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The Compass  /  Formal WearStyleWeddings  /  What to Wear to a Summer Wedding

What to Wear to a Summer Wedding

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We’re entering June, which means wedding season is in full swing. And even if you’re not the lucky groom, a wedding is one of those rare opportunities to drink on the house, show off those questionable dancing skills, and more importantly, dress up to the nines. So leave the office get-up for the cube, skip the rental tux from Joe’s One-Size Fit’s-All Formal and step into something a little more fitting for the special occasion—whether it takes place in a beautiful church, a cool city rooftop, a sleek modern wedding hall or the white sand beaches of some exotic island with a name you can’t pronounce (lucky you).

We know how confounding and stressful deciphering dress codes can be at times, so we’ve put together four looks for four different wedding settings so you can get through wedding season in style:

1. The Good Ol’ Church Wedding (Black Tie Formal)

Maybe the only real reason you’ve been waiting so eagerly for wedding season is to finally have an excuse to rock that fresh custom tux that you picked up earlier this year. When else are you going to tux up and strike a pose like God himself dressed you. Here’s a rule of thumb: if the invitation reads “Black Tie formal”, and you find yourself in a church, it’s the cue to keep it textbook and let the details do the talking.

Black Tie Formal means: A tux, black bow tie, cummerbund and patent leather shoes.

  1. Black Custom Tuxedo with Shawl Lapel by Black Lapel
  2. White Pleated Front Broadcloth Custom Tuxedo Shirt by Black Lapel
  3. Four-Pleat Cummerbund by Brooks Brothers
  4. Black Bow Tie by Black Lapel
  5. Tuxedo Studded Set Cufflinks by Black Lapel
  6. Solid Silk White Pocket Square by Black Lapel
  7. Black Patent Leather Oxfords by Alden

2. The Chic Wedding Hall (Black Tie Optional)

Maybe you’ve been waiting for that opportune moment to channel some Daniel Craig a la Skyfall with a modern twist on Black Tie (with a straight razor shave from a hot chick for good measure). Black Tie Optional means the host is probably wearing a tux and suggests that you get down with one too. Why not take the “optional” to mean a little more color rather than a license to dress down?

Black Tie Optional means: A tux or a formal dark suit and tie.

  1. Royal Blue Custom Tuxedo by Black Lapel
  2. White Pleated Front Broadcloth Custom Tuxedo Shirt by Black Lapel
  3. Black Bow Tie by Black Lapel
  4. Tuxedo Studded Set Cufflinks by Black Lapel
  5. Solid Silk White Pocket Square by Black Lapel
  6. Black Patent Leather Mayfair Formal Shoes by Allen Edmonds

3. The City Rooftop Wedding (Semi-formal, Dressy Casual)

All of your friends are either getting married or pregnant, but you’re just getting more awesome. So it seems like every week this summer you’re invited to a wedding, you know those cool rooftop weddings at a chic location on a breezy summer night. But what to wear? Your friend’s invite says “Semi-formal”, which usually means a full suit with a white dress shirt and tie (skip the tux). You see it as an opportunity to dapper up and have some fun.

Semi-formal means: A suit and tie, dark or light depending on the season and time of day. Nighttime usually calls for darker, more formal attire.

  1. Royal Blue Custom Suit by Black Lapel
  2. Pink Micro Check Broadcloth Custom Dress Shirt by Black Lapel
  3. Solid Royal Blue Tie by Black Lapel
  4. Navy Pink Ryon Knot Cuffs Links by Brooks Brothers
  5. Blue Twill Pocket Square by Black Lapel
  6. Pienza Brown Leather Oxfords by Boticelli

4. The Beach / Resort Wedding (Destination, “Beach Formal”)

Lucky you. Did your invite just say “Phuket, Thailand – round trip flight provided?” Yes, please. You block out the 5-day weekend on Google Calendar “Friend’s Wedding,” make it public for your coworkers to see, and jet on out of there with the summer suit you’ve been wanting an excuse to wear for the past two seasons. A lighter colored suit like a khaki or light tan is the name of the game. Breathable fabrics such as tropical wool, cotton and linen come into play if the temp hits break-a-sweat level. When the mercury rises you can lose the tie, unbutton the top button and even swap the shoes out for sandals if the ceremony is, literally, on a beach. Round up some Corona with lime and enjoy the show in style.

Destination or “Beach Formal” means: A summer suit (breathable, light fabric) with a linen shirt (no ties required), linen pants and white sneakers or sandals.

  1. Khaki Linen Blend Custom Suit by Black Lapel
  2. Slim Fit Linen Shirt by Club Monaco
  3. Gray Chambray “The Piggy Bank” Bowtie by The Knottery (optional)
  4. Brown Essential Braided Leather Belt by L.L. Bean
  5. Solid Lavendar Linen Pocket Square by The Tie Bar
  6. Men’s Bahama Boat Shoes or Boat Thong Sandals (if on the beach) by Sperry Top-siders

Now, look to your left and look to your right. If one of the people next to you has a rock on her finger that you dropped 1/4 of your annual salary on, then the next wedding you might be going to will be co-starring you. In that case, check out The Black Lapel Wedding Page to request a style consultation and get yourself a perfect custom suit or tuxedo for your big day.

Curious to see what a Black Lapel tailored wedding looks like? Style Blogger Barron Cuadro of Effortlessgent.com rocks one of our tuxedos for his wedding. Read about it here. 

Still on the fence about tuxing up for your wedding? Read his “Argument for a Formal Wedding Celebration” here.

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30 thoughts on “What to Wear to a Summer Wedding”

  1. Do black velvet slip on dress shoes go well with a tuxedo in the summer ?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Velvet slip-ons are one of the most stylish choices you can make for footwear with a tux. We wholeheartedly approve!

  2. Hi. Black Lapel seems to be ideal for men who want to look dapper. I wish I had a nickel for every man I’ve seen ill dressed for weddings, parties, etc. Can you please advise? For the groom in a 1920’s inspired, November wedding in Los Angeles (nothing costumey), do you think a shawl collar tuxedo would be appropriate? I like the way a white dinner jacket, with a black shawl collar looks as well. The groom even likes the idea of a velvet tuxedo jacket. What are your thoughts? P.s. I reviewed The Gatsby article and it didn’t seem appealing.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Thanks, Lili. If you want to see some well-dressed men at weddings and erase your memories of poorly dressed wedding parties, check out our Pinterest Weddings board.

      To answer your question, if you want to truly nail the roaring twenties look, stick with a peak lapel tuxedo. While the shawl lapel was worn then, in our experience, the photos of the most stylish gents of the era almost always included peak lapels.

      Also, a white dinner jacket would be a no-no if you’re trying to stick with the style of the era, since it wasn’t introduced until 1934. Velvet dinner jackets might have been around in the 20s (no definitive date on that one). In general, velvet dinner jackets are reserved for less formal affairs. If you’re going for a not-so formal tux look, this could work, but for a more traditional old-school look, we’d stick with worsted wool.

  3. I wish I had found this before January. I attended a wedding in Western Australia on a day they were climbing into 40 degree Celsius heat. Went for a simple black suit which I regretted before arriving at the church.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Yet another tragedy that could have been prevented by subscribing to The Compass emails! 😉

  4. BL,

    Is it possible to get either to Black or Royal Blue tux with grosgrain lapels instead of satin ones?

    Thanks!

    -Lawrence

    1. Yes, it is possible, Lawrence!

      Just email concierge@blacklapel.com and one of the stylists will take care of getting grosgrain lapels (and any other special requests) for you.

      1. FREAKIN. AWESOME. Seriously, BL, your guy’s openness to customer requests is so…. idk, how to describe. Just awesome.

        I’ve said it before, and I’m gonna say it again. I cannot wait to get my suits from you guys. I just gotta lose a few more lbs first and save a bit of cash, and you will have a dedicated loyal customer for years to come.

        1. Black Lapel says:

          We live for this stuff, Lawrence!

          As for shedding a few pounds, we can help you look like you lost a few lbs. when you put on your tux. Just be sure to ask the concierge to help you dial in your measurements and fit to get the most slimming look.

  5. Due to finances, I can only afford one tuxedo in the near future. Since it will be the one I wear to most tux-events, would the royal blue tuxedo be too predictable, as in, people will get used to it since it’s so recognizable? I feel if you can only afford one, then black is the way to go, and royal blue is for [extra] special occasions; however, I’ve never been boring with fashion, and the royal blue is definitely up my ally.

    Thoughts?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Too many black tie events, huh, Frank? That’s a pretty high class problem! You’re right about wearing the blue tux often, if you’re going to be at the same events with the same people a few times in a row, you do run the risk of looking like a one-style-trick pony. Good old, reliable black doesn’t have this problem. On the other hand, if “good old” and “reliable” are two words that are rarely used to describe your style, then go for it! The trick is, bring your A-game with the accessories. If you mix up the shirts, ties, cufflinks, even socks or bracelets, you can dress that bad boy up and down and differentiate the look every time you wear it. With the blue or the black, wear it with confidence and people will remember the guy in the tux, not the color of it.

  6. Will the tropical wool suit come in different colors other than khaki? Does the tropical wool have a cotton/linen blend to it?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      The tropical wool is 100% wool, but a lighter, summer weight. And yes, our Solid Tan Tropical Wool Suit will be the only suit featuring tropical wool for this season. As for blends, we have a beautiful wool/linen blend French Blue Check blazer in store for our summer collection!

  7. That tux looks great, makes me a little bummed I am not going the tux route for my wedding. Is that color really similar to the new solid navy suit? Can’t wait to get the swatches for the two new brighter blue suits you guys have coming out!

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Mike, if you’re referring to our new Solid Royal Blue suit–yes, it is the same fabric. And we’re just as excited to release them to the world! Let us know if you have any further questions when you receive the swatches!

  8. Christopher McFarlane says:

    You suggest a cumberbund with the peak tuxedo? When I sent a Facebook inbox message to your page on Facebook, I believe I was told the vest was more appropriate for the peak tuxedo because it followed the direction of the peak on the lapels, while the cumberbund accented the lapels on the shawl tuxedo.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Chris, great catch. You’re absolutely right. We’ve actually amended the first look to a Shawl Tuxedo to reflect this.

  9. Re: the first two outfits… reserve the cummerbund for the shawl collar tuxedo. Peak lapels go best with a low cut three or four button waistcoat such as these:

    http://www.ctshirts.com/men's-suits/suit-vests/Tuxedo-vest?q=usddefault||DJ009BLK|||||||||||||&so=y

    http://www.brooksbrothers.com/Silk-Barathea-Backless-Vest/021I,default,pd.html?green=BFC30634-AAAD-5DB3-A97F-B636D8FFD045&omnpp=recommended%20items

    (You can probably get either style as a special order from Black Lapel.)

    Additionally, skip the wing collar with black tie. They’re just not necessary anymore and a spread collar is much more debonair looking.

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Jovan, great point on the shawl collar & cummerbund combo. We’ve actually updated the first look to our Shawl Tuxedo for a more seamless look with the rounded lines of the cummerbund.

  10. I was looking to get a navy suit from Black Lapel a while back, but everyone says the navy is too dark. Upon looking at it myself, it actually looks almost black in certain lighting. Would you say the Royal blue suit featured here is closer to navy? A conservative navy that is a classic suit, not too bright?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      Our Solid Navy Blue Suit is on the darker side, but that’s what makes it so versatile–making it appropriate for everything from your friend’s wedding to the office. The Royal Blue, on the other hand, is definitely a lot brighter than a conservative navy and more on the fashion-forward side (it’ll definitely turn some heads). If you’d like, you can request a fabric swatch of the Royal Blue by sending us your mailing address (and specific fabric swatches) to concierge@blacklapel.com!

  11. Is the suit on the right of the heading picture the solid navy suit?

    1. Black Lapel says:

      You are correct, that would be our Solid Navy Blue Suit!

  12. Really diggin’ the royal blue shawl tuxedo! Are you guys thinking on doing it in navy blue as well? Because that would be sweet! Excited for the upcoming summer lineup!

    1. Black Lapel says:

      We can’t get enough of the Royal Blue Tuxedo as well (it looks even better in person)! As for a Navy Blue version, we don’t have one planned for the near future, but don’t rule it!

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