What to Wear to a Wedding

If you’re reading this, it’s safe to say that you just got invited to a wedding and, after the initial excitement, you’re left wondering what do I wear?

In this article, we’ll go over a few general rules to follow as well as give you a few outfit ideas for this special occasion.

The Wedding Style Rules

First, here are a few things to consider when selecting your outfit:

  • Your Wedding Role
  • Stated Dress Code
  • Setting, Weather, and Theme

At a wedding, there are 3 main groups of people: the bridegroom, the wedding party, and the guests. Each group has its own distinct dress code, but in this article, we’ll focus on the guests’ attire, since it’s the most flexible of the three. As a guest, the most important rule for you to follow is to look presentable without outshining the bride or groom. This is why most men opt for wearing a neutral colored two-piece suit. We’ll go over different options for you to wear further down in this article. 

The next things to consider when choosing an outfit are the setting, weather, and theme of the wedding you’re attending. A wedding can take place either indoors or outdoors, in a warm or cold climate, and it can even have its own distinct theme. Your outfit should take into account all of these factors because you don’t want to look out of place.

With that being said, let’s go over a few outfit options that you can use as a template and build off of as needed.

Outfit 1: Black-Tie

This outfit is fairly self-explanatory, but in case you are unfamiliar, a black-tie affair calls for a black tuxedo, black bow tie, and black leather shoes. The black-tie theme is common in evening weddings (usually after 5 PM), and at some weddings, you may be expected to wear a dinner jacket instead of the typical tuxedo jacket.

The difference between the two is that tuxedo jackets are part of the whole tuxedo ensemble, meaning the jacket color (usually black) matches the pant color. On the other hand, a dinner jacket is a different color (and design) altogether and can be white, burgundy, red, etc. Sometimes, a dinner jacket can even have a unique pattern and a single functioning button that represents the more formal dinner jackets.

Outfit 2: Cocktail Attire

Cocktail attire refers to an outfit that isn’t quite as formal as a black-tie tuxedo but is still a notch higher in formality than a typical business suit. It usually calls for a dark jacket accompanied with dress trousers, but it depends on the stated formality of the wedding itself. If the wedding calls for formal attire (but not black-tie), then a dark-colored two-piece suit will work fine.

A wedding that calls for semi-formal attire means you can break up the suit and wear the jacket with a pair of dress trousers. If the wedding is a casual affair, then feel free to wear a dark-colored jacket with dark denim jeans. Most dark colors will work well together, but as stated above, don’t go overboard with the colors and details. You don’t want to overdo it and take attention away from the bride or groom. Safe colors include navy, grey, burgundy, dark green, etc.  

Outfit 3: Flexible Formal

This outfit is likely the style you’re most accustomed to. Sometimes referred to as smart casual, flexible formal is one of the most common dress codes at weddings. It’s also one of the most flexible dress codes (hence the name) since there aren’t too many hard rules for this attire.

A good general rule to abide by with this style is an outfit that looks classy but isn’t as formal as the aforementioned outfits. A good example would be a neutral-colored suit (dark gray or navy) with a white dress shirt, no tie, cufflinks, and a pocket square. This is the opportunity for you to show up to a wedding more casual than you’d be used to. 

Bonus: Beach Wedding

I included this outfit because you don’t want to wear any of the above outfits at a beach wedding. You’ll get too hot and sweaty in normal wool suits. Attending a beach wedding means you should follow a different set of rules when it comes to the material and color of your suit. The proper material suit for beach weddings is linen since it’s lightweight and breathable, and the best colors to wear to a beach wedding are light colors that aren’t white. Good examples include beige, tan, and pastel colors. Since this wedding is on the sand, you’re also welcome to wear non-dress shoes such as boat shoes, loafers, and even flip flops if allowed. Sometimes you can even go barefoot!

Shoes & Accessories

As I mentioned earlier in this article, the most important rule you want to follow when dressing for a wedding is to not outshine the bride and groom. Since we’ve already discussed potential outfits you can wear with each specific dress code, we’re now going to discuss what shoes and accessories you should wear in correspondence. 

When it comes to the shoes you wear with a suit, the general rule to follow is that black dress shoes go with black pants and brown dress shoes go with everything else. While this is one of several rules that can be broken, it’s a good starting place and won’t lead you astray. As for the design of the shoes themselves, it depends on the occasion and its level of formality. For more formal occasions such as black-tie, you’ll want to keep the design of the shoe simple. A patent leather oxford shoe is a good, safe choice for formal occasions. If the occasion is more casual, such as cocktail attire, then feel free to wear brogued brown shoes with wingtips, monk straps, etc. 

Accessories are the finer details of your outfit that can allow you to elevate your look. They’re a great way to show your personality and sense of style without outshining the bride and groom. Simple accessories like your tie, tie bar, boutonniere, cufflinks, watch, etc work to bring the rest of your outfit together. 

Weddings are a very special occasion for a couple, so when you’re invited to one, you can think of it as an invitation to share a special moment in a loved one’s life. For that reason, you should make a concerted effort to dress well, and we hope this guide serves as a great template for planning your next wedding outfit.

Shop Wedding Looks

STYLISH OVER 40

HOW TO DRESS WHEN YOU’RE OVER 40

This is a guest post written by Style Crew ambassador, Eric Rodriguez. 

At the ripe “old age” of 55, I can honestly say I wasn’t always “stylish”.  Just a few years ago, I wore nothing but jeans, graphic t-shirts, and motorcycle boots.  That’s not to say that this classic look isn’t considered stylish, but I can say the way I wore them was definitely not. My pants were too long, and my t-shirts were worn out. A few years ago, I purchased my first hat — a very dapper homburg.

I knew that this hat would not work at all with my old look. It simply wasn’t sophisticated enough. Put simply, I wasn’t dressing to impress, especially at my age. So I decided to upgrade my look.

THE OVER 40 STYLE RULES

Upgrading your look at the age of 40 or older can be a bit daunting. You don’t want to dress like your father and you definitely don’t want to dress like you’re still in a college frat. There are 3 main things you definitely need to keep in mind when striving to look stylish. What you need to focus on is having a proper fit, avoiding fads, and most importantly keeping it simple.

Watch the length

Proper fit, at any age, is always key to looking good, but as we mature ill-fitting clothes become incredibly less attractive. To combat this, avoid pants that bunch up at the bottom, short sleeves that reach your elbow, and long sleeves that are frankly too long.

Something as simple as having pant legs that are the proper length (slight break or no break) will go a long way to make you look stylish. Generally speaking, your clothes should be fitted, but not tight.

Avoiding Fads and Trends

Fads and trends are two different things. Examples of fads are wearing 20 beaded bracelets on one wrist or wearing jeans that are too skinny for your body. These should be avoided when you reach a more mature age (unless you’re a rock star like Steven Tyler from Aerosmith — that guy can wear anything!)

These trends may work for younger men, but on an older gentleman, they just look like you’re either out of touch or trying too hard to hold on to your youth. Trends, which range from the current style of trousers, the width of your collar, the accessories you add on are what you need to stay abreast of.

Keeping It Simple

Keeping your look clean and simple is much more stylish than you’d think. A pair of dark wash jeans, white button-down oxford, a blue blazer, and a pair of loafers are more than enough to make you stand out as a stylish gentleman. 

Want to add a little flair to your outfit? Add a colorful pocket square or a tie. These simple touches will add some pop to your look and make you stand out in the crowd.

Finally, the main thing that will pull these 3 keys together is confidence. No matter how nice your outfit is, if you’re not wearing it with confidence, it will show. There’s nothing more appealing to people than a man with confidence.

Eric Rodriguez is a content creator based out of Brooklyn, NY focused on men’s style. He enjoys food, watches and fashion and is an up-and-coming model, having been featured in several campaigns for various brands. Currently, he is an ambassador for Ash & Erie as well as Beckett Simonon, the shoe company. 

You can check out his page here: @ericrnycstyle

Jeans for Short Men

This is the official Ash & Erie guide on how jeans should fit a shorter man. We’ve thoughtfully curated advice from style experts to provide you an in-depth guide that will help you feel confident in your next jeans purchase.

For us shorter men, buying a new pair of jeans is always a challenge. Let’s face it — modern-day jeans weren’t made with our stature in mind. For that reason, we decided to completely redesign the jean from scratch. We tested over 100 different measurements and combinations to come up with the perfect size and fit for the shorter man.

But enough about us. Let’s talk about jeans.

How Jeans Should Fit

For us shorter men, buying a new pair of jeans is always a challenge. Let’s face it — modern-day jeans weren’t made with our stature in mind. For that reason, we decided to completely redesign the jean from scratch. We tested over 100 different measurements and combinations to come up with the perfect size and fit for the shorter man.

But enough about us. Let’s talk about jeans. As a general rule, jeans should fit two main measurements: your waist size and leg length/inseam.

That’s why, when you look at any brand, they offer selection by waist and length — W and L. But for us short men, waist isn’t typically the problem — length is.

Length

Our legs are proportionately different than our taller friends. While our waist might be the same as someone who’s over 6 feet tall, our legs are almost always shorter. For instance, when’s the last time you saw a big denim brand like Levi’s offer length sizes shorter than 28L? Or even 30L? It just doesn’t happen.

An easy way to think about jean length is where the bottom of your jeans lands on your leg and how much of a “break” there is.

What is a break?

A break is essentially how much bunching there is in your jeans. You can have lots of bunching, in which there are multiple breaks, or you can have no bunching at all, in which there is no break. The number of breaks comes down to personal preference, but we suggest somewhere between no break and one full break, with a half break being the best choice for most men.

You also have the option to cuff your jeans. While most men prefer a clean, straight hem, some enjoy a cuff. Depending on your overall style and outfit, cuffing is a great option, but it should be an intentional choice and not something done just because your pants are too long.

Waist

Waist is pretty easy. The waist should be snug, but not too tight. The perfectly fitting waist would hug close to your body, which would allow you to wear them without needing a belt to hold them up. 

Rise

Rise isn’t typically something a lot of us think about, but it’s important to consider for our own style preferences. The rise of a pair of jeans determines where the waistband sits on your body. If it’s a low-rise pair of jeans, it will sit farther down and end up closer to your hip bones. High-rise jeans sit higher up and will land closer to your navel.

Generally speaking, a standard or normal rise looks best on most men, and we recommend a rise that isn’t too low or high.

Cut

This is something you’re likely more familiar with, as the cut of a pair of jeans is a more common selection. The most common cuts are Skinny, Slim, Straight, Regular, and Relaxed. Choosing a cut depends on your personal preference, but we recommend using a cut that lays closer to your legs, but not isn’t skin tight. For most men, this will be the Slim cut.

Generally speaking, the baggier the jean, the sloppier it looks. The slimmer the cut, the more it will compliment your frame and legs.

Fabric

One last factor to take into consideration is the fabric of the jeans itself. Fabric is important because the material will affect how jeans crease, move, and feel. The best denim fabric has a combination of durable cotton and elastane or other material that provides some stretch. With the right fabric, your jeans will provide a slim look, a soft feel that moves with you, and a durability that will last.

Common Fit Mistakes

Your jeans are too long!

The biggest mistake most men make is not realizing their jeans are too long! Typically, the shortest inseam a brand sells is 30L, so most men resort to buying from those brands without realizing there are better options.

Tailoring your jeans (getting them hemmed) is certainly an option, but for most short men, it doesn’t work. While hemming jeans can provide the right length, it increases the leg opening and changes proportions in a way that typically doesn’t look good. You also lose the natural hem and can see when a cuff has been tailored.

Your jeans are too baggy!

Most short men wear a cut that’s too baggy for their own good. When you wear baggy jeans, it makes you look shorter. You probably don’t want that. 

Wrong Proportions

Most brands design their proportions around the average height of 5’10” or above. So, even though your jeans might fit in the waist, the proportions are off and you find issues like the knee on the jeans is where your shins are, the pockets sit too low on your legs, and the rise is too long for a shorter frame.

Quality of Material

Choosing the best quality of denim often means double checking what the material is made of and making sure it’s up to par with your standards. The fabric that a pair of jeans is made of will influence its longevity, which, in turn, will influence how much usage you get out of them. In other words, the higher quality material your jeans are made of, the longer they’ll last you.

The Ash & Erie Essential Jean

Building from scratch

When we set out to make a better jean for short men, we had to start completely from scratch. We worked with an expert designer, fit our samples on hundreds of shorter men, and worked with dozens of mills and manufacturers to redesign the perfect pair of jeans for men of a shorter height. Our goal is to put your tailor out of business (just kidding).