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Dress codes

What not to wear to a wedding

What not to wear to a wedding

Dressing for a wedding is about nailing the basics. Tick off the dress code, make sure everything’s pressed and polished, and pace yourself on the champagne. But the best-laid plans can be scuppered if you get the little details wrong. To help, we’ve picked apart some of the biggest stumbling blocks at any nuptials, to make sure you look good – and feel good – all night.


Mistake 1 – suit colour

There are two big no-nos when you’re picking a shade of suit for someone else’s wedding. “You shouldn’t look like you’ve just come from work,” says Thread stylist Freddie Kemp, “or be so bright that you upstage the groom.” Black is too funereal, while dark greys and navies don’t add much joy. “A royal blue is ideal, as is a light grey, especially with a Prince of Wales check.”


Mistake 2 – tie and pocket square

The big one here is matchy-matchy sets. “They’re too easy and it feels like part of a uniform,” says Freddie. “You look like you work at an airline check-in desk.” Best is to have them complement but contrast. “Pick a colour from your tie and then echo it as a colour in your pocket square.” Equally effective is a punchy tie – think joyful colours like orange or yellow, rather than navy – and a plain white pocket square.


Mistake 3 – stuffing your pockets

No, not with goodies from the buffet. “Guys think they need their phone, wallet, keys, sunglasses, battery packs, spare cameras,” says Freddie. “But your pockets bulge you can damage your suit.” Instead, travel light – a phone and a credit card is plenty. If you can leave your hotel key at reception, even better.


Mistake 4 – too much hardware

Men’s formal wardrobes don’t offer much room for flamboyance, so a wedding can seem a perfect chance to break out all those accessories that you don’t wear regularly – cufflinks, tie bars, lapel pins, a boutonniere. “But it’s all a bit much,” says Freddie. “You can quickly start to look like you work in TGI Fridays.” Instead, let your tie and pocket square differentiate your wedding look from your work look. “Then, if it feels flat, add one thing. But no more.”


Mistake 5 – new shoes

A wedding seems like the perfect opportunity to invest in a new pair of smart shoes. And it is, so long as you buy them a few weeks before. “But if you’ve not broken them in, don’t wear them on the day,” says Freddie. “You’ll be on your feet for hours and they’ll rub and be incredibly uncomfortable.” You don’t want to be the one guy left on the side of the dancefloor. Polish can do wonders to an old pair or, if you’ve got no other option, follow our advice for stopping new shoes rubbing. And carry a few plasters, just in case.