From the Style and Etiquette Man

What to wear: To a Wedding


Fieldy’s top five:

  • When choosing a suit for a wedding choose a plain suit.
  • If you’re likely to go to a host of smart weddings in the next couple of years, consider buying rather than hiring a morning suit. It will work out cheaper.
  • For your shirt and tie, if not going white, focus on the pastel colours.  Light blues, pinks and creams to compliment the suit.
  • Spend money on your accessories. Choose a quality tie, waistcoat and pocket square.
  • Don’t out do the Bride and Groom!

So, what do you wear? Thankfully in most cases the invitation will answer the question for you. At least as a starting point.

THE LOUNGE SUIT

These days if you are not in the immediate wedding party or the invite don’t state it, a “lounge suit” (incidentally a phrase I can’t stand) is your best bet.  For the record the the lounge suit is your classic suit. It could be a work suit, one in navy or grey, but if you’re the proud owner of suits that have pin stripes the width of a train track, it’s best to choose an altenative for this occasion. During the summer months think “light” – both in terms of fabric and colours. Go for a light weight wool suit, or perhaps a linen or cotton, if you’re in the right climate. If your suit is navy, team it up with pastel pinks or blues or the rock solid white shirt. It’s a wedding, so lose the sense of power dressing and warbrobe attitude you might adopt for work, and wear soft colours. You don’t want to distract from the stars of the show.

Morning Suit

MORNING DRESS

The name originated from the practice of gentlemen in the nineteenth century riding a horse in the morning with a cutaway front single breasted morning coat. In the evolution of time this has become a stable signature for more tradional church weddings. In the UK, morning dress is also worn to certain equestrian events such as Royal Ascot and the Derby. It also features as part of the school uniform for the public school Eton College.

Tradition might indicate that this should only be worn in the morning, but this isn’t so. It is more than appropriate to be wearing morning dress up until around 5pm, but after that the scenario should be different.

There is still something delicious about wearing a morning suit. Weddings are after all, all about tradition and for me, it’s always a pleasure to pop my tails on.

TIP: If the wedding dress code is morning suit and you’re thinking shall I hire or buy, my advice is to buy. By all accounts if you hire you are looking at a bill of around £120 for the weekend. If you’re hitting the age where weddings become part of a weekend regime during the summer months, you only need to go to two in order to justify the cost. Besides there are some great buys to be had. Marks and Spencer in the UK are offering tails and trousers for a mere £149. Fantastic value.

To add gravitase to the look spend money on the accessories. Quality shirt and tie, pocket square and waistcoat. Simple. While the waistcoat may set you back a little more than you had bargained for, it will make all the difference in the world to the end result. You can’t beat a single breasted silk waistcoat in light grey. Spot on.

THE SHIRT

As mentioned, stick to pastel colours if not going for white. This applies to both the lounge and morning suit options. With the first, a semi cutaway or full cutaway collar will look the part. With the latter, stick with a cutaway. It will sit better underneath the waistcoat lapel.

If you’re wearing a wedding cravat, otherwise known as the Ascot (being associated with Royal Ascot), choose the winged collar.

EVENING WEDDING

An evening wedding tends to call for the most formal approach – adinner jacket if it’s really formal. If it is being billed as an ultra formal event, consider white bow tie and cummerbund. To confuse matters, ‘White tie’ doesn’t mean that you have to wear all white, as most people get confused with. Shirts, waistcoats, ties and bow ties have to be white. A safe bet if unsure about the evening dress code is to go for a dark suit.  Again, pay attention to your accessories a good shirt, silk tie and waistcoat can make all the difference in the world.

Follow James at: www.twitter.com/MrJamesField

www.jamesfield.com

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