Summer weddings almost entirely fall into four distinct categories, each of which lends itself to a specific style of dress. While some overlap exists, when uncertain it’s best to adhere to your category’s respective style.
While less common during summer, it’s not unheard of to schedule a formal wedding during the year’s warmest season. Although this may seem cruel, most of these functions take place in ballrooms or upscale hotels, so heat is a non-issue. While the difference between formal and black tie os historically significant—formal infers a full suit and tie where as “black tie” necessitates a tuxedo—the lines have become increasingly blurred in our casual era. For a formal wedding, a black, gray, or navy suit & tie will suffice, preferably in mohair, wool or silk. While a waistcoat isn’t required, three-piece suits are a nice touch. If the invitation does indeed say “black tie,” a tux is non-negotiable. Apart from the reception, the rest of your wardrobe is entirely dependent on location, however if the entire event is formal, consider an additional blazer and suiting separates. As for footwear, for a formal affair black Oxfords (classic, plain hard-bottom dress shoes) will suffice, however for black tie consider patent leather derbies or velvet slippers.
Dior, Tom Ford, Brunello Cucinneli, Ralph Lauren Purple Label, Brioni, SuitSupply
Often referred to as “barn” weddings, the rustic approach has become increasingly popular—partly because the great outdoors are beautiful this time of year, but mostly due to the lack of last call or noise permits. These events are more casual in nature and as such lend themselves to an entirely distinct wardrobe, particularly if the reception is outdoors. Consider browns, khakis, plaids, tweed or even seersucker. Rather than Oxfords, consider brogues (shoes with “brogueing,” or leather appliques) or even a loafer. Material is paramount here, particularly for daytime weddings where warm weather can lead to serious issues. Opt for lighter fabrics, such as linen, cotton or blends. Keep your locale in mind and for the remainder of the weekend bring a wardrobe that can handle the outdoors. A great hiking fit goes a long way.
Ralph Lauren, Polo, Allen Edmons, Crocket & Jones, Eidos Napoli, Barena, Gitman Bros Vintage, Freemans Sporting Club
Almost always at a hotel, these “city” weddings usually are weekend long affairs where the majority of guests are asked to stay at one or two centrally located accommodations. While the reception is often on sight, the couple regularly plans various outings throughout the city, pushing friends and family to explore alongside them. Weddings like these are usually in the “semi-formal” category and given that you’re in a city and may be going out at night, more modern suiting is acceptable. While your Neapolitan unstructured double-breasted suit could still technically work, for those interested in slim “fashion” tailoring, the city wedding is the perfect event to show off. Thin lapels, black dress shirts, skinny ties and thick soled derbies are all highly-recommended. That said, be wary of going overboard. As for the rest of the weekend, consider your locale—New York calls for a significantly different dress code than Miami—but lightweight trousers, camp collar shirts, good sneakers and some respectable shorts are a solid start.
Prada, Saint Laurent, Dries Van Noten, Zegna, Maison Margiela, Dior, Alyx, Hugo Boss, SuitSupply, J. Crew
Increasingly popular, the destination wedding doubles as a vacation while allowing the couple to invite plenty of “friends and family” who they don’t particularly like knowing full well they won't attend. During summer, these events are almost always in a coastal town or semi-remote tropical island. Whether it’s Positano or the Maldives, as far as the suit goes, the same rules apply. Considering you are being asked to travel, chances are that the wedding is considerably less formal—it’s unlikely that you’re going to need a tux, unless of course the invite specifically states “black tie.” Like the rural barn wedding, material matters, as the climate will often be humid. Unlike the great outdoors, though, the mood is decidedly less folksy and leisure is the name of the game. This is the time to break out your unstructured Italian tailoring. Big lapels, double breasted blazers, wide trousers and loud shoes are welcome. Even feel free to wear a pattern or Hawaiian shirt underneath your blazer—but only if it is
definitely a casual affair. If you are unsure whether going full Miami Vice is acceptable, ask a fellow guest (or better off, bring a spare shirt). Loafers (Penny or tassel) should be your footwear of choice not just for the actual reception, but for the entire vacation. As for the rest of the trip, it’s your vacation, so pack smart, light and consider the temperature. Camp-collars, swim trunks and linen trousers will go far.
Isaia, Kiton, Brioni, Brunello Cucinelli, Boglioli, Eidos, Camoshita, SuitSupply, Our Legacy, Gucci