As spring and summer wedding invitations start to land in mailboxes, it marks the season for guys to begin planning their clothing choices to match the nuptial’s dress attire. 

A wedding, as a reminder to all procrastinators, is not the time to wing it and toss together an outfit with what’s hanging in the closet at the last second. Social norms are to follow the event’s dress code and sport a look to impress. You don’t want to be the person in the wedding photos that sticks out like a sore thumb and incites immediate frustration from the wedding party. 

There’s a standard formula and correlation of what guests should be wearing once you know the couple’s expectation, the wedding venue and the time of the ceremony.  

Groomsmen, of course, should be prepared to adhere to the bridal party’s dress and act accordingly with what the bride and groom are wearing. 

Two important points to remember as you seek the right look for the wedding ceremony and the reception: 

  • Tailored or form-fitting pieces are critical. Don’t be tempted by baggy or loose attire. 
  • Never forget about the shoes, which round out your appearance and show you’ve got the slick wedding look down cold. 

Here’s how it breaks down and what wedding guests should look for when shopping: 

Black-tie weddings 

While it’s not every guy’s garment game, black-tie weddings are the easiest to dress for and offer no leeway with your fashion choices. These are the most elegant affairs and generally take place in late afternoon or evenings. The formal look demands a black tuxedo, a sharp white shirt and a black bow tie paired with a black vest and black leather shoes. Dress your best, and keep it simple yet sophisticated 

Formal or black-tie optional weddings 

These wedding dress codes can be a bit concerning as it is somewhat ambiguous on what to wear, but the best rule to follow is you don’t want to be underdressed. It’s better to go high-style and carry a crisp, modern look. Tuxedos or suits should be dark-hued and matched with a white, neutral or soft-colored dress shirt. Feel free to express some flair with a vest, tie or bow tie. There is a general guideline to go darker with your colors as the later the celebration starts. Shoes are wide open to individual preference as long they match the outfit. 

Semi-formal weddings 

Many summer weddings fall into this category as the seasonal vibe leans toward a more relaxed and comfortable clothing expectation. There tends to be a middle ground here where it’s safe to dress down a touch, while it remains a bad idea to go completely casual. Plan to look as good or better than those around you. A conservative or dark suit and a solid tie is a classic, safe style that will work if the wedding you’re attending is in a church or you’re enjoying an outdoor venue. Black or tan shoes are the best option to accessorize the suit of your choice. 

Casual wedding 

Casual weddings are the most laid-back and open to interpretation, leaving the challenge of what’s casual and what’s smart to wear. Here are a couple of things not to do: Jeans or shorts. Those go too far toward casual. However, guests should feel free to dress down with khakis and a button-up dress shirt. You can opt for a polo-style short-sleeve and add a blazer if you’d like. Your shoe selection can vary from standard dress shoes to loafers. Skip the urge to go in sandals or flip-flops. 

The final word 

Three bottom line moves when it comes to wedding wear: 

  • Don’t wait to find the right clothes. 
  • Dress better than you think is necessary.
  • Seek help if you need it. 

For more advice and ideas, talk to your Libins fitting professional to create your best look.