With the world slowly beginning to unfurl following a few years of joyless Zooming and halfway-house events (scotch egg during a pub catch-up, or an intimate dinner complete with plastic divider, anyone?) we are, on the whole, yearning for a few months replete with self-indulgent, convivial celebrations. And few occasions speak of a more jovial time than a summer wedding, the calendar staple that is set to creep back into our diaries in all of its open-bar-abusing, distant-uncles-resurfacing, inebriated-Abba-at-midnight glory.
Yet, after such a long period without having attended any nuptials, the notion of formal dressing can be an intimidating prospect. But don’t fear or fright. We, of course, know it’s been a while since you’ve donned black tie, morning dress or any other form of occasionwear – so we’ve compiled the one-stop style guide for the big day, below. For those who have indeed forgotten how to navigate their tux and their tie, please read on…
It may be a summer wedding — but always be prepared for a 'Black Tie' dress code
We know, it’ll be hot and humid, and standing under the summer sun in full black tie probably has you hot under the collar just thinking about it. But never fear. In the event that a black-tie summer invitation lands on your doormat, there are ways of ensuring you look the part whilst still maintaining a modicum of comfort.
Stockholm’s Saman Amel has risen to the opulent occasion with its dinner jacket — perfect for the Wedding Breakfast as well as the late evening, its cream shade will help repel sunlight, unlike darker, heavier counterparts. Turnbull & Asser is prepared for any number of heatwaves with its double-cuff shirt in poplin, a breathable, lightweight material. And, of course, no black-tie get-up would be complete without the tie itself; try the silk ‘La Clef du Bonheur’ option, courtesy of Hermès.
Saman Amel slim-fit slub silk tuxedo jacket
Turnbull & Asser white pleated cotton dress shirt
Hermès La Clef du Bonheur bow tie
If it’s a 'Morning Dress' occasion, then it’s time to embrace tradition
Some may call morning suits old-fashioned and out-dated; we, on the contrary, consider them traditional and stylish. After years without morning dress, it’s time to dust off those double-breasted waistcoats and lean back into the elegant ensemble. But, if you need some direction in investing in some new pieces, we’ve got your back.
Sir Plus is summer-ready with its shawl collar, double-breasted waistcoat in duck egg blue (if this isn’t your colour, however, there are alternative colourways, too, such as yellow, pale pink, and indigo). To keep things on the right side of vibrant, opt for Oliver Brown’s pleated trousers in houndstooth. Then tie things up with Hermès’s classic ‘Ombre d’H’ neckwear in hand-sewn twill, and you’ll make a bold, yet unobtrusive, statement.
Sir Plus double-breasted waistcoat
Oliver Brown pleated morning trousers
Hermès Ombre d'H tie
'Formal Attire' is no cause for panic
Any invitation bearing the confusing, ambiguous words of ‘formal attire’ can give way to bewilderment, or even blind panic. After all, this elusive dress code isn’t giving much away. But, far from being cause for concern, it can also be liberating, allowing room for myriad personal tastes. Stick with your what works for you (and maybe a modicum of common sense — that means no denim, of course), and you’ll be fine.
If you need pointers, we suggest starting with a simple, reliable base line – this pair of navy trousers by British label Hemingsworth is a versatile piece which can be dressed up or down, due to its neutral colour, and is rather customisable thanks to a side adjustable tailored 6-piece waistband. Pair this with some penny loafers by Crockett & Jones (not as serious as black leather and not as casual as boat shoes, the dark-brown tone makes this footwear useable in both casual and more formal settings) – and finish off the whole ensemble with a cool-toned silk tie by Salvatore Ferragamo. See? No need to panic.
Hemingsworth navy brushed twill trousers
Crockett & Jones Boston penny loafer
Salvatore Ferragamo logo-print silk tie
Add some colour and pattern with ‘Garden Attire’
Many summer weddings come with invitations embossed with the words ‘Garden Attire’, and it is a staple dress code of June, July or August, and one that offers you a chance to dress with brighter days in mind — which means turning the dial up on your formalwear palette.
Paul Smith has mastered the look with this dusty pink linen jacket that has both an Ivy League feel and a Riviera nonchalance. To add an even more relaxed edge, try Drake’s button down, which will work equally well with a blazer on, or by itself with rolled-up sleeves (perfect for when you’re on the dance floor). For added interest, a linen-and-cotton pocket square by Brunello Cucinelli will add a hint of summery pattern to your look.
Paul Smith linen suit jacket
Drake’s button-down shirt
Brunello Cucinelli linen and cotton pocket square