Guys, here's exactly what you should wear to that wedding you have coming up
It's wedding season, and that means that invitation you have hanging on your refrigerator door is likely going to be put to use soon.
Ergo, you're probably panicking about what to wear. Well, don't panic — we're here to help. We'll translate the invitation's instructions for you, with the help of longtime butler Charles MacPherson's etiquette guide "The Pocket Butler".
Black tie is often considered the pinnacle of modern formality (aside from white tie, which has been completely forgotten about, and is almost never worn aside from royal weddings). Attendees of evening weddings are, however, sometimes requested to wear black tie.
If that's the case, here's what you need to wear:
- A completely black tuxedo with a white formal shirt featuring a wing collar, finished with a black satin bow tie. Sometimes a black satin cummerbund is added, but that is becoming less and less common.
- Black socks and black patent leather shoes are non-negotiable for footwear here.
Black-tie optional (also known as "formal")
If you see "black-tie optional" on a wedding invite, know that wearing a tuxedo is not required, but whoever sent the invitation will most likely be wearing one.
A wedding with a formal dress code means it's just slightly less formal than a black tie wedding. It's up to you how closely you'd like to fit in.
- An appropriate black-tie optional outfit could include a navy suit with a formal dress shirt and a dark-colored tie (does not have to be a bow tie).
- Yes, you can wear a tuxedo if you like, and if the wedding is at night.
Hang on to your hats — we've now entered the zone of made-up dress codes. No one really knows what dressy casual means (is it dressy? is it casual?), so you can be a little more relaxed on what's appropriate, for sheer plausible deniability.
We recommend you err on the side of caution and wear a suit here, but don't go crazy. Keeping it minimal and seasonally appropriate will go a long way.
This is also what you should wear if there's no stated dress code.
Things get a little confusing the further down we go. No, casual does not mean you can wear jeans and a t-shirt.
Instead, you should read casual as: "I don't have to wear a suit." You should:
- Wear some type of jacket, like a blazer, over a collared shirt.
- Leave the tie at home.
- We also recommend avoiding jeans.
Cutesy Dress Codes — e.g. "Your Spring Finest" or "Sailor Casual"
Anything goes here. If the bride and groom don't care enough to be specific, you shouldn't go out of your way to try and please them.
Attempt to dress for the stated theme or latch on to a word like "casual" in the phrase, and dress for that. If you're confused, try not to worry about it. It's likely everyone else will be too.