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groomsmen picture

Men! Here’s how to dress for a summer wedding

Posted on: 17th May, 2018

This weekend sees Prince Harry’s royal wedding to Meghan Markle, and it’s fair to say it’s causing a fair bit of excitement here in Britain. It’s certainly one way to kick off the summer wedding season! The next few months make up the most popular time of the entire year for weddings, which means there’s a good chance you’ve already been invited to one or two yourself. Obviously, a good-looking suit will always be your first port of call when it comes to formal-wear. A slim-fitting option is ideal, with clean lines and perhaps a peak lapel to add a bit of interest.

Now, some say that men are lucky in the sense that we have a narrower band of choice for formal wear than the almost endless options for dresses, which means we arguably have less to worry about when it comes to making a sartorial faux pas. That being said, though, you might be surprised about the range of individuality and personal style you can express within even the most formal of attire – and when it comes to formal wear, never forget that there’s a delicate balance to be struck between intriguing self-expression and respectful deference to the occasion.

Happily, summer weddings are often more relaxed when it comes to personal style, but even so, we’ll provide a handy bit of guidance on how to make sure you’re neatly walking this line! We’ll be covering 4 main points:

1. Fabrics

2. Formality

3. Colour

4. Accessories

So – let’s get straight into it, shall we?

1. Shirting Fabrics

groomsmen at summer wedding

For summer weddings, you’ll always want to go lightweight when it comes to shirting fabrics. As well as the colour associations like we’ve mentioned above, anything too heavy (like brushed wool or Oxfords) will weigh you down and you’ll likely start to sweat in it, especially as you’ll be dancing!

Consider the country, too – a wedding in Scotland is likely to be a little chillier than one held in Spain. If a wedding is held in summer and the venue is abroad, you might want to consider linen, linen blends or lightweight poplins. A couple of examples from our own range of fabrics include:

Windsor plain white

Barbados Linen

Zephyr plain white

2. Formality

Although it’s always great to push the boundaries of your personal style occasionally, on the whole, weddings aren’t the place for it. Remember the golden rule – no upstaging the groom! You’re allowed a bit of leeway here and there – for example with a touch of colour on ties, pocket squares and cufflinks – but maybe save the bright emerald suit for another occasion.

Often, judging the formality of the occasion is an art in itself. It’s best not to be more formal than the groom, true, but at the same time it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed. Don’t forget there’s no rule against asking the bride and groom exactly how formal they plan it to be – if they know you well enough to invite you, they probably won’t baulk at the question!

If you’re wondering about evening wear – by all means wear it, but only in the evening. The clue is in the name! If the wedding begins in the middle of the day, don’t wear your dinner jacket, as that is a classic example of upstaging the groom.

3. Colour

suit colours

Once you’ve got a good handle on the formality of the event, that will already form a foundation of understanding for which fabric colours are acceptable. Just to be clear, though; lighter colours and fabrics are best for spring, summer and day weddings, while heavier and darker fabrics are more commonly associated with autumn and winter.

And remember, with only a few exceptions, the lighter a suit, the less formal it is. A powder blue suit might be great for hitting a few upmarket bars in the city, but if you’re the guest at a wedding you’ll want to go more in the direction of navy. (You might be able to get away with a lighter suit as the groom – as long as you clear it with your bride!) In fact, for guests a suit made of cool-tone colours like navy and white is frequently a safe option for weddings, as it’s formal but with just enough colour to make it interesting.

Here at Acorn we occasionally hear people ask “can you wear black to a wedding?” In short, you can do! Head-to-toe black, though, is a bad option, as it makes you look like you’re either attending a funeral or you’re a member of the orchestra. Make sure you wear a white dress shirt, especially if it’s a summer wedding.

4. Accessories

As we touched on above, the rules about formality and colour extend to wearing the appropriate tie. If in doubt, stick with classic colours like navy, dark or sand. Having said that, guests can afford to gamble a bit more with their ties and pocket squares than the groom can – as obviously they’re a bit more limited! In fact, pocket squares are a great idea for giving your suit a pop of colour and personality. As a bonus, if you later decide yours doesn’t quite fit with the occasion’s formality after all, then you can always remove it or tuck it out of sight.

pocket square

As for shoes, brogues are fine; recommended, even. They need to look smart (which means – don’t forget to polish them) but they need to be comfortable, too. Weddings are at least a couple of hours, and in all likelihood you’ll be taking to the dancefloor at some point, so you don’t want to be wearing anything that might…pinch.

We’ll leave you with a final tip. By all means, take all the time you need to make sure you’ve correctly judged your attire before the big day, and ensure you feel comfortable in it – both physically and in terms of your personal style. But once you get to the venue, concentrate first and foremost on having fun. It’s a day of celebration, after all – and we’re all likely to see a particularly big one this weekend!

Here at Acorn, we pride ourselves on maintaining an expansive range of shirting fabrics, which we stock in a number of fabric looks and colours. Feel free to browse them at your leisure, or give us a call on 01282 698662 if you’d like to place an order. We’re here to help!