Reviewed & updated: November 3, 2022 by Jamie Wilson BA
You are not alone if you are a man that has ever shown up at a wedding and has been unsure as to whether or not your attire was in step with the event’s dress code. Should you outshine the groom by showing up in your blue tuxedo, or should you stick to a dark grey polo shirt?!
Without question, the primary concern for any wedding attendee is not to upstage the ones switching nuptials, but you also want to be able to say you nailed the dress code. Wedding guest attire varies, but you should always follow certain wedding dress codes. There is sometimes trepidation associated with receiving a wedding invitation in the mail and the dress code states ‘casual’.
For men that are perplexed and bewildered over what casual wedding attire means, have no fear as Outsons is here to take you through the quagmire of dressing for the event from head to toe, complete with looks for the various types of weddings that could come your way in the future.
What Do I Wear to Casual Weddings?
When you see the phrase ‘casual wedding’, what immediately comes to mind? Defining a wedding as casual comes with its own set of worries as it is a very broad definition that can throw some people off and leave them with a flurry of questions on what is appropriate for the event in question. The ‘casual wedding’ dress code aligns with ‘business casual’ as they typically consist of the same items of clothing you would wear for the office. That eliminates denim pants, shorts, tank tops, and sandals from a wedding look. But aside from these items, you have a lot of options that still can be considered. No two workplaces are the same, however, and the same goes for wedding events, as they can change depending on the season of the year, local customs, secular or religious ceremony, the time of day, as well as the venue. As a general rule, it is advisable to always ask the wedding hosts just to be on the safe side to avoid a fashion catastrophe.
The Basic Do’s and Don’ts of Casual Wedding Attire for Men
The first and best part of casual wedding attire for men is that there are far more possibilities than dead ends when it comes to an occasion like this. Want a bit of inspiration, or perhaps you fancy this navy outfit? Take a good long look in your closet and get prepared as these are some guidelines to follow:
- Chinos and suit pants are great for a casual wedding as they can be worn for warmer seasons. For colder times of the year, lightweight wool pants are another good option.
- Printed shirts in plaid or stripes work great for a casual wedding event and can be paired with a blazer for maximum effect.
- Color is your friend for an event like this and since it is specifically not a formal attire occasion, you have been indirectly encouraged to bring out the color, so take advantage of the opportunity.
- Leave the T-Shirts in the closet. That is too dressed down for a wedding. If you would prefer to wear short sleeves for an event like this, choose a fitted polo or poplin shirt.
- No open-toed shoes for a wedding, unless you are at a beach wedding that is in the water (see below).
What is Casual Men’s Attire?
In general, casual men’s attire means a suit or dress shirt. Aiming for leather shoes, dressy trousers or khaki pants could do the trick. The optional list includes a necktie (although strongly recommended), bow tie, pocket square, cufflinks, and suede belt to complete a look. The term casual is risky, but men should understand that casual wedding attire requires at least dress slacks and a blazer if you are respecting such an important event. Remember to think tailored and dressed stylishly but through a more laid-back approach.
A casual wedding calls for a suit that pops with color. Although you could stay within the more traditional colors, this would be the perfect opportunity to go big on color or patterns that stand out. Do you like formal wedding attire? If you go bold with your suit jacket or blazer, pair them with dark chinos to effortlessly pull off a smart casual wedding look.
Suit Rules for a Casual Wedding
For men that decide on a suit to wear to a wedding, there are some guidelines that you should take into consideration to ensure the best look.
- Tailoring separates the men from the boys, so make sure the suit hangs perfectly off of your body.
- Remove all stitching on the pockets and vents before wearing them.
- Match your belt and shoes with your other accessories.
- Leave the bottom button unfastened on your suit coat.
- Shirt cuffs should reach the wrist and be half an inch longer than coat sleeves.
- Minimize your accessories and don’t overdo it.
Of course, a tailored white long-sleeved button-down shirt goes with anything and everywhere, but for a casual wedding, you have the possibility to mix things up and opt for a brazen aesthetic. You can also go for collar shirts or bow ties to smarten it all up.
You want to keep your footwear in the refined lane for a casual wedding, which means at the minimum loafers, with Chelsea boots or Oxfords a great addition to a semi-formal look. If you want to add a bit of fun, consider mustard, burgundy, or olive green loafers to match your blazer.
Suggested Seasonal Looks for a Casual Wedding
As stated before, there are several style options that men can incorporate for a wedding with a casual dress code, and Outsons is ready to go over some of the best men’s wedding looks that will keep you firmly in line with the edicts of the day and season, yet allow you the chance to sartorially shine.
During the colder months of the year, it is much easier to put together men’s wedding attire. You’re going to be dressing first for warmth and then comfort, which makes a knit sport coat combined with a sleek turtleneck a winner for a semi-formal wedding event.
The spring months are all about life and color, so for a wedding during this time, play up the motif even more by choosing hues that are vibrant. Combined a royal blue blazer, a textured shirt, and a bold tie for the occasion. If you plan on rocking a formal dress code, this combo is for you to consider!
When it’s hot out, you want the lightest materials possible for a summer wedding outfit, and for times like these, Outsons suggests a fitted pair of light colored chinos paired with a tailored short-sleeve shirt. A khaki colored linen suit is not only a smart and elegant look for a casual summer wedding but will keep you cool under the sun. Another great option for the warmer months is a seersucker suit in a light blue tone that is classy and timeless.
For a beach wedding, pair an ocean blue blazer with a light-colored shirt and a pair of sunglasses. Also what works well for a men’s wedding beach look is a cotton blend suit in a solid color as a sophisticated alternative. And, depending on how close you are to the beach, you may want to have a pair of flip-flops ready on standby!
A casual look doesn’t always have to include a blazer or jacket, and if you want to switch things up a bit, go for a pair of fitted pants, a fitted button-down shirt, and a waistcoat worn over it. Waist coats are part of formal dress and a vintage look that never grows old as it is a classic look and easy to pull off. Choose a necktie or bow tie that pops, add a brooch, and you are ready for the big event!
Shoes for Casual Wedding
When it comes to the proper shoes for a casual wedding for men, Oxfords are probably the go-to style for an occasion such as this. Other options include loafers and boots that look great with a pair of slacks. Since this is a semi-formal event, what first needs to be addressed is comfort above everything else.
Covering the Basic Rules to Casual Wedding Attire
- Think casual, but not too casual for a wedding event
- Casual wear still has some restrictions, so adhere to them
- No sandals at casual weddings
- Maintain a low-key, simple yet elegant look
- Wear lighter colored wedding attire during the day
- Opt for darker colors for evening weddings
Assessing the Accessories
You can never go wrong with a crisp white shirt at a wedding – just choose the right materials so that it’s not too thin. Cufflinks are in general considered more a part of formal attire, so if you decide to wear them at a casual wedding, select a French cuff shirt to complement them. There are no hard and fast rules for folding a pocket square – as long as the fold can be seen coming out of the pocket in a neat and tidy way, that’s all that matters.
Casual Wedding Attire For Men: The 411
Weddings are typically all about the bride + they are centered on what women are wearing (or should be wearing), so Outsons decided to break down the essentials of what to wear at the wedding for men for a change of pace. In the casual setting, men don’t have to panic and are left with a more creative license to achieve a truly personalized look. After reading this guideline, men will no longer have to worry about how to dress for casual wedding events. Ready to look your best?