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What to Wear to Today’s Weddings

What to Wear to Today’s Weddings

Wedding season is upon us. If you’re going to be a groom or a guest this summer, it’s worth carefully considering what you’ll be wearing to one of the few sartorial occasions left to us. A wedding invitation should tell you most of what you need to know, but dress codes today can leave much to individual interpretation, so here are a few guidelines.

Casual or Informal Weddings

These are supposed to be the most relaxed kind of nuptials, but they can be the most stressful to dress for because of the sheer variety of casual options. A good rule of thumb is to always wear a jacket. You can always take it off, but showing up in a jacket or navy blazer and pressed trousers shows respect, and you can lighten the look with a colourful open-collared linen shirt and patterned pocket square.

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Semi-Formal Weddings

This one is simple: it means a suit, ideally something simple and elegant. If you’ve been considering getting a made-to-measure suit, this is the occasion you’ve been waiting for. The suit has been perfected over generations to make a man look his best, so go ahead and enjoy a bit more formality than you may be used to. Linen, seersucker, hopsack, and gabardine are great options for warmer weather. Ties aren’t de rigeur anymore, but a suit always looks better with one – ideally in a cheerful solid satin or grenadine.

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Formal Weddings

A defiantly anachronistic British tradition that deserves to be revived elsewhere, formal weddings call for full morning dress (as distinguished from eveningwear) – and no compromises. This is essentially a uniquely elegant uniform, consisting of a flattering black swallowtail morning coat, a light-coloured waistcoat, and striped or houndstooth grey trousers. Spread-collared shirts and long ties are fine these days (unless you’ve been otherwise directed). Don’t forget a crisp linen pocket square, and don’t be shy about wearing a flower in your buttonhole. You’re not overdressed – you’re impeccable.

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That’s pretty much it, except for the one crucial bit of parting advice from that great American master of British elegance, Fred Astaire:

“When you’re in blue jeans, walk like you’re wearing tails, and when you’re wearing tails, walk like you’re in blue jeans.”

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