Best Formal Wedding Attire and Outfits For Men

All eyes may be on the bride, but an invitation to a formal wedding still commands a certain level of style. Ensure your ensemble meets the appropriate dress code with our helpful guide to formal wedding attire for men. (It may be the bride’s day, but you can still earn best dressed.)

Wedding Dress Codes Explained

Wedding dress codes signify the formality, or informality of an event. They’re important to follow (and are almost always included on a wedding invitation) because the dress code is set to match the setting. If you’re unsure of an event’s dress code, just ask. The couple will be more than happy to tell you exactly what they want you to wear. For more answers on what formal wedding attire for men entails, read on!

 

White tie wedding outfit

White tie is the most elevated dress code when it comes to formal wedding outfits for men. It is relatively uncommon for most modern weddings. (Google white tie dress code and you’re likely to find photos of royalty.)

A white tie dress code requires men to wear black pants with a matching black jacket or coat with tails. A crisp white shirt with French cuffs, a white vest, and a white bowtie (never a clip on) finishes the look. (When an event calls for white tie, it literally means white tie.)

A suit for a white tie event is accessorized with silver or gold cufflinks, studs for your shirt, a black belt, and black patent leather shoes.

Wear:

Samuelsohn Ivory Dinner Jacket

Paired with:

Samuelsohn white Cotton Euro Spread French Cuff Shirt


Black tie wedding outfit

A black tie dress code is slightly less formal than white tie, and more common for weddings. Black tie essentially means a tuxedo, but you can get away with a formal black suit when accessorised appropriately. 

Unlike white tie, black tie does not require a coat with tails, or a white bowtie with a vest. Black tie calls for a tuxedo or formal black suit, with a black bowtie (avoid a straight necktie for white tie and black tie if you can), a white shirt with French cuffs, cufflinks and studs, a white pocket square, a black belt and polished black shoes. A cumberbund or wasicoat is optional.

And don’t even think about wearing anything other than a black sock for black tie and white tie events.

Wear:

Samuelsohn Black Ice Wool Peak Tuxedo

Paired with:

Samuelsohn white Cotton Euro Spread French Cuff Shirt

Black tie optional wedding outfit

Black tie optional is a bit of a curve ball. It’s a couple’s way of welcoming tuxedos and gowns, but not enforcing them. The best approach is to dress with formality, but to your own comfort level. Don’t run out to buy a tuxedo, but definitely wear a black suit. Black tie optional does not allow for blue or brown suits.

On its most casual level, black tie optional requires a black suit with a black tie or bowtie, a black belt and shoes, and cufflinks. At its most formal level, a black tuxedo.

Wear:

Samuelsohn Black Wool Classic Suit

Pair with:

Samuelsohn White Cotton Twill Euro Spread Shirt

Creative black tie men’s attire

If you thought black tie optional was confusing, get ready to wrap your head around creative black tie! This dress code requires formal dressing in a black or navy blue suit, but opens the door for you to add some flare and personality.

Some easy ways to play with this dress code are through unique and colourful bow ties and pocket squares, luxurious fabrics like a velvet jacket or trendy loafers (worn without socks).

Wear:

Samuelsohn Navy Ice Wool Peak Tuxedo

Pair with:

Samuelsohn white Cotton Euro Spread French Cuff Shirt


Cocktail wedding attire

A cocktail dress code is a welcome sight for many, as it calls for slightly less formal attire, and allows for more colour options and creativity. This is the most common dress code for weddings.

Cocktail attire still requires a suit and dress shoes, but the suit and accessories can be any colour. Navy, brown and grey are daytime options, but it’s best to stick to navy and black for evening. 

Ties and bowties can be colourful, with patterns. Or you can skip a tie altogether and lean on a pocket square to lend a touch of formality. Cufflinks are not expected, but dress shoes are, and should match the belt and suit (brown shoes should be worn with a brown suit, black or brown shoes can be worn with a navy suit, and black shoes should be worn with a black suit). 

Wear:

Samuelsohn Grey Poplin Plaid Wool Suit

Or:

Samuelsohn Blue Windowpane Wool Silk Suit


Casual men’s wedding attire

Don’t let the word casual fool you. While casual might mean one thing at the office, on a wedding invitation casual means less formal cocktail or black tie optional, but still requires a suit.

Jeans, shorts, T-shirts and flip flops are definitely a no-go, but a casual suit without a tie is appropriate. If the casual dress code is for an outdoor wedding, on a beach, or on grass, trendy sneakers with a chic suit, or barefoot on the beach, is OK. As well, light khaki pants with a well fitted summer blazer and crisp white shirt works for a casual garden party wedding.

The idea here is to look relaxed but polished. You can wear casual pieces, but ensure that everything is expertly tailored and freshly pressed.

Wear:

Samuelsohn Tan Cotton Wool Silk Twill Trousers

Pair with:

Samuelsohn White Cotton Euro Spread Shirt

Samuelsohn Blue Silk Wool Hopsack Jacket


Exceptions to the rules

When it comes to casual and formal wedding outfits for men, always consider the setting and the season. The location of the wedding is a good indication of the dress code (a chic, boutique hotel versus a farmhouse in the country), and the season should influence some of your decisions as well. Each season calls for select colours and fabrics. Here’s a quick guide for casual and formal wedding attire for men, by season:

Formal Wedding Attire for Men in Fall and Winter


Opt for a darker colour palette during winter months, like black and navy, and deep green and burgundy as accent colours. Fabrics like wool are optimal during the colder seasons.

Spring and Summer Event Dressing for Men


During warmer months, introduce lighter blues and vibrant colours, like purple, pink and green, into your event dressing.  Breathable fabrics, like linen and cotton, are essential for surviving wedding season under the blazing sun.


This is why it’s essential to have a few suits to rotate in and out with the seasons, and for every dress code. With this guide, you’ll have all of your formal wedding outfits covered!