It seems like everyone I know is getting married these days. Come June, my calendar (alright, Facebook event page) is full with invites to various weddings from various people I know. And with them come the never-ending and ever so daunting decisions on what to wear.
Now if you happen to be in the same situation as me there are only two options available to you – play it safe or play it by ear. There really is no middle ground because, at a wedding where the majority of people will be following the same rules, there is nothing worse than looking like you couldn’t make up your mind about which way to go.
If you do want to play it safe this summer allow me to direct you to my previous articles on tuxedos and the navy suit. Either of these are great choices for a wedding and are just as appropriate in the summer as they are winter. Just remember to opt for something in a lightweight material to avoid sweating and smelling a bit off. Stick with a crisp white dress shirt, a solid neutral tie and elegant black dress shoes and you can’t go wrong. But that isn’t really what this article is about.
What happens if you don’t want to play it safe? What if you want to have a bit of fun and show everyone that you’ve come to celebrate? If you can tell that someone (or better yet, the whole group) has come to have a good time, it only adds to celebratory mood and will make the world of difference to how you look back and remember the day. So this is really your time to go for it – and from a woman’s perspective, a guy who knows how to stand out from the crowd with style and confidence is one that deserves their attention.
However, I also appreciate that we all have to live within a budget, big or small. Regardless of whether you’ll be attending 2 or 20 weddings this summer you will probably be looking for something you can afford. And it is possible. The key things to remember are wearability and versatility. You want something that could be worn to all events and with a few swaps and changes can look fresh and new each time.
For a good outfit, especially a suit, you should be expecting to pay at least over a £100 but tailoring will be your make or break. Everything you buy for this event, make sure you take it to tailor and get it looking like it was made for you. It’s what will change your £200 outfit into £2000 one. Trust me.
So here are my Top 3 Summer wedding looks and how to get them on a budget: -
For those weddings that state formal, then it’s best to stick with a suit. But for the summer your best bet is to invest in khaki cotton version for maximum versatility – Alex covered this superbly last week in his guide to the khaki suit, showing you how to get the most out of it in both casual and formal situations.
I’ve picked one from Banana Republic that has a great fit off the rack and will need minimum tailoring, perhaps just some thinning in the trouser width. At £225 you have basically nailed 75% of your look, but you can find cheaper versions at ASOS and even H&M.
A suit like this is so versatile that it will go with plenty of pieces you should already have in your wardrobe. A fool proof pairing is a white shirt and black tie but it still looks great with blues, pinks and soft greens. I would also want to swap out the black tie for some kind of bow tie in a neutral colour such as navy or grey.
This suit looks great with any colour shoe, brown, oxblood, navy, black, you name it. A wedding is the only time that I suggest you pick black over brown as it maintains a formal feeling regardless of how creative or casual the rest of your look is. Personally I would pair the suit with a pink gingham shirt, like this one from TM Lewin, and a beautiful knitted silk tie in navy from the only place you should buy your ties from – Jump The Gun. Finish it off with some black Oxfords and a print pocket square and you’re off.
I haven’t included the black oxfords in the price because they should already be in your wardrobe and you should have already spent a decent amount on them to unsure quality and longevity. I will let you off if you have loafers because they are equally as good.
This next one is for a more casual wedding invite, perhaps at a big garden or barn. The important thing to remember is you should still wear a blazer but you can be a bit relaxed in the rest of the look.
Go with a lightweight navy blazer like this one from ASOS to give yourself a solid foundation and room to experiment with the rest of your look. Then try the classic summer collaboration of madras cotton and white denim. Both of these will prove versatile outside of a wedding setting and will boost your summer style automatically.
Then all you need are some brown bucks with a bit of character, like these ones with blue soles, and you are all set to go. And at a pretty tidy sum too.
This one’s for the slightly more adventurous out there and those with a slightly larger budget. It’s the same principle as the look above but you swap the madras shirt for a madras blazer. And if you are getting a madras blazer, there’s only one place to get it from – Gant.
Sure it will set you back a pretty penny but the beauty of this blazer is you can let it do all the talking and pair it with items I know ALL of you will have – such as some beige chinos, a white shirt + pocket square and a pair of black lace ups. That’s all you need, nothing else.
So for £375 that’s pretty much a bargain, right?
Finally, one for the man who just doesn’t have the time for all this faffing about. You’ve already got a nice collection of suits, shirts and other paraphernalia, why should you buy more stuff to clog up your wardrobe? And this is a fair point.
So how do you transfer your business suits into a fun wedding appropriate look without too much hassle? Easy. Swap that stuffy straight tie for a patterned bow tie (like any of the ones pictured below) for an instant style punch, lose the belt and pull on a pair of penny loafers. A pocket square wouldn’t go amiss but if we’re aiming for as little fiddle as possible then skip it all together for a leaner stripped down look. Perfect.
Total: Adjust to your budget.
So there you have it guys, a few ways to have a brand spanking new wedding look without breaking the bank (too much). The great thing about all these looks is their versatility, meaning with a few choice swaps you can be heading to numerous events this summer without anyone being the wiser. Which, in my book, is the essence of men’s style – a well curated wardrobe.