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Dress codes

How to dress for every wedding

How to dress for every wedding

This time of year, Thread’s stylists are inundated with messages asking us how to refresh a suit for the umpteenth wedding of the season, and what exactly "Riviera casual" could possibly mean. For style director Shaunie Brett, there's no more helpful advice than this: "When you're dressing for a wedding, your main goal is to look as if you've made a bit of an effort."

This is, of course, easier said than done. So to provide some inspiration as you kick off wedding season, here are five of our favourite outfits, so you're covered for any venue.

1. A wedding surrounded by greenery

Outfit: Textured blazer, shirt and chinos or formal trousers

Why this works: "This feels classically British and also on the smart side of smart-casual: the blazer and trousers are suitlike, but a notch lighter and more relaxed."

Trick to getting it right: "The blazer and trousers need to be different textures, and ideally different colours, or they might look like a poorly matched suit."

The best shoes: "Brogues are just the right level of smartness for this outfit, and brown feels most appropriate for a rustic setting. If you want to add personality, you could wear a colourful sock instead of a tie."

Tie tip: "You can skip a tie or wear one, but don't go for anything shiny: all the clothes here are matte, so the tie should follow suit. A knitted tie would look particularly nice."

2. A wedding somewhere you'd go on holiday

Outfit: White shirt, pale chinos and suede loafers

Why this works: "When you're at a smart event in the heat, it's hard to know whether to compromise on comfort or on style. This hits right in the middle: the shirt and chinos look sharp because they're tailored and fit well, but they're made from light fabrics, which means you'll stay cool. If you can't imagine dressing this casually, look for a linen or cotton suit – it's much cooler and beachier than wool."

Trick to getting it right: "Keep the colour light throughout, from shirt to shoes. If pale blue trousers don't strike your fancy, try a light stone colour instead."

The best shoes: "For beach weddings, shoes really don't matter; if the wedding's on grass, try suede loafers (like the ones photographed) or tan brogues."

Tie tip: "Skip it. A woven belt in blue or red can be a nice alternative."

3. An invitation the contains the words 'Black Tie'

Outfit: Tuxedo

Why this works: "A tux is either the only option or the safest option. If the wedding is black tie optional and you happen to have a black suit, that will work, too."

Trick to getting it right: "Wear a tuxedo shirt with a double cuff, and a crisp white pocket square in your chest pocket."

The best shoes: "Tuxedo shoes"

Tie advice: "Tie your bow tie yourself rather than going pre-tied."

4. A wedding you could imagine minor royalty attending

Outfit: Morning suit

Why this works: "Morning suits are a classic, and easy because you can't veer too far from ultratraditional. A conventional morning suit includes a white shirt, black tailcoat, pale waistcoat, and dark morning-suit trousers with a faint pinstripe."

Trick to getting it right: "If you hire a morning suit, the trousers will probably be on the baggier side because hire suits tend to be older. If that'll annoy you, buy a pair of slimmer morning-suit trousers, and rent the rest of the ensemble."

The best shoes: "Polished black Oxford shoes."

Tie tip: "Choose something pale, which will look nice with the grey waistcoat."

5. No dress code (or one no one understands)

Outfit: Navy or grey suit, white shirt, pale tie

Why this works: "It's what people expect you to wear, so there's no risk involved. You can pretty much always wear this and never look out of place."

Trick to getting it right: "The pale tie is key because it keeps your suit from looking too worky, as it might with a red or navy tie."

The best shoes: "Black lace-up shoes are simplest, but tan brogues can make a suit look a bit more casual, if that's what you're after."

Tie tip: "I love knitted ties because their texture and straight end make them a bit different from your usual silks. Stick to something muted, like pale grey, pink or yellow."