As fun as some weddings can be, there’s one element we wish we could change. No, it’s not the feeling of dread the next day as we try to remember what we got up to at the reception – we take full responsibility for that part. It’s the dress code.
Don’t get us wrong: we love getting suited and booted. After all, there’s nothing quite like feeling your best alongside all your friends and family. But when it comes to choosing what to wear for a summer wedding, can any of us honestly say we’d pick a suit and tie?
We’ve all been there. It’s the hottest day of the year so far, and your friend is the lucky guy whose wedding day has been blessed by the good weather. The guests, on the other hand, are left sweltering in their finery, trying to loosen necklines and disguise sweat patches. So we’ve come up with a solution, and we’ve got the pandemic, in part, to thank for it.
It goes without saying that, since early 2020, many of us have dressed more casually than ever. So if you’ve barely even donned a shirt for work in the past year, the thought of scrubbing up for the return of summer weddings might seem daunting. But it needn’t be – embrace the casual comfort we’ve all got used to and apply it to your summer wedding outfit.
Lean Into the Summer Look
Just because you’re considering ways to play with more casual wedding attire, doesn’t mean that anyone else has to notice. Take a page out of the ‘garden casual’ style book and make comfier adaptations to formal dressing a whole look of its own.
Garden casual is the warm-weather answer to smart style with a preppy edge. So if you’ve ever wondered if you can get away with wearing your khakis and a blazer in a fun way to a wedding, this is how.
Since the trick to nailing post-pandemic style lies in striking the balance between the desire to get dressed up and our newly-ingrained habit of laid-back comfort, now is casual suiting’s time to shine. Ditch the thick wool suit, and pair your favorite chinos with a linen or even camp collar shirt, and style your blazer on top for the dose of smartness no men’s wedding attire would be complete without.
Focus on Fabrics
Summer dressing is all about the fabrics, so the looser and lighter you go the better. This translates well for men’s wedding style as fabrics like linen and seersucker feel perfectly seasonal as well as sophisticated. So whether you go for a full suit or mix-and-match separates, a linen or seersucker blazer, shirt, and pants are all perfectly acceptable smart casual options that will fit a more formal wedding dress code without pushing boundaries, or leaving you overheating.
And once wedding season has passed, we reckon you’ll be reaching for these easy-to-wear takes on smart style for everyday occasions, too.
Featured Men’s Summer Wedding Style Picks
The lightweight blend of wool, silk, and linen makes this suit, in Havana brown, the perfect choice for a smart summer wedding that won’t leave you feeling stuffy from one of our 32 best men's clothing brands.
A blue-grey suit feels perfectly sophisticated with a hint of Italian style – and who knows better about stylish dressing in hot weather than the Italians?
A grey linen suit jacket can be styled with your khakis just as easily as matching suit trousers. Wear with a subtle-printed shirt for extra summer flair.
A brown Prince of Wales check might not seem the obvious choice for summer, but the unpadded shoulders and a Bemberg quarter-lining on this blazer are guaranteed to keep you cool and comfortable.
A green linen sports coat conjures a preppy, Ivy League look. Pair with formal trousers and loafers, rather than chinos, for a summer wedding-appropriate style.
If linen pants make you think of a loose, white style you might wear to a beach bar, think again. These grey Prince of Wales check pants are designed to keep you cool in your formalwear on summer days.
Grey cotton trousers with added stretch will fit comfortably without being either too loose or too clingy in hot weather.
Fresco, named for the Italian term meaning “fresh”, is a unique cloth made from high-twist wool fibres in an open weave. If you’ve not heard of it before, then you’ve found it just in time to improve your formal summer wardrobe.
A short-sleeved shirt with a subtle print brings both comfort and interest to a smart outfit without feeling over the top.
Don’t think your wedding shirt has to be plain. On hot days, a fun summer print can slot easily into smarter ensembles without being attention grabbing.
A suit you can wear to weddings, work, and smarter weekend plans is hard to come by, but J.Crew has nailed it with the Ludlow.
It might sound counter productive, but trust us: a dark-coloured camp collar shirt will feel cooler than a white Oxford shirt. Especially if you opt for a linen fabric.
There’s something about a blue and white striped shirt that feels perfect for summer. This non-iron style from Tie Bar is slightly preppy, giving it a yacht club edge.
When the dress code calls for something formal you know you can’t go wrong with a white dress shirt. Just make sure you pick 100% cotton as synthetic materials aren’t your friend in hot weather.
A spread collar, short sleeves, and side vents tick all the boxes when it comes to the essential features of a summer shirt. This style from Zara takes it one step further with a super-stylish floral print.
Italian leather loafers are the summer alternative to brogues. Be sure to wear socks – visible or invisible is up to you – to avoid blistering and keep odours at bay.
Astorflex’s slip-on loafers are the smart equivalent to your summertime espadrilles. And you’ll be in good company, as they were the chosen style of icons including James Dean and Elvis.
Penny loafers are slightly chunkier than the sleek silhouette of a regular loafer, so they’re perfect for the more fashion-forward man. For a quality upgrade with heritage, try Weejuns.
If you can get away with something more relaxed, there’s no problem with wearing a pair of minimal white trainers to a wedding. Just make sure they’re box-fresh, and the rest of your outfit is smart enough to secure the formal look.
Thanks to technological advancements in clothing, you can even wear a sophisticated knit polo in summer. Coolmax® is a thermoregulating fabric that helps to expel moisture from the skin. In cold climates, it will keep you dry and warm, and on hotter days it stays light and fresh. The old school gentlemanliness and modern rakishness of a knit polo easily makes it one of the best summer shirts.
Last but certainly not least, don't forget your sunglasses. Many weddings are held in summer for the simple desire to have an outdoor component to the celebration. Include an intentional pair of shades to cap off the rest of the outfit. → 6 Pairs of Affordable Sunglasses We'll Be Wearing This Summer