Style SOS: What does smart-casual actually mean?
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Can I wear linen to a wedding? – Charles, via twitter
Yes, Charles, you can. Not only can you wear linen to a wedding, if it’s a summer wedding overseas, it’s practically mandatory. (It’s not, but it probably should be – your temperature levels would thank you.)
While linen for summer weddings is not (currently) mandatory, this summer it might seem like it. 2019 is all about linen. There are a few reasons for this. For a start, loads more brands are creating linen shirts, blazers and suits, so there are more options at more price points. There are also more styles than ever before, which means there’s something for everyone. And while we all know linen is super breathable – hence why it’s beloved in summer – it’s also incredibly sustainable. So good for you and the planet.
Linen isn’t just a great fabric, it’s also great for weddings, and not just those in the South of France. It can actually work for all kinds of summer weddings. If you’re a bit worried about the full linen suit, then start simple with the linen shirt. Linen is better when it’s relaxed (i.e., when you don’t have to wear a tie), so go for either a camp collar shirt under a blazer or one with a grandad collar. Both eliminate the need for a tie, making your outfit look intentional and not just like you couldn’t be bothered.
A linen blazer is another great option. Forget visions of red-faced middle-aged men wearing dishevelled linen blazers on holiday, this summer’s linen is more structured (if you want it to be) and in almost every colour you can dream of – like this pink double-breasted linen blazer from Reiss or this pale blue slim fit style from Jack & Jones. If you want something you can wear for every warm-weather wedding (and beyond), this classic unstructured navy style from MVP is one of those items you’ll wonder how you went to weddings without before.
Now for the full look. Once you’ve checked the dress code (if it says black tie, they mean black tie), consider the type of wedding you’re going to – is it a low-key garden party style or in a sprawling villa in the Italian countryside? This can impact your outfit. You don’t have to wear head-to-toe linen, chinos with a linen shirt and linen blazer would be a great option that swings more to the casual side. If you want to wear a suit, there’s a full range from this louche unstructured pinstripe style from Oliver Spencer to this blue double-breasted style from Marks and Spencer. The choice is yours.
So yes, Charles, you can wear linen to a wedding.
Words: Nadia Balame-Price
Illustration: Ryan Gillett
With wedding season almost upon, we help three readers with three very different nuptial wardrobe issues