Wedding season is in full bloom. It’s the time of year when young couples declare their love for one another in front of weeping family and friends, and then everyone proceeds to get inappropriately hammered on some ritzy golf course or banquet hall. Being a wedding guest can be a stressful position: you have to RSVP on time, find a date, get a good gift, and try not to appear to drunk in front of someone else’s elderly relatives.
One of the most difficult parts of preparing to attend a wedding is finding the right thing to wear. Weddings are tricky because they’re somewhere between a night out on the town and a family gathering. You can’t get away with wearing what you would regularly wear on a Saturday night, but you also want to have an outfit that’s a little bit more fashion-forward than what you would wear to your aunt’s retirement party. Plus, weddings can be a great place to meet people if you’re single, so you’ll have to clean up well if you want a shot with that cute bridesmaid at the end of the table. If you’re feeling the pressure to look your sharpest for those upcoming early-autumn nuptials, don’t sweat it — here are five tips to ensure that you’re the best-dressed guest at any wedding you attend.
1. Focus On The Details
Formalwear can be difficult for guys, because a lot of the options out there look pretty similar. You don’t want to be just another guy standing around the bar at a wedding reception in an innocuous suit that’s indistinguishable from the one the guy next to you is wearing. How can you make sure that you stand out? The key to having a knock-out wedding outfit is in the details. Small accessories can spruce up any outfit that’s falling a little flat. Consider investing in a sharp pair of cufflinks, or a pocket square, or a pair of speciality socks. These little accents will add some flair that will single you out as the snazziest dresser at the reception. But remember: Everything in moderation. Add too many eye-catching accessories and you’ll end up looking like the eccentric musician the bride and groom hired for live entertainment.
2. Coordinate With Your Date
If you’re attending a wedding with a plus one, make sure you consult with them before choosing an outfit. Nobody wants to be that jerk who looks like he tried to out-dress his date, and clashing outfits will ruin all the pictures. Wearing a suit that complements your date is a classy move — people will be impressed by your ability to coordinate. Plus, if you’re struggling with what to wear, your date’s outfit may give you some direction. For example, if your date is going to wear a ’60s-era dress, consider wearing a ’60s-era suit to match. Again, subtlety is key, though — outfits that match in a really exaggerated way are better suited to comic book conventions, not wedding receptions.
3. Dress Practically
Is the wedding you’re attending taking place on a white-sand beach in the Caribbean? Then maybe don’t wear a heavier, synthetic fabric. Go with a lighter, natural fabric like cotton to keep yourself cool. Are the vows and the reception happening one after the other with no time to change in between? Then maybe opt for a tieless look and durable shoes so that you can keep dancing all night long. Take note of the practicalities of the situation — location, weather, length of event — and plan your outfit around it. Weddings are all-day affairs, so you have to choose an outfit you can feel comfortable in for a long period of time. You’re not going to impress anyone with what you’re wearing if you feel worn out, too hot, constricted, or in any way uncomfortable in your wedding-day outfit.
4. Don’t Be Careless
Don’t leave your wedding outfit preparation to the last minute. This one is a no-brainer, but it bears repeating. If you haven’t thought about what to wear at least a week or two in advance, you could end up in the suit you wore to your junior prom, the one that hasn’t fit in years and has holes in the crotch. Take the time to shop around for something nice. Consider buying something new; weddings are once-in-a-lifetime occasions, and if you’re close to the bride and groom, it might be worth dropping some cash on something a little special. Get yourself a tailor — they’re generally not too expensive, and they can work with you to alter whatever clothes you have into something custom-made for your body type. And for God’s sake, make sure to shine your shoes and run an iron over everything before you leave the house. Presentation is everything!
5. Don’t Upstage
This is probably the most crucial tip. Being a guest at someone else’s wedding means that you ultimately have to resign yourself to the fact that the day’s events are not about you. It’s about celebrating the happy couple and their love for one another. Don’t steal the thunder by wearing some earth-shattering outfit. Play it cool and opt for something classic, a finely tailored suit or tux, nothing too over-the-top. If you wear something flashy, you’ll look like an attention-seeking dweeb who can’t let someone else have the spotlight for one afternoon. Most importantly, don’t wear a white suit. Yes, this rule applies to guys as well. White is the color the bride gets to wear. I don’t care if you totally look like James Bond in your white suit — don’t wear it. It’s just a dick move.