Wedding Outfit Etiquette for Men: Dos and Don’ts

With the weather warming up and the possibility of gathering again beginning to materialize on the horizon, we may have wedding season in earnest for 2021. If we do, you can’t inaugurate the season with a fashion miscue. Here are some of our dos and don’ts for wedding outfit etiquette for men.

DO: Keep It Dark

Even if it’s not a black-tie event, exercise restraint in your apparel with a charcoal, midnight blue, or dark grey suit. By all means, get creative with your ties, but if you’re thinking of renting a powder-blue tuxedo as a riff on ’70s proms, skip it.

DON’T: Wear White

A white coat or suit draws attention, but if you’re not the groom, that attention is undue. Don’t wear white as a guest, even before Labor Day. It could, however, make for a sharp ensemble at your own wedding someday.

DO: Wear a Lapel Pin

Much like a well-placed pocket square, a deftly deployed lapel pin is a perfect accessory. Many lapel pins identify their wearers with groups, clubs, and other bodies, but for a wedding, you may find it best to go with a pin that’s strictly aesthetic.

DON’T: Wear a Boutonniere

Boutonnieres are lovely accessories, but a flower will denote you as a member of the wedding party. Don’t commit the faux pas of tacitly imposing yourself upon the guests of honor with a subtle but well-understood marker.

DO: Err on the Side of Caution

There are too many dress codes for weddings nowadays. Semi-formal, beach formal, cocktail dress (not to be confused with a cocktail dress, which is probably not your fit), smart casual, and dressy casual can all meld into one if you’re not aware of all the minute distinctions. If you’re unsure of what to do, it’s best to stick with the more conservative option. It’s better to be overdressed than underdressed. If your coat becomes stifling, you can take it off, and if you don’t need the tie, you can stow it away for the night. But if you show up in a quarter-zip fleece and a pair of khakis because that’s your idea of dressy casual, you’ll have a much harder time fitting in.

DON’T: Skip the Tie

A dress shirt without a necktie can be too bold a fashion statement for some weddings. To observe good wedding outfit etiquette for men, use your tie as an opportunity for creative accessorizing and a burst of restrained expression in an otherwise conservative outfit.

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