch, and perhaps for one last goodbye cocktail before you hit the road.

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.