What To Wear To A Wedding

By now you probably have a stack of summer events you’ve RSVP’d to, from weddings to engagement parties, so now tough part begins, attempting to understanding that dress code and figuring out what the hell to wear. Unfortunately, we live in an age where dress codes have become more and more confusing and unnecessarily complex. But the good news is, I’m here to help you figure it all out and, more importantly, help you out with what to wear.

To begin unraveling what the hell “Beachy Vacation Casual Chic” or “Game Of Thrones-inspired forest semi-formal” really means, it’s important to think about the event and put it in context with four main types of dress code: black tie, formal, semi-formal, and casual. Once you do that, it’s as simple as can be. Stick to the four following examples and dress accordingly.

The Invite Says: Black Tie

The most formal code for obvious reasons, a black tie dress code means tuxedo only.

What To Wear: A tuxedo

This isn’t the place for a suit so embrace your James Bond moment. There are lots of tuxedo options these days, from navy to grey, but if you’re unsure, stick to the classic: black tux, white shirt, black bow tie, and white pocket square you can’t go wrong and provided everything fits properly, you’re going to look amazing.

The Invite Says: Black Tie Optional

Also Known As: Formal

This is the most common type of dress code for evening weddings and, similarly, formal events. You’ll see some people in tuxes but suits will be most common.

What To Wear: A tuxedo or dark suit

By all means, be the best-dressed man in the room and wear a tuxedo, I encourage it. But, a classic dark-colored suit, like charcoal or midnight navy, works equally well. Keep your shirt choice simple and go with white and keep the color in your tie to a minimum. Ideal combos include a white shirt with a simple black, silver, burgundy, or navy tie. I don’t really recommend a ton of patterns or colors here as it’s not really the place.

The Invite Says: Cocktail Attire, Evening Attire or Something with Formal

Also Known As: Semi-Formal

The most common type of dress code, especially for weddings and events in the afternoon or evening.

What To Wear: A suit or blazer with a tie

Depending on the time of the event (day or night) most suit and tie combinations will leave you looking like a sharp-dressed man. Charcoal, Navy, and patterned suits all work for this dress code. If it’s an afternoon or daytime event and outdoors, you could also wear a lightweight cotton suit or blazer combination, especially if it’s going to be hot. Feel free to add a pop of color or print as a personal touch if you’re feeling adventurous. A tie isn’t mandatory, but I always recommend one for events like this.

The Invite Says: Anything with “Resort”, “Beach”, “Garden Party”

Also Known As: Casual

Sure, it’s the broadest category but also potentially the biggest minefield. The most important consideration here is location and time of day. Daytime and beach events are pretty much an open field but I always say ‘dress to impress”.

What To Wear: Dressy Casual Shirts and Pants

Simple cotton, chambray, or linen shirts, chinos, and cotton dress pants work best. For a stylish touch, I recommend throwing on a silk knit tie. For an event that’s slightly more formal, say summer weddings and engagement parties or an evening event, dress up your chinos and shirt with a lightweight cotton or wool blazer and throw on a pair of loafers. You can also feel comfortable wearing all types of colors and patterns here, provided they’re appropriate for the event.

Don’t forget to check out my favorite picks from The Tie Bar to get you ready for wedding season!

Don’t forget to check out all my picks from the video!

Video Picks

Ties from The Tie Bar

Shirts from The Tie Bar

Now that you’ve got your wedding style game plan set to go, all that’s left is to brush up on a few dance moves.

POTW: Johnston & Murphy Burgundy Cap Toes

I was prepping for a fitting, and I came across these Johnston & Murphy burgundy cap toes that I thought you should know about. I’m not normally a fan of burgundy shoes because I often find the color to be difficult to wear and usually ends up being too much of a statement piece. But, these are different because the darker color is closer to a burgundy brown instead of the more reddish-oxblood color you often see with other “burgundy shoes” and that makes them much easier to wear. So, I had to make them my pick of the week!

 

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$155 – Johnston & Murphy Burgundy Conard Cap Toe 

Best Ways to Wear

The decorative broguing along with the brown soles adds a casual look to them making them easy to wear with your summer suits, like a green or navy cotton suit, or with some chinos or dark wash jeans. Blues, greens, and khaki go great with burgundy. If you’re ever unsure how to wear these, just know that whenever you wear brown dress shoes with a more casual outfit, you can easily wear these instead.

I also want to address the contrasting stitching. On more formal shoes it can be very distracting and pull the attention away from your outfit and really focus it on the shoes. But on a casual dress shoe, such as these, it works because you’re never going to be wearing them with a really formal outfit. So if you’re thinking about doing that, then please don’t.

Like I’ve said before, accessories are a great way to add some fun touches to your outfit and these shoes do exactly that.

BurgandyCapToeOutfits_AshleyWeston

 

Look 1

$40 – J. Crew Slub Cotton Deck-Striped T-Shirt
$68 – J. Crew Navy or Green Stretch Chino Pant in 770 Fit
$30 – Uniqlo Slim Fit Flat Front Chino in Navy

Look 2

$69 – Brooks Brothers Selvedge Oxford Sport Shirt
$70 – Levi’s 511 Slim Fit Stretch Jeans (in blue flame, dark hollow and stump town)
$228 – JBrand Tyler Fit in Blue Hood

Look 3

$358 – J. Crew Ludlow Suit Jacket in Italian Cotton Oxford
$188 – J. Crew Ludlow Suit Pant in Italian Cotton Oxford
Shirting – See my dress shirt article
Ties – See my ties article

Spring & Summer Suit Guide

There’s going to be some items in your closet that’ll need to transition for the Spring and Summer seasons, and that definitely includes your suits. If you’ve seen my other suiting articles and videos, then there’s some suits that’ll work year round, but there’s always room for some seasonal specific suits.

So let’s go through what you should look for in a Spring and Summer suit and the best shoes to wear during this time of year.

 

Colors

I love brown, green, and burgundy during these seasons, but I’m also a big fan of lighter colors such as: light to medium blues, light greys, and camel.

For bolder colors, like green and burgundy, I prefer that they’re solid because a pattern can be too bold of a look and make you look like a goofball.

Patterns

Experimenting with patterns is a perfect way to inject some fun and personality into your suits. I love windowpanes, plaids, checks, and stripes (ie. seersucker striped pattern).

It is perfectly fine to wear a darker color, like navy, but I always prefer to go with a navy windowpane or a nice navy plaid suit to help slightly break up the big swath of a dark color.

Fabric

During this time of year, there’s a lot of fabric choices to choose from – linen, cotton, seersucker, or a lightweight wool fabric.

Most Spring & Summer wool suits will generally be around 8 – 10 ounces, which is your typical year-round fabric weight. I tend to prefer 8-8.5 ounces as that’s a nice lightweight wool that’ll keep you comfortable.

If you live in a more tropical environment that’s hot and humid, I recommend going with fabric that is around 6 ounces, since it will be much lighter and more breathable. Linen is typically a very lightweight, breathable fabric choice although you will have to deal with the immense wrinkles that will accrue throughout the day – there’s just no way around it with linen, unfortunately.

Another really great fabric that doesn’t wrinkle and that’s quiet breathable is seersucker, which I really love. Traditionally, seersucker fabric is blue and white but there are a lot of different color variations these days.

Hem

pants - hem break - ashley weston
Aside from pattern, this is another area where you can add some flair to your Spring suiting.

There are 3 different hem lengths I recommend:

Exposed ankle – If you want a little bit of your ankle to be exposed than hem pants so they hit the top of your outer ankle bone. Make sure your pants are tapered pretty slim towards the ankle so that there’s not a bunch of fabric flopping around.

No break – When you want to wear loafers, have your pants hemmed so they’re barely skimming the top of your shoes. Again, pants should be tapered pretty slim towards the ankle.

Slight break – More versatile and appropriate for all occasions.

Pairing Your Spring/Summer Suit with Dress Shirts & Ties

For dress shirts, I love using pastel colors like light pink, light green, and sky blue and patterned dress shirts, like gingham and stripes.

For ties, I love polka dots, florals, and fun patterns during this time of year. I also really like using silk knit ties in solid colors since they complement the visually lighter suits. Just please, make sure your ties are proportional to your body type.

Pro Tips

If you want to inject some color in your charcoal or navy suit (that you already own), pair it with a gingham or striped dress shirt, or even a lavender or light pink dress shirt. This will help give a more Spring-vibe to your outfit.

If you go with a patterned suit, then make sure to keep your dress shirt and pocket square a solid color because you don’t want to go overboard with mixing patterns. The tie can have a pattern, though.

If you’re wearing a solid Spring colored suit, then gingham and striped dress shirts in pastel colors look really good here. You’ll want a bolder solid colored tie so that it stands out from the shirt and compliments your suit.

Shoes

If you’ve watched or read any of my other shoe videos and articles, I’ve specifically mentioned that you should save your suede items for Spring and Summer, and guess what? Now it’s time to bring them out.

My 2 favorite shoes to use are suede monkstraps and penny loafers.

The Best Spring/Summer Suits

Lightweight Wool Suit

I love the Brooks Brothers navy plaid suit – it was so easy to style it in a couple different ways on my friend Jordan O’Brien from The Gentlemen’s Cove.

$490 – Brooks Brothers plaid suit

$300 – Topman Dark Brown Suit

Linen

The Burberry and J.Crew gingham print suit are incredible and will make a stylish statement this Spring!

$1995 – Burberry Linen silk suit

$546 – J.Crew Ludlow Gingham Linen-Cotton Suit

$150 – H&M Linen blue suit (see matching pants here)

Seersucker

I’ll be updating this section soon as more seersucker suits hit the stores.

$498 – Brooks Brothers Seersucker Suit

Cotton

$2795 – Ermenegildo Zegna Cotton Suit
$456 – J.Crew Ludlow Italian Chino Khaki Suit (and matching pants here)