From July to September of last year, at the height of wedding season, I had three that I answered, all in different cities and all with different dress codes. Which means I had to shell out a lot of money: three different flights and hotels to book, and three wedding outfits to buy.
The first two were outdoors, each in a different part of Maine, with one having a semi-formal dress code and the other a casual dress code. Even though they were up north, it was still the height of summer, and I realized my costumes had to be up to snuff. The one hanging in my closet – at least the only one that suited me – was a black woolen suit. It wasn’t going to work. So for the first wedding, I got my hands on a wool-silk blend in grey. I paired it with a white cotton shirt, beige linen tie and matching clutch. My shoes were brown loafers.
For my second trip to Maine, which took me two planes and a two-hour drive, I opted for a beige seersucker suit. Because the journey was long and the party relaxed, the light and already crumpled material was the most ideal thing to take along. So was a polo shirt, but I opted for a blue shirt at the last minute, which I kept unbuttoned. And because the rest of my outfit was casual, I decided to spruce it up with a pair of oxfords.
Basically, this key factor to consider before cutting a wedding outfit is the material. You want fibers that are airy and can help you stand in the scorching sun for hours. Wearing a light color will also help ward off the heat. And whether you’re invited or standing at the altar, the aforementioned outfits, along with others below, are the best options for a summer wedding.
(Oh, and like the last wedding, it was a black tie dress code in an air-conditioned environment. My black wool suit worked great.)
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Smart casual: the seersucker suit
Italian suit in stretch seersucker
The beauty of seersucker is that it is already wrinkled; it is the fabric most ready to travel. It’s also super light and airy, but has just enough structure to make you look sophisticated at any laid-back wedding you have coming up.
Dressy casual: the polo shirt
Soft cotton polo shirt
You don’t always have to wear a dress shirt with a suit. If the event is quite casual, a large polo shirt will work just fine, if not better.
Dressy casual: moccasins
Gommino driving shoes
Loafers are both easy and stylish, and this pair from Tod’s is one of the best.
Beach Casual: the cotton and linen suit
Ludlow slim fit unstructured suit jacket in Irish cotton and linen
Ludlow slim fit unstructured suit trousers
Although not wrinkle-resistant, linen and cotton are great options for a summer wedding. The fibers are denser, sure, but that gives them more structure, making them ideal for formal, semi-formal and casual events. The overall vibe really depends on the colors and the silhouette. Note: Darker fitted styles are dressier.
Beach Casual: the white shirt in Oxford fabric
The Japanese Slim Fit Oxford
Ah, a white oxford shirt. It’s an essential, classic style that every man should have in his wardrobe. But if you’re looking for a crisp new fit, Everlane’s 100% cotton fitted oxford is as reliable as it gets.
Beach Casual: the knit tie
Pointed Toe Knit Tie
There’s nothing like a beautiful silk knit tie to add texture to your overall look. (The same could be said for those made from linen and linen blends, too.)
Beach Casual: moccasins
Penny Townee suede loafers
If your suit is rather light, beige, brown or ocher loafers will certainly anchor your whole outfit. Chukkas in the same colorways are also a great idea.
Cocktail: The cotton and hemp suit
Slim fit unstructured double-breasted suit jacket in cotton and hemp blend
A cotton suit is already summer-ready, but when mixed with hemp it feels all the more airy. And if you really want to give an air of distinction, but keep a semblance of cool, try a double-breasted option in cream or tan.
Cocktail: The Dress Shirt
Stretch Regent Regular Fit Dress Shirt
With a cream suit, you’re going to want to add some color. It can be dark or light (like this purple option), but both will work. And depending on the dress code, you can add a tie or leave your collar unbuttoned.
Cocktail: The Silk Tie
Diagonal striped silk tie
If the wedding is a more formal affair, a large silk tie with an elegant pattern that picks up the color of your shirt is what you need.
Park Avenue Reinforced Toe Oxford Shoe
Since you class it up with a double-breasted jacket and tie, keep the momentum going by pairing it with brown oxfords.
Semi-formal: The wool-silk suit
Navy Blue Havana Suit
For chic parties, look no further than a suit made from a wool-silk blend. Styles in the material are usually perfectly tailored and have a slight sheen that will really enhance your look.
Semi-formal: the linen-blend shirt
Cotton-linen blend shirt
Brown and blue are color combinations that don’t get enough credit. So if you’re going for a navy suit, pair it with this earthy linen-blend style.
Semi-formal: the pocket square
‘Three Panel’ Silk Pocket Square
Semi-formal: shoes (just different enough)
Oba embroidered derbies
There are different types of dress shoes in a multitude of colors. All you have to do is choose your champion. But if you want something unique – something that will go well with that paisley pocket square above – check out this leather derby with fun embroidery.
Casual: the cotton twill blazer
Garment-dyed organic cotton-twill blazer
Some people prefer very casual weddings, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up decorum entirely. Keep it sophisticated with a single-breasted blazer, preferably in cotton twill, that’s both easy and elevated.
Casual: the gingham shirt
Regular fit gingham button down shirt
A dress shirt with a classic pattern is always a good idea. Mainstays include vertical stripes and the ever-reliable gingham.
Slim fit 5-pocket chinos
Chinos are the most standard pants. But Todd Snyder characteristically updated the style by tapering the silhouette and adding a bit of stretch.
Casual: Chelsea boots
Bruchsalflex ankle boot
Chelsea boots always look great with slim chinos. And this one from Aldo, in a rich cognac hue, will gel nicely with the barley-hued pants above.
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