Spring has sprung, and that means one thing. Wedding season. Let’s decode the dress code gentlemen.
The most formal of attire that leaves no room for interpretation. Black tail coat jacket, full white waistcoat, wing-tipped collarless dress shirt, self-tied white bow tie and patent leather dress shoes.
Unless you have royal or presidential connections, it is unlikely you’ll be donning this kind of kit. But we can all dream can’t we?
Simply put, this translates to a black tuxedo. Go noir or go home. Add a white dress shirt, black bow tie and black dress shoes. Visualise 007. Walk in slow motion.
black tie optional
Consider this to be the less stuffy cousin of black tie. Your host is giving you permission to personalise your tuxedo. Try a white jacket or a midnight blue ensemble, and style it up with a white pocket square, platinum cufflinks and a slick dress watch. Don’t venture too far from the Bond vibe.
Tailcoat, waistcoat and stripe trousers, often in shades of gray. Not unlike Hugh Grant in Four Weddings and a Funeral. I can’t help but wonder how he gets that floppy hair to sit just so. But I digress.
The most common code in the pack, essentially we’re talking about a business suit. Maybe I’m old school, but I prefer you to wear a matching jacket and trousers. I’m not going to discriminate with colour - the choice is yours. Navy, beige or grey. Cotton or linen will keep you cool in Spring (save the pinstripe wool for winter).
To tie or not to tie? That is the question. I say, if the wedding is being held indoors then definitely noose it up, but if the nuptials are scheduled beachside, forget about it.
If you are throwing caution to the wind and going sans tie, pay extra attention to your shirt. Starch the collar and tuck it inside the jacket. I’ll allow a little unbuttoning, but under no circumstances should a rogue follicle be given the opportunity to launch itself into my entree. We’re aiming for Tom Ford, not Steven Tyler.
This is a pet peeve of mine. I’m inclined to boycott it entirely. It’s far too vague, and guests take licence that it translates into anything goes. In case there is any confusion, let me clarify: Tommy Bahama shirts and cartoon ties are neither “smart” nor “casual”. They are just plain hideous!
So. What to wear? It is better to be overdressed than under. Wear a chino suit. Perhaps contrast the jacket colour to the pant. You can always remove the jacket, ditch the tie and roll up your sleeves at the reception, in the event your swagger is intimidating your fellow tablemates.
No worries. Call your host and ask silly!
the last word
Regardless of the dress code, buy the best suit you can afford. Design will only get you so far. Fit, will separate you from the pack. Please. Take your off-the-rack suit to a tailor who knows his way around an inseam and get your threads personalised.
A lady appreciates a man in a well fitted suit. And when I say appreciates, I mean, well, use your imagination. Am I right ladies?!