The Dreaded Formal Event – Part 2

So with the sun slowly making an appearance in our everyday lives, it’s now the time for invitations to start pouring through your letter box. ‘You are cordially invited to attend…’ seems to be the only type of post I’m receiving at the moment. My current fashion conundrum is dressing for a variety of weddings that I have been asked to come along to. Firstly, it is because they are all taking place around the end of May, beginning of June period. Secondly, all three of these events are taking place in extremely different places with an even more diverse tone.

This really is the main consideration when it comes to summer weddings – where are they taking place? And once that’s been confirmed – what shall I wear? Well, let’s tackle this problem once and for all shall we.

Beach Wedding

Not my personal location of choice to hold my own wedding but, then again, who am I to judge? In any case, the very last thing you want to do when you attend a beach wedding is to be the guy who is sweating his body weight out in a wool or heavy weight cotton suit. Instead, opt for a suit in a lightweight material like linen, and choose lighter colours such as cement grey or camel. Pair it with a white shirt and black tie combination for a foolproof solution.

Also, remember your surroundings! If you’re on a beach with a bride and groom going footless, then don’t be the one trudging around in your brogues. A pair of dark simple trainers or sandals will do just fine in this setting. Forget flip flops and FORGET swim shorts. Please.

  • ASOS Carrot Fit Chino Suit
  • ASOS Slim Fit Light Grey Suit
  • WHITE SMART SHIRT
  • Ralph Lauren Black Label Crochet Knit Tie
  • Fred Perry Foxx Leather Plimsolls
  • PS by Paul Smith Leather Cross-Strap Sandals

You could also try something a little more relaxed and leave the jacket. Opt for a simple coloured shirt with some neutral patterned trousers and you won’t go far wrong. Try to keep the colours on a more muted tone to not detract from the bride of course. I find with this outfit a pair of neutral espadrilles will work just fine for footwear.

  • ASOS Slim Fit Shirt
  • ASOS Slim Fit Shirt
  • Turnbull & Asser Herringbone Cotton Shirt
  • Pendleton Meets Opening Ceremony Plaid Suit Trousers
  • BLUE AND WHITE SEERSUCKER SUIT TROUSERS
  • A.P.C. Cotton-Blend Seersucker Trousers
Daytime Ceremony (not at a beach)

By this mean an event that is taking place in something like a barn or farm for example. In an environment like this it is more likely that formal wear will be required, so this time forget skipping the jacket. What you can do is experiment with some of the summer fabrics available to you such as seersucker, madras or whipcord. These lightweight fabrics will mean that you will be able to wear a full on suit without any kind of discomfort or sweat patches. Again, you make a nod towards the weather by sticking to lighter tones in grey and blue but always make sure that you anchor them with a white shirt and black tie.

Or why not stick with your trusty cotton suit but mix things up a little by miss matching the trousers and jacket? A navy blazer combined with a pink shirt and white suit trousers is always going to be a great summer look. You can then have fun by using a patterned light coloured tie and pocket square. As for footwear, it’s best to maintain the formality by sticking to a pair of leather lace ups but why not have a bit of fun and go with a pair of saddle shoes in complimenting colours?

  • Paul Smith London Pink Classic Fit Shirt
  • NAVY TEXTURED SLIM JACKET
  • ASOS Smart Slim Fit Trousers
  • BLUE AND WHITE SEERSUCKER SUIT
  • Florsheim By Duckie Brown The Saddle Shoes
  • Mark McNairy New Amsterdam Tan Suede Contrast Saddle Brick Soled Shoes
An After-dark Affair

Once the sun goes down (or is on its way) it’s time to bring out some darker shades. Again you will still need a suit but this time keep things simple by going with a black cotton suit. Pair with a white shirt and a dark patterned tie and you can’t lose. However, because it’s highly unlikely that any one will mind you breaking a few rules, why not mix things up by swapping the trousers for a pair of slim black jeans? You could even combine them with some simple sleek black trainers for a classic smart/casual look for the reception. Or maybe change the straight tie for a bow tie to add a little more flair? Just remember your proportions – if you have slim suit lapels then keep the bow tie skinny as well.

An after dark event will always demand a more formal form of attire but as long as you keep things simple, there’s no reason you can’t have a little fun still. If you don’t fancy the full on black suit then try a medium grey cotton suit instead. As long as you keep your shoes and accessories simple (and preferably in black) you’ll be getting complimented more than you would think.

  • GREY SPENCER SLIM SUIT
  • BLACK NADAL SKINNY FIT TUXEDO
  • hugo boss black Mens Ronny White Plain Shirt
  • Paul Smith London Knitted Silk Bow Tie
  • NUDIE Slim Jim Dry Black Coated Jeans
  • TOE CORD NANNY STATE SHOE
One For All Occasions

This one is my usual go-to outfit when I don’t have the time or energy to prepare for a wedding. Put on waistcoat. As long as it is fitted, it will always make you look put together. Pair it with some suit trousers, shirt and tie and make sure the suit materials match and you seriously cannot go wrong.

  • NAVY 5 BUTTON WAISTCOAT
  • Black 5 Button Waistcoat
  • Salzburg Waistcoat
  • nicolo ceschi Single-breasted waistcoat
  • Band of Outsiders Single-Breasted Wool Waistcoat
  • Rag & bone Grosvenor Merino Wool Fronted Waistcoat
Accessories

Finally, it’s summer so don’t forget a few essentials! Sun cream is a must – you do not want to be the red guy in all the photos. If you want to wear a hat, make sure it’s made of straw and is simple and in a neutral colour. The same applies for your sunglasses and try to stick to classic styles such as aviators, persols or wayfarers depending on your face shape.

  • Persol Keyhole Sunglasses
  • Ray-Ban Acetate Wayfarer Sunglasses
  • Marc By Marc Jacobs Aviator Sunglasses
  • ted baker Mens Stern Natural Straw Trilby Hat
  • john hats<br /> Leather and raffia hat
  • gucci Straw panama hat with tan band
Final Tips & Sign-Off

For those of you who were just about to post comments along the lines of ‘but what about a wedding that’s not in summer’, that’s simple; wear a tuxedo. If you don’t want to wear a tuxedo, then wear a navy suit, white shirt and dark tie. Enough said.

Please all remember as well that as a gentleman this day is not all about you. You are not trying to outshine the bride or groom and take attention away from them. Keep your looks classic, but don’t be afraid to have a little fun and incorporate colour, patterns and accessories that will set you apart from the other guests without going overboard. Remember that with formal wear fit is KEY; get this right and you will be one of the best dressed there guaranteed.

Next week we tackle the ever difficult work party.
Matt Allinson