Dressing for a wedding: selecting the correct attire

08 May 2014

With wedding season approaching and the weather looking set to change for the better at last, men and women everywhere are falling over the clothes rails trying to find something to wear, and it’s not as easy as it seems. There are many rules to wedding attire both old and new, some of which still apply where others have fallen by the wayside. So where should you start when choosing your attire for a wedding this year? As professional tailors, we’re used to designing and tailoring wedding dresses and suits for customers old and young, and we’ve picked up more than a few tips and tricks over the years. Take a look at our guide to selecting the correct attire for a wedding…

Read the invitation

The invitation will often tell you the dress code for the wedding, so it’s definitely worth giving it a good read as this will give you an idea of just how formal or casual you need to dress. It will also tell you the venue, which is important to know because if you are outside you might want to think about jackets and shawls while rethinking those stilettos, and if the ceremony is in a church, women will need to ensure they are appropriately covered up and dressed respectfully.

Don’t wear white

Some brides genuinely won’t mind if their guests turn up wearing white, but it’s a general rule that you shouldn’t do so. The worst thing you could do at a wedding is upstage the bride (far easier to do if you’re wearing white), so opt for any other colour than white. If you know which colour the bridesmaids will be wearing, try to avoid buying a dress or tie of the same colour so that you don’t look like part of the bridal party. There used to rules against wearing red or black to a wedding, but nowadays anything goes!

Think about the fit

At Hemingway Tailors we always encourage our clients to wear well-fitted suits, dresses and skirts, but there’s a sizable difference between well-fitted clothes and tight clothes! Remember, weddings are often daylong events, so you need to be comfortable in what you are wearing. If your dress or suit is too tight, you’ll soon become uncomfortable and during the summer you’re likely to become quite hot and bothered. Your tailor can ensure that your outfit fits you well, flattering your figure without being uncomfortably restrictive!

When it’s a casual affair

When a wedding states that the dress code is casual, it’s always worth checking with someone from the bridal party to see just how casual they mean. More often than not ‘casual’ does not mean jeans are okay! Men should opt for navy or grey tailored suits (not black), lose the tie and perhaps opt for a pocket square instead, and wear smart shirt with a fitted jacket. In the summer, a linen suit would be ideal. Women should opt for comfortable cocktail dresses to the knee, lose the wedding hats and fascinators and opt for simple hairdos. In the summer, swap heels for pretty sandals.

When it’s a formal affair

A number of weddings are black tie, but this doesn’t necessarily mean men must wear black ties or bow ties. ‘Black tie’ simply means that you should dress formally, so again it’s worth checking with the bridal party as to what exactly is expected. Men should wear dinner jackets – ensuring that they are well fitted as they can look scruffy if too large – lace-up shoes and a tie in a Windsor knot. If the wedding is not black tie you should take the opportunity to add a little colour to your look, perhaps matching your partner’s outfit. Women should wear dresses to the knee or longer and have a smart jacket or shawl to cover their shoulders. Accessories can complete any outfit so choose a smart handbag and wedding hat or fascinator to ensure you really look the part!

If you’ve chosen your outfit but it needs a little tailoring before it looks perfect, or are still in need of an appropriate suit or outfit for the wedding, we can help. We tailor for both men and women, creating bespoke suits or simply providing alterations, so get in touch with the team today to arrange for your first fitting. 

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