Wedding season is upon us, and if the honor of your presence has been requested at some upcoming nuptials, it’s incumbent upon you to make sure you’re dressed properly for the occasion in one of the best wedding suits available. But as the variety of acceptable wedding suits for men has expanded along with the ambitions of the wedding and menswear industries, finding the right option has become a trickier proposition.
There was probably a time when normal men went to the department store, bought a suit, and wore it to a series of nearly identical church ceremonies and receptions at the local banquet hall. But today, there are a multitude of other factors to consider and plenty of reasons that the right suit for one guy at one wedding is entirely wrong for another guy at another wedding. The good news is that with all of this choice there are plenty of options that won’t break the bank, though it’s certainly still possible to spend a lot of money if you want to.
So if your refrigerator is covered in save-the-dates sent by friends and family for weddings this spring and summer, the time to start planning your wardrobe is now. What quickly becomes clear when shopping for a wedding suit is that the more time to decide, the better. Making the right choices now means feeling confident the day of the ceremony, and you can use that confidence to fulfill your destiny as the life of the party and not the guest the photographer spends hours photoshopping out of the background.
What the Experts Say
Kara Payton, a veteran wedding photographer and videographer, says that sticking with solids is wise. “I’ve seen it all in 20 years, including a gold and black checkered sequin suit that ruined every single ceremony picture of my bride’s white and blush palette. This isn’t a time to be bold, save it for New Year’s Eve.”
Knowing that your loudest looks are no-go’s is helpful, but where can you look for you? Steve Knorsch, Managing Director of Cad & The Dandy, says that the invitation is a good place to start. “Couples have a sense of what they want and expect from guests who attend, and they are usually fairly good about communicating it.” Obviously that means following the specified dress code, but Payton adds that you can also glean clues about the vibe and color scheme from the invitation. If it’s full of tropical colors and a whimsical typeface you can probably leave the tweed three-piece in your closet.
That doesn’t mean you should outsource your decision making to the happy couple entirely. For example, in addition to opting for a lighter fabric, Payton recommends that sweatier guys opt for dark suits that better hide unwelcome moisture.
And last but not least, as with any suit, the key to a great wedding suit is fit. “A good (or great) wedding suit is one that fits properly, whether you’re the groom, the guest or a member of the wedding party,” Knorsch says.
Sid Mashburn Kincaid No. 3 Tic Weave Regular Fit
For most weddings—and, indeed, most occasions where you might be called upon to wear a suit—this high-twist wool number is a fine choice. In so many ways, it lands in the Goldilocks zone: “just right.” That wool is a good weight to be worn year-round, not too heavy to be suffocating or too light to leave you shivering. The fit is highly structured while staying away from the skinny, angular silhouettes that have fallen out of favor as of late.
As a wedding suit, the Air Force Blue fabric option has some texture that’s still subtle, in a color that’s more of a muted navy than an ostentatious cobalt. Made in Italy, it’s priced in a way that reflects its high quality construction without being prohibitively expensive, particularly if you get all of the wear out of it that you can.
Brooks Brothers Regent Fit Stretch Wool Two-Button 1818 Suit
Some weddings are bound to be quiet, staid affairs. For the others, those where your most fun friends will be attending and the bride and groom shelled out for a live band, a suit with enough stretch for the dancefloor is key. This Brooks Brothers suit is 100 percent wool, a fabric with natural stretch that will definitely come in handy when you hear the twinkling piano intro of “Mr. Brightside” start to play near the end of the evening.
Todd Snyder Italian Linen Suit
Linen is a lightweight, breathable fabric, which makes it a natural fit for the sweatier among us. And while you can opt for a similarly light and airy color, the classic charcoal of this Todd Snyder suit is a clever way to keep your look elevated. Another advantage of charcoal is its versatility; feel free to pair it with a standard white shirt or go with something darker for a more distinctive, still polished look at the next outdoor wedding you attend. But no matter how you style it, you’ll be happy that you went with linen as you begin to glisten.
J. Crew Kenamare Suit in Basketweave Italian Cotton
A cotton suit will always read as more casual than wool, which means that it’s a great fabric for more laid-back affairs. The external pockets, wide lapels, and roomy fit of this J. Crew suit can be dressed up but it truly shines over a shirt sans tie (or even sans collar) at a wedding that’s about having a good time even at the expense of tradition.
Ralph Lauren Kent Hand-Tailored Suit Jacket
For a wedding in cooler climes or when the temperatures begin to dip in the fall, it’s hard to go wrong with corduroy. It’s a rich, soft fabric that’s simultaneously cozy and refined, adjectives that perfectly describe this jet-black jacket from Ralph Lauren, a great example of what the fabric can do.
Hugo Boss Tuxedo Suit in Linen and Cotton
On the other end of the spectrum, a suit that acknowledges the inherent informality and warmer temperatures of a beach wedding is one that’s crafted out of light and lightweight fabrics. A blend of linen and cotton certainly fits the bill, as do the pastel purple and green options of this Hugo Boss suit whose roomy fit allows seabreezes to pass through comfortably.
Frequently Asked Questions About Wedding Suits
Do I have to wear a suit to a wedding?
You don’t have to, but you should really want to. It’s not untrue that everybody looks better in a suit, and the definition of suit is expansive enough that there is definitely one that fits your taste and the occasion perfectly.
How much do I spend on a wedding suit?
That depends on your budget, of course, but reasonable prices range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Unless, of course, you go fully bespoke and shell out several thousands for something that would look at home on the red carpet of the Oscars.
What color suit is best for a wedding?
Neutrals like grey and navy will look at home at the widest variety of weddings, but don’t be afraid to go with a more striking color if it’s appropriate for the occasion. You’ll also want to avoid white suits or anything that might be mistaken for white—save that cream suit for your next garden party.