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The Dos and Don'ts of Dressing Your Dude for the Wedding Rush

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You know Frank—he's been writing about menswear, sales, television, new shops, the recession, Lisa Loeb, the Golden Girls and getting blasted for Racked for over two years. Well, we think it's time you got to know him and his quirky-irreverent views on life and fashion even better with his column: Love, Frank. Taking the form of an open letter and always signed with love, Frank will rant about whatever style-related conundrum he encounters in a given week. So buckle your two-toned leather Moschino belts, folks, it's going to be ? Something.


You don't want his tie to match these dresses, via Quick Flix.

Dear Wedding Attendees,

It's June—Happy Wedding Season! And if you're anywhere from a few years out of college to a few years shy of 40; you probably have at least a handful coming up between now and mid-October's crisp weather.

Chances are, the guest lists at these weddings might feature a little overlap. And even if the circles are completely different, your looks are going to be immortalized in the wedding album and wedding video, plus many dozens of phone-snapped Facebook uploads and Instagram posts that often go live before you've even gotten a slice of cake.

Point is, you can't just wear the same thing to each of the three weddings you likely have lined up this year—looking back and seeing that will make you a little sad no matter how good your outfit is. So many missed fashion opportunities!

Ladies: There's no way around it. You need as many dresses as you have weddings to attend. You can re-wear them later—to other events or future weddings. And, well, you can probably get away with recycling a neutral shoe party after party—but why wouldn't you want to shop for additional shoe options (even if you're just shopping your or your best friend's closet)? That's akin to not wanting to, like, breathe.

Guys have it a little easier: The cornerstone of their wedding looks—the suit or suit separates—can be used once and again. No matter whom you saw at last month's reception.

With that said, your average guy's average suit tends to be pretty average. And your average guy's inclination will be to pair an average white dress shirt and a staid interview tie with said average suit. Which is about as festive as re-wearing that neutral shoe wedding after wedding.

This is not to say he won't look fine—but he should shine! Plus, in that uniform there's a good chance you'll lose him in the cocktail-hour crowd.

Let's start with the suit:

Do: Make sure his suit fits—even if it was made in China and cost $299. A good tailor can make an okay suit look expensive. Black or grey is fine—but summer weddings do tend to be less formal and a joyous occasion certainly allows for some experimentation. A khaki-colored suit in tropical wool or cotton twill is a classic choice and makes a great addition to any wardrobe (worn together or as separates); seersucker is always a fun option assuming he can pull it off and it’s event-appropriate; he can even go with a neutral trouser paired with a checked, striped or pop-colored sports coat. But be prepared: He’ll get a lot of compliments. Your table mates probably wouldn’t color outside the lines. But they will love the guy who does.

Don't: Go too crazy. You're not the bride; he’s not the groom; you're not sitting at the head table—leave the extreme peacocking to the guests of honor. Because, a few months down the road you'll both be on the receiving end of a very loaded remark from the bride (the groom won't have noticed); something along the lines of “oh, that photographer just loved you. You're in absolutely every picture!” Later, that same couple wouldn’t be totally in-the-wrong if they showed up in head-to-toe white when you get married. Trust me on this.

The shirt, the tie:

Do: Have some fun. Mix it up and eschew the white shirt. Shirts and ties are a relative bargain compaired to suiting—and there's always room for one or two more. Go shopping! Encourage a bold color, a fun stripe, a blown-out summery plaid or a more casual-leaning check. Pair it with a slimmer, younger tie—a microcheck looks great over a tartan shirt; as does a solid knit, a pin dot, a tiny floral or a classic stripe in an unexpected color. But do insist on a tie—men without ties at weddings are a total bummer. And even a cotton or knit tie can really amp up a more casual shirt. That said, you can’t just pop a tie on any shirt—the collar needs to fit like that average white dress shirt. And it needs to be pressed (meaning, it needs to be press-able).

Don’t: Choose a color that could possibly end up matching the bridesmaids’ dresses. Again, it’s not your night. But, more importantly, the last thing you want to deal with is six drunk, single girls wanting 62 pictures with your man because his shirt is the exact same coral as the dress she’ll never wear again. Also, trust me on this.

Your shoes:

Do: Again—have some fun! Color is everywhere right now—he can get a great wingtip or oxford in almost any color at nearly any price point. And it need not be electric turquoise. A navy suede is always refreshing; as is a pebbled cordovan. If a burgundy upper is too flashy look for a contrast sole or laces. And, if he’s not wearing suits to work and you don’t tend towards formalwear in general—invest in something that will pair well with jeans or chinos. A July wedding with an out-of-doors cocktail reception does not require a patent tuxedo slipper. Plus, you’ll be dancing all night long so being in extreme pain is not an option.

Don’t: Get too flashy. Because people will want to take pictures of the shoes; and he’ll end up talking about them all night. And, invariably, the Mother of the Bride—sloshed by the salad—will demand he take them off so she can take a bunch of pictures wearing them and it’ll turn into a whole scene. You know where this is going: Trust me on this.

The party:

Do: Have a blast! Take advantage of that open bar! Dance! Have as much fun as your and his outfits deserve to be having.

Don’t: Have too much fun and, later, fall off a stool. Do I even need to say it? Trust me on this.

· Love, Frank [Racked]