The ultimate guide to men’s wedding attire

Samuel Windsor's guide to the most common dress codes for weddings

We translate the most common dress codes to help men celebrate in style
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Not sure what to wear to a wedding? We’ve got you covered. Simply note the dress code on the invitation and consult our ultimate guide to wedding attire for men…

Black-tie wedding attire

black tuxedo for a wedding

All men look suave in a black tux
Image: miami beach forever

Don’t be intimidated by a black-tie wedding. It’s actually the easiest to get right: black-tie means black tuxedo. (Yes, it must be black – don’t wear a white tux to a wedding, as that may be what the groom is wearing).

Black-tie is a purposefully uniform look that doesn’t leave room for flamboyant accessorizing. The good news? Less choice makes it difficult to go wrong. Polished black leather Oxford shoes are the standard accompaniment to your sophisticated black tux, along with a black bow-tie and cummerbund. Don’t forget your white pocket square, crisp white shirt and discreet cufflinks.

A dress code of ‘Black-tie Optional’ or ‘Formal’ indicates that, if you absolutely cannot obtain a tux, the darkest suit you own (black or charcoal gray) is also acceptable. You should still pair your suit with a black bow-tie and classic black leather shoes.

Semi-formal wedding attire

Men’s light blue suit for a wedding from Samuel Windsor

A bright blue suit has a celebratory feel
Image: Men’s suits from Samuel Windsor

This stylish dress code is just a hair smarter than your Monday to Friday business attire. You should still wear a suit, but it doesn’t have to be dark. Here you’ll start to see lighter grays, brighter blues and tan suits, so choose your favorite.

A vest always looks good, but don’t agonize over the tie debate. Go ahead and wear a nice silk tie; you can always remove it if you find you’re in the minority. Now’s your chance to liven things up with a colored shirt if you feel like a change from classic white. You can also go a bit bolder with the accessories – try a lapel pin, tie bar, or colored pocket square. But don’t overdo it – just one strong accessory is all you need to stand out from the crowd.

You should still polish up some formal leather shoes, but they don’t necessarily have to be black. Brown Oxfords may complement your suit better. Just be sure that all your leather pieces match – belt, shoes and watch strap.

Smart casual or dressy casual wedding attire

Linen jacket and chinos is ideal smart casual wedding attire for men

Chinos and blazer are perfect for a smart casual wedding
Image: Linen mix blazer from Samuel Windsor

Dressy casual might seem like a contradiction in terms, but don’t let the word ‘casual’ fool you; a wedding is always smarter than a weekend BBQ. This style of wedding is a good chance to wear your favorite bright-colored or patterned suit. You won’t need a vest or tie, but a colorful pocket square adds some celebratory playfulness.

If you prefer not to wear a suit, this a great opportunity to put together some stylish separates. A smart pair of chinos and crisp button down shirt look great with a summer blazer or linen jacket. Go for brogues or loafers to finish things off.

If you’re still struggling to choose something suitable, take guidance from the season. Wool-rich pants or corduroy will keep you warm at winter weddings, while lightweight chinos are a comfortable choice for summer events.

Casual wedding attire

A patterned shirt and navy chinos for a casual wedding from Samuel Windsor

A patterned shirt and navy chinos work well for beach weddings
Image: Samuel Windsor

Let’s be clear: jeans, t-shirts, or hoodies are simply not wedding attire, even at ‘chill’ ceremonies. Your outfit should acknowledge the importance of this event in the lives of the happy couple! Strike the perfect balance by wearing a collared shirt, nice pants and comfy loafers. The easiest way to create a relaxed vibe is to go for a patterned shirt.

For summer weddings in warmer climates, a pair of summer-weight chinos will look smart and keep you cool throughout the ceremony. A simple linen shirt that allows air to circulate is a comfortable choice.

Attending a beach wedding? “Beach Casual” suggests a summery button-down shirt and linen pants, while “Beach Formal” indicates a light-colored linen suit. Neither dress code leaves room for flip-flops, no matter how sandy the venue. Loafers or boat shoes are your best options for a beach wedding.

Add British flair to your wedding attire

Look dashing in a tweed suit from Samuel Windsor

Look dashing in tweed
Image: Samuel Windsor

If you’re looking to inject some personality into your semi-formal or smart-casual wedding attire, why not draw inspiration from our fashionable friends across the pond?

The tweed suit is a classic British choice. This deftly woven fabric is comfortable, can be dressed up or down as required, and most importantly – allows you to channel a bit of that genial English charm.

Gallant British gentlemen such as Benedict Cumberbatch, Colin Firth, and Idris Elba have all sported the tweed suit with great success. It’s no surprise more and more Americans are following in their steps. For an authentic look, pair your tweed suit with a Tattersall shirt, country tie, and pair of leather brogues. You’ll instantly feel like one dapper chap!

Every wedding ceremony is as unique as the couple it celebrates, and each deserves careful consideration when it comes to attire. We hope we’ve given you all the information you need so that you can focus on the most important aspect of the event: celebrating with the newlyweds! 

Posted in Men's Style Guides.

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