Just as you think you can put that suit and tie away for the summer, you get that invitation in the mail. It’s wedding season. And your best buddy is getting hitched. You immediately look forward to the free filet mignon and open bar; suddenly until you are overcome with anxiety. You remember those poor wardrobe choices from past year’s weddings. Like the time your color ensemble matched the bridesmaids to a T. Or when you sweat through three layers sitting in the beating sun at that beach wedding. Then there was the time you squeezed into that old suit that your mom picked out years ago. Not only could you not sit down without busting a button but you couldn’t show off your sweet dance moves without worrying about a more serious wardrobe malfunction.
It can be a bit overwhelming trying to figure out what clothing is best suited for the affair, and that also keeps you comfortable and pulled together the entire night. Admit it, you could use some guidance.
Read between the lines
Unless it’s Black Tie, the dress code made not be made clear in your invitation. However, the invitation itself may provide cues as to the appropriate attire. Colors used in the invitation can also let you know which colors to steer clear of when deciding on your wardrobe (again, so you don’t match the bridesmaids or centerpieces). Take note of the time of day. Daytime weddings tend to be more casual while evenings may indicate more formal affairs. Location can be a good hint as well. Is it an outside or tent wedding? – read: casual, with lighter colors and fabrics – or indoors? – formal, darker colors.
Keep comfort and cool in mind
Summer weddings generally call for more informality, providing the luxury of a more relaxed, comfortable look. If there is no clear dress code, go for a khaki or linen suit to fare better in the heat, and accessorize with a colorful pocket square or a printed tie. As a bigger guy, you’ve probably learned by now that solid color shirts are your best bet. To flatter your body type, remember that lighter shades draw attention, and darker shades detract. If you like to create a statement, go with chalky colors (or “pastels” as the woman in your life call them). Wear one at a time, or mix several to grab more attention. If you are self-conscious about your midsection, choose shirts in darker shades to complement lighter pants. For hot days and outdoor venues, just keep in mind that sweat marks are more visible on darker colors.
Beach weddings and some outdoor events give you the opportunity to drop the tie and wear a basic blazer and dress pants, drawing from colors like blue, cream, beige and grey. A white linen suit or cream linen is also acceptable. A paler suit also offers more flexibility for a brighter shirt and tie. You can also skip the dress shoes and opt for a comfortable loafer.
Semi-formal wear calls for a classic look with a dark suit. Colors such as black, charcoal or navy work best. You can also get more creative with color on the shirt and tie. For formal and black tie affairs, you may not necessarily need a tux, and can usually get away with a black suit, white shirt and black tie. I recommend checking in with your buddies to see what They’re wearing. You don’t want to be the only one in a tux and be mistaken for the wait staff.
Other tips to consider
- Don’t forget to wear an undershirt to keep you cooler in the summer.
- Stick to hot weather fabrics like cotton, linen, and rayon. Steer clear of nylon and, of course, silk.
- Choose vertical stripes over horizontal. Vertical lines are more slimming.
- Make sure your shirt is completely tucked in. Some XL sized shirts run short in terms of length. If you’re on the taller side or just have a long torso, select those labeled “Tall” or “XLT” to ensure appropriate length.
- Don’t forget a belt to complete your look. I find that the wider styles are most flattering on us bigger guys. If you can match your belt to your shoes, you’ll look really sharp.
These tips should take you from the ceremony to cocktail hour to the after party. If you have any other pointers, let me know in the comments section.