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Dress codes

Do I have to wear a suit to a wedding?

Do I have to wear a suit to a wedding?

At weddings, one dress code is unquestionable. “If it says ‘suits’ on the invite, then yes, you have to wear a suit,” says Thread stylist Freddie Kemp. But modern nuptials tend to be less demanding of their guests. Which offers some room to experiment.

“If you see anything more ambiguous, like ‘formal’ or ‘country’, then this look is ideal for two reasons,” says Freddie. “First, it’s distinctive, because everyone else will be in jackets. And second, it’s more comfortable, particularly in hot weather.” Follow Freddie’s rules and you can shun the suit without annoying the bride.

Wedding outfit

Photographed: Research Garments formal shirt (£49) Peter Werth textured waistcoat (£69) Jigsaw linen trousers (£130) Moss Bros knitted tie (£20) Oliver Sweeney tan brogues (£249)

1. Tuck your collar

“Because this look is inherently more relaxed than a full suit, you need to pay particular attention to the little details to make sure it doesn’t look sloppy. One thing a lot of guys overlook is their shirt collar: here, it should be long enough to tuck under the waistcoat. A button-down would be far too casual, so look for a sharp, point-collar. And make sure it’s ironed.”

2. One fabric, not two

“Traditional waistcoats have a silk back, but a cotton or wool front that matches the jacket. When you wear this style by itself, it looks like you’ve forgotten part of your suit. Instead, get a waistcoat in a single, matte fabric. Tweed or wool are smart and will also help keep you warm at the end of the reception.”

3. Keep the waistcoat on

“The best thing about this look is that it’s cooler and more comfortable than wearing a suit jacket all day. So try to delay the point at which you take the waistcoat off. Everyone else will leave the jackets on their chairs as soon as the DJ starts, which means you’ll be the most put-together guy at the wedding.”

4. Make sure your trousers contrast

“It can be tempting to try and match your trousers to your waistcoat, but then you just look like you’ve lost the jacket. Instead, go for a subtle contrast: because the waistcoat is textured, keep the trousers plain and in a slightly darker colour. Chinos would make this feel too relaxed: you need something smarter like formal wool trousers to balance the waistcoat.”

5. Shoes should be smart, but not too smart

“The idea that you can’t wear brown shoes to a wedding is archaic. A look like this is already bending the rules a little, so doing the same with your footwear really works. Especially if you choose a darker shade, like chestnut, which will add just enough smartness without seeming stuffy.”