If wedding bells are ringing in your mailbox with save-the-dates and invitations arriving at every turn, then we see a lot of champagne and cake — and maybe even a few toasts — in your future, along with the eternal questions of what to wear to each of the proceedings.
Men, you arguably have it easier than your female counterparts who must factor in a whole list of considerations about appropriate attire. But that doesn’t mean you can shirk your sartorial duties. Just because you’re not a groomsman doesn’t mean you have a get-out-of-jail-free card when it comes to dressing the part for the big day.
Weddings are a tricky sartorial playground; some might dictate a formal dress code, others a more relaxed ensemble. But, no matter the venue, theme, or location, check mark the following nine articles of clothing that you simply should never debut during “I do’s.”
No matter how low-key a wedding might be, denim is really a no-go on most occasions. That Canadian tuxedo that’s hanging in your closet just simply doesn’t cut it. Even the best pair of jeans will translate as a bit too comfortable for your own good — even if you try to disguise them with a tailored sport coat on top. In a day and age where jeans are acceptable nearly anywhere you go, let those “I do’s” still land in sacred sartorial territory and respect the occasion and the bride and groom enough to put on a suit or dress pants for a few hours.
Canadian tuxedos are not acceptable, and a real tuxedo really isn’t either — that is, if you’re not in the wedding party or explicitly instructed to do so on the invitation. If the dress code calls for black-tie, then wear a sharply tailored, formal suit. And, for extra credit, find out what color the groomsmen’s tuxedos are and choose a different hue for your suit so as not to blend in (much like the gals aren’t really supposed to wear white).
It’s like this: Shorts are nothing short of a sartorial faux pas at a wedding. Leave the exposed leg for the girls — no matter how warm that outdoor ceremony is. But what, say you, of a beachside wedding? Go for linen pants or lightweight chinos paired with a button-down shirt for a breezy, cool look that is good for the sand while staying within wedding-day style code.
4. Kitschy clothing
A wedding is not the time to break out any strong statement wear that has kitsch factor in spades. This could include anything from angsty band T-shirts to overzealously printed ties and bad holiday sweaters. Ed Hardy is also a guest that should never be invited to a wedding; the brand’s bedazzled skulls and growling tigers are definitely not what the couple want to see on their special day.
5. Sweatpants and hoodies
Hopefully this goes without saying, but sweats and hoodies shouldn’t even be used in the same sentence as the word “wedding.” And, no, you don’t get a hall pass for glorified sweats — aka joggers — either. Athleisure is a sartorial lifestyle that must be forgone for a few hours when it comes to a wedding ceremony.
6. Head-to-toe black
There’s nothing wrong with the color black, per se. But a wedding is not the time to go monochromatic and have a Men in Black moment. It’s a celebration of love not a funeral, so lighten up and break up the black a bit with a touch of color here and there.
7. Athletic shoes
You’re not racing to the altar, so leave the running shoes at home. While there are some breeds of fancy sneakers now that are dressy enough to suit up with, the Nike, Adidas, New Balance, and Reebok families of kicks simply won’t do — no matter how much they up your athletic game. Trust us: Those dress pants are going to look a whole lot better with a sleek pair of brown or black brogues or loafers. Just do it.
Given the controversial sartorial reputation of mandals (man sandals), it’s not really highly advisable to wear them to a wedding. On the very rare occasion, you may be able to get away with flashing your feet if the event is outdoors or by the beach. But, whatever you do, don’t wear socks with them. And, don’t wear flip-flops to a wedding — ever. There’s a big difference between a fashionable pair of leather sandals and rubber flips.
We hate to break it to you, but you’re attending a wedding, not the derby. So ditch the topper during the ceremony if you’ve arrived with a handsome hat on your head. Baseball caps and trucker hats are off limits entirely, though. The wedding you’re attending may be a home run, but you’re still not at a baseball game.