A Man’s Guide to Wedding Attire | Dress Codes From Black-Tie to Casual

Whether you’re the groom or the guest, it’s important to know what the expected wedding attire is. If you’re the groom, please make the invitation easy to understand. And if you’re a guest, you don’t want to stick out like Andrew Wiggins.

But deciphering what you’re supposed to wear can feel like reading another language. What does it mean to be dress-casual? Does cocktail attire mean that there will be drinks during the ceremony… in front of the aunties?

How about white-tie? You know about black-tie but white… maybe panda-tie is next?

Rest assured, it’s not as complicated as it sounds. Plus, the team at Tip Top is here to help you out! Go grab your best friend’s wedding invitation and let’s decipher it together.

If the wedding dress code says: White-Tie

You’re probably: A diplomat; super-high fourth-tier exec; Drake’s probably in your contact list; too rich for our blood

Key style cues: tailcoat with matching trousers, white bow-tie, white vest, top-hats, patent shoes, boutonniere, black-and-white everything

If this is the type of weddings you’re invited to, please invite us next time. We have a pair of white gloves and a long tailcoat, but we can’t seem to find the right occasion to wear them.

Think of this type of wedding attire as highly formal; if even one thread is off the mark, you‘ll be confused as a waiter. Sure, this may seem a bit intimidating at first but remember, this is all about having fun. Add a bit of charm with some cuff links.

This is also a great chance to show off that great post-pandemic haircut. When everyone looks like penguins, you’ve got to stand out somehow.

If the wedding dress code says: Black-Tie/Formal

You’re probably: Drinking champagne; schmoozing with the bride’s relatives; going to an upscale venue

Key style cues: Tuxedo, black bow-tie, white pocket square, black shoes

Oh yea! This is the time for you to look like the agent himself, James Bond. Again, this is another highly-formal-attire event, so pull out that tux from your closet and get it pressed.

You can try any variation of black dress shoes to round out this look - maybe even dress boots, such as Thursday Boot Co. or Grenson, if the time of the season is right.

Now go get yourself a martini from the open bar.

If the wedding dress code says: Semi-Formal

You’re probably: going to a more traditional setting; this is likely what comes to mind for most people when they think “wedding attire”

Key style cues: suit & tie

Finally stepping out of the tux range, semi-formal attire calls for suits. Slim-fitting navy, grey, or tan coloured suits are always sharp for this dress code.

Feel free to add a bit of colour to your outfit with a matching tie and pocket square. Just make sure that if you opt for brighter shades, like pink, to keep it subtle and light.

This is also a great moment to bust out your other dress shoes, such as brown or beige. Conventional fashion rules say to match your belt with your shoes, but we say “Do you, it won’t matter after a few”.

A few drinks from that open bar if you didn’t catch our drift…

If the wedding dress code says: Cocktail

You’re probably: going to a more relaxed setting; dressed up but not too dressy; dancing all night long

Key style cues: sport jackets, unstructured suits, brighter colours, patterned shirts and ties

This is where someone’s true personality can shine. Unstructured suits and sport jackets are key items here.

With an air of casualness, you have the freedom to dress a bit more loose. Mix and match trousers with sport coats, patterned shirts, maybe even *gasp* go tie-less.

The effortless cool here will give you the chance to showcase your personal style, so have a lot of fun with this. Though it may be tempting, stay away from sneakers - unless the bride and groom are sneakerheads.

If the wedding dress code says: Casual

You’re probably: going to a low-key venue, like a brewery or farmhouse; friends with the couple because of their relaxed vibe

Key style cues: sport jackets, dark denim, chinos, oxfords shirt, accessories, chukka boots, minimalist sneakers, merino sweaters, polos

If you’re the type of guy that says, “Can I go to a wedding without wearing a suit?”, the casual dress code is for you.

But don’t get too excited because you can wear jeans and chinos - you still need to be put together and presentable for pictures. Keep the jeans dark and clean, and the chinos coordinated with your sport jacket.

Button-down oxford shirts are a staple to the casual dress code. Dressy enough to not look out of place, but relaxed enough to hit it off with the bridesmaids.

Layers are also a great option depending on the season. You can mix and match vests with dress pants, ditching your suit jacket all together. If the wedding is during fall or winter, throw on a merino sweater underneath your suit, and lose the dress shirt.

If you find yourself attending a wedding in the sweltering heat, wear a polo and lightweight chinos. Since this outfit choice is minimal, elevate the look with a pair of clean sneakers or desert boots, and accessories like a watch and bracelets.

Remember: It’s about the Bride and Groom

As much as we love getting dressed for events and weddings, don’t forget this is a memorable day for your best friend/brother/sister/cousin/Uncle Steve. If the invitation isn’t clear about the dress code, just send them an email or give them a call.

And roast them for writing such a nondescript wedding invitation. Hopefully, they tell everyone exactly what they meant - proclaiming you as the wedding hero, saving pictures and weddings.

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