I love weddings.
You get to witness friends or family make a beautiful commitment, and there’s cake, and there’s dancing, and cake, and food, and cake, and everyone dresses up nicely, and there’s cake.
So many reasons to love a cake… I mean wedding….
Aside from baked goods, one of my favourite things about a wedding is the opportunity to wear a sharp suit. I don’t get many opportunities to dress up really so I always take advantage of a good wedding.
That said, the world of wedding tailoring can be a confusing place for even the most fashionable of men (let’s just thank God that we don’t have to buy a new dress, shoes and bag for every event!)
To help you out, here are my tips for making sure your wedding outfit is definitely one you’ll want to say “I do” to.
Keep it simple.
Coco Chanel once said “When accessorising, always take off the last thing you put on”. More often than not, the last thing I put on is my right shoe and I kind of need that, so I try and go by the maxim “less is more” instead.
Basically, try and avoid overkill. You don’t need the bright shirt and the patterned tie and the braces and the pocket square and the collar bar and the tie clip and the lapel pin and the pocketwatch. Perhaps pick one or two. If your suit has a striking pattern, go for a simple, plain shirt and tie. If your suit and shirt are more austere however, add a drop of excitement with some accessories – a good watch is always a great place to start – or perhaps add some colour and pattern with your tie and pocket square. Tie clips, cufflinks, lapel pins, and the like can be great additions, just don’t over do it.
Despite the above tip, a person’s wedding is probably the biggest and most expensive celebration that they will ever hold. It’s not another day at the office and it’s definitely not a funeral. Your outfit should reflect this. The typical black suit can get a little stuffy after a while, especially for a summer wedding.
When in doubt, try a slim fit two button suit in a navy or grey paired with a white shirt and burgundy slim (not skinny) tie. Instant classic. Or stand out from the crowd with a check suit – Prince of Wales and windowpane are my favourites.
You can also play around with colours and textures – try tweed or houndstooth. Or go for an interesting tie, or maybe try a bow tie. You could alternatively go tie-less and open-necked or try the ‘air tie’ (tie-less but with buttons done up).
Mix and match, pairing suit separates like grey trousers under a navy blazer or dress your blazer down with chinos. Try a three-piece suit, or on a hot day, eschew the blazer and just go for the waistcoat.
There are so many sartorial options for men nowadays so there’s no excuse for wearing the same black suit every time. Unless you just really like your black suit, in which case, you just do you.
It should go without saying, but it can be easy to forget: make sure that whatever you’re wearing is appropriate for the occasion.
What is the dress code? Is it outdoors or indoors? What’s the weather going to be like? Will it get colder towards the evening? Can I dance in that suit? What are the groomsmen wearing? Am I going to sweat too much? Are my shoes comfortable? What is my plus one wearing?
These are the type of questions you should be asking yourself to make sure you’re able to sit back and enjoy your friend’s special day without worrying about sweat patches or uncomfortable shoes. If it’s a hot day, try a light linen shirt or even a linen suit. Poplin is a great summer suit material too. Alternatively, tweed or wool will keep you warm on the colder days, as will a waistcoat.
Make sure it fits.
Once again, you’d think it wouldn’t need saying but fit is where a lot of men fall down when it comes to tailoring. With my lanky figure and unnecessarily long limbs, even I fall afoul of this sometimes.
If you don’t already know what your sizes/measurements are, a good trick is to go to fancy suit shops and let them measure you, which is often a free service. Then just buy stuff you can actually afford from other shops, once you know your size.
I’d recommend a slim fit suit – sparingly cut, but not as tight as an indie band in 2009 would wear – you’ll probably want to be able to breathe. If you need any pointers on fit, the boys at Esquire.com have you covered with an easy checklist.
It’s also important to maintain the shape of your suit, so avoid over-stuffing your pockets. Thankfully suits tend to have loads of pockets so you can stow your wallet, keys, phone and emergency tissues (no…? Just me? Ok, cool…) in different pockets without ruining the sleek silhouette of your suit.
And by the way, unless it’s a single button suit, never fasten the bottom button of your blazer or waistcoat – it’s basically just there for decoration. Leaving it undone looks slicker and, more importantly, gives you more freedom to move.
Don’t let your shoes let you down.
Shoes can often be an afterthought to an outfit – just something you throw on before you leave the house – but a bad pair of shoes can ruin a look, while a good pair can absolutely make one.
I’d recommend a good pair of brown brogues – they’ll go great with a navy or grey suit, while it’s best to pair a black suit with black shoes. It’s also worth thinking about your socks. They can add a fun pop of colour or pattern to your outfit or you could alternatively go sockless with cropped trousers for a more contemporary look.
Lastly, make sure they’re clean and polished – another thing that can be easy to forget until the moment when you’re late to the event and have no time to do anything about it.
Whatever you do, don’t turn up in a white dress! There will probably already be someone there wearing that. And one of you will have to go home and change.