Heading to a wedding and unsure about what to wear? Look to the dress code for clues. Here is how to choose a suit according to the event's level of formality. In this post, we'll give you specific examples of the colors and styles of suits that are appropriate for each level of formality, with details about accessorizing.
Formal/Black Tie/White Tie:
White tie is the most formal dress code. Black tie is one step below white tie, in which a man usually wears a black tuxedo with a formal white dress shirt, black bow tie, black formal dress shoes and cufflinks. A black cummerbund or waistcoat is optional. A black cummerbund or waist coat is traditional and only fits into the most formal of settings. In most settings the cummerbund or waistcoat will feel slightly dated.
Semi-formal/black tie optional:
Black suits are only appropriate for formal occasions, so this is your opportunity to wear one if you don't want to wear a tuxedo. Wear it with a white or light-colored shirt, plain tie, and elegant dress shoes. Charcoal gray suits or navy blue suits are also great options if you don't want to wear a black suit, but keep things high contrast with a crisp white shirt and shined shoes for a more formal look. A white pocket square can really finish off the look.
Men can wear suits in medium to dark colors including all shades of blue and gray, or suits with subtle patterns. A shirt, coordinating tie, and smart shoes are appropriate for this dress code. With regard to shoes, you can wear slightly less formal footwear, such as leather loafers.
For a more relaxed or casual wedding, men can wear trousers, shirts, and blazers. Always bring a blazer -- of nobody else is wearing one, you can leave yours in the coat room, but it is better to err on the side of formality out of respect for the bride and groom. A tie is optional and shoes can be more casual, such as loafers or bucks. A brightly colored suit or seersucker suit also are appropriate.
It's important to note that the dress code should be clearly communicated by the couple on the wedding invitations and wedding website. If you are a member of the wedding party, we encourage you to follow the couple's instructions and contact the bride and groom or the wedding planner if you have any questions or need further clarification.