At weddings you're typically meeting many new people. You'll want to make an impression when you strike up conversation with the uncle in your industry and perhaps that cute bridesmaid.

The more appropriately you dress for the occasion, the more likely you will be perceived as intelligent socially aware.

A recent study suggests that for men specifically, clothing almost always influences perceptions of the wearer’s capacity for success.

It's critical you get the dress code right. Most wedding invitations or personal wedding websites will give direction on how guests should dress for each event. But you can also take some hints from a few small details.

1. Venue.

When considering what to wear to any event, consider first the venue. Cocktails at a downtown rooftop bar or BBQ and beer on a ranch? A dressier version of what comes to mind is generally on point.

2. Time of day.

Typically, an event later in the evening suggests that the dress code is more formal. 

  • pre 5pm = more relaxed
  • post 5pm = more formal

3. Dress Code.

Most important when deciding what to wear to a wedding is the dress code stated on the invitation.

White Tie = Very Formal (not common). Evening tailcoat required, tuxedo pants with white pique vest, white wing collar tuxedo shirt and white bow tie. Think Lord Grantham.

Black Tie = Formal (more common). Tuxedo required, black bow or long tie, and optional vest or cummerbund. Or dinner jacket with tuxedo trouser and bow or long tie. Think Oscars.

Click to shop Black Tie.

Formal or Black Tie Optional = Formal, however, tuxedo not required (common). Tuxedo with bow or long tie. Or suit with long tie.

Click to shop.

Semiformal or Dressy Casual = Informal, but not casual (common). Suit with optional tie. Blazer and trousers with optional tie. Or go without the jacket but with a bow or long tie.

Click to shop Semiformal.

Casual = Casual (not common)Trousers or khakis and a collared shirt.

Click to shop.

When shopping for a suit or blazer get the fit right with my fit guide. And make sure to look for the details that matter.

Wedding Dress NO-NOs:

  • sneakers or workout clothing
  • clothing with holes, rips, tears or bleach marks
  • shorts (may work for a Beach Casual wedding but those bermudas better be dressed up)
  • flip-flops (may work for a Beach Casual wedding, but very rare)
  • jeans


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