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Style guide 101: What to wear as a wedding guest

A well-dressed dude can fully concentrate on the party. Follow these tips and be set to create your own party.
A well-dressed dude can fully concentrate on the party. Follow these tips and be set to create your own party.
("Wedding Crashers," New Line Cinema)

As (non-existent) spring makes its inexorable march to summer, so to comes one of the most sartorially challenging seasons: wedding season. For a few months every year through a certain age, weddings seem to occupy every weekend. What's a guy to do? Check out these tried and true tips from Minneapolis Men's Style, and be ready this time around!

You know there is a bit of a "uniform:" pants, button-down, tie ... maybe you're rocking that suit you keep in the closet for "dressy" situations, maybe you thrown on a vest if that's your thing. But, the key to nailing your look (and maybe scoring a dance with the cute, single bridesmaids) is in the details:

  • Decode the dress code. The wedding invitation should give you a pretty big clue about how dressed up or down you need to be. Country club reception? Prepare to wear that suit. Outdoor wedding and/or reception? You can probably get away with a more casual look. You can also ask for a hint from your date (if you're taking one) or the buddy who invited you. Treat weddings like a job interview - aim for more dressy, then less.
  • Own dress socks. Seriously. No one wants to see your white, ribbed athletic socks peeking out between your dress pants and scuffed shoes. Find a pair that goes in the color family of what you most often wear, or get bonus points for rocking a pattern, like argyle.
  • Utilize an iron. A dress shirt is a no-fail choice, especially when the dress code is unclear. This does not mean you can show up with wrinkles. Shopping last minute? See if the store you're shopping at can steam your new purchase for you before you leave the mall. You may need to knock out another errand or grab some coffee, but many stores are happy to help.
  • Mix patterns. Or, for goodness sake, please do something other than a white dress shirt and a blue striped tie. Mix a windowpane shirt with a striped tie, or work a brighter color. We promise you'll get credit for trying harder.
  • Pick a least one of the following: a tie bar, a pocket square, and/or cuff links. Now that you've figured out the dress code and your general outfit, add those finishing touches that will show you're a man, and not just a boy playing dress up. Dependent on your outfit, you should safely be able to wear one OR MORE of these advance dressing pieces.

Now, go forth and help your friends' celebrate their big days!

For more on men's style, check out Bethany Rein's other work, or subscribe via email to get it delivered piping hot to your inbox. Have a question or comment? Email her at and you may just see it here.


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