Step up your sartorial game with our menswear guide to dressing for a summer wedding
Whether you’re the star act (the groom), or playing a supporting role (a guest), there are few occasions like a summer wedding, for men to really show off their impeccable style credentials.
Unlike the colder, darker months, which tend to call for a more sober dress code and colour palette, summer weddings allow for more personality and expression – and that opens the field up when it comes to choosing what to wear.
Whatever your personal style, though, it’s important to take into consideration the dress code, wedding venue and the anticipated weather, all of which will have a huge bearing on your outfit of choice.
With that in mind, here’s your fail-safe guide to summer wedding sartorial splendour, straight from the menswear experts, Louis Copeland and Sons. Take it away, guys!
DRESS CODE: BLACK TIE
HOW TO WEAR IT: Navigating a ‘black tie’ dress code doesn’t require a doctorate in fashion, so it’s arguably the easiest outfit to put together for a summer wedding.
If black tie seems like a uniform, well, that’s because it is. Dress sharply and smartly and you’ll be fine. If you’d like to bring things up a notch, though, bypass the classic black suit and trousers in favour of, say, a midnight navy tux with black satin lapels. It’s subtle enough not to overshadow the groom, yet still falls within the confines of this traditional dress code while also allowing you to subtly flaunt your fashion feathers.
If navy is a style step too far, consider personalising your outfit with some carefully selected accessories. Silk pocket squares, cufflinks and shirt button studs will all help you stand out amongst the sea of black and white.
DRESS CODE: FORMAL
HOW TO WEAR IT: There’s little room for error when attending a wedding with formal dress code. Quite simply, it calls for a suit and tie, and some smart shoes.
But while most men have a business suit in their wardrobe, that’s not to say that it will necessarily be suitable to wear to a summer wedding. The season calls for lighter colours and fabrics, as well as slimmer silhouettes.
Leave the safe-and-sensible black work suit in the wardrobe and, instead, look to any number of smart and contemporary alternatives. A cotton suit with a pristine white Oxford cotton shirt and knitted tie, for example, will always look the business. Or consider a linen or linen blend suit, which is highly breathable and will keep you fresh while looking sophisticated.
Colour-wise, navy is, as ever, a safe bet, but weddings present an ideal opportunity to up the ante, so if you're feeling bold, try muted pastel shades, or even striped seersucker.
For those keen to stand out from the crowd, there’s plenty of ways to personalise your ensemble. A pastel shirt – pink is a winner in summer – will add a pop of colour, for instance, as will a bright tie or pocket square. Discreet, rather than daring, should be the aim, though. Unless, of course, it’s your big day.
DRESS CODE: SEMI-FORMAL OR COCKTAIL ATTIRE
HOW TO WEAR IT: Semi-formal, rather like smart-casual, is a dress code that often strikes fear into the heart of men. But it needn’t; with some simple guidelines, it’s an easy code to navigate – and one that allows for a variety of looks.
A summer wedding with a semi-formal dress code requires a few key pieces: a jacket or blazer, non-denim trousers and some smart shoes. And that’s it.
A tie (or bow-tie) is optional. Socks are optional (although, given the weather, we’d recommend a pair of invisible socks, if you’re keen on working the ‘sockless’ look). Even full-length trousers are optional, if you’ve got the confidence to wear a pair of tailored shorts with your jacket and shirt.
DRESS CODE: CASUAL
HOW TO WEAR IT: Just because a summer wedding has a casual dress code, that doesn’t mean you don’t need to make an effort.
While there may be no obligation to wear a three-piece suit, you’ll still want to look smart and stylish out of respect for the happy couple (as well as yourself). The safest bet? Smart trousers with a button-up shirt and, for a more relaxed summer vibe, a pair of loafers.
For a really dapper alternative that remains casual, albeit with an edge, consider a pristine white polo with a linen jacket, dress trousers and some suede loafers or driving shoes. Add in a Panama-style hat for maximum style points to complete the look.