The RSVP is sent and now comes the tricky part—figuring out what exactly semi-formal wedding attire means for men. If you’re feeling confused about what to wear, you’re not alone. Striking a balance between formal and informal can stump even the most fashionable fellas. No need to ponder whether or not a suit and tie is required because we have all the answers.
What is Semi-Formal Wedding Attire?
Men’s semi-formal wedding attire is an ambiguous dress code that is slightly more relaxed than formal attire. Think of semi-formal clothing as straddling the fence between black-tie and your weekly business casual wardrobe. The good news? This offers the freedom to branch out with colors, patterns and accessories to express your individuality. Skip the tux, and opt for a well-tailored suit or a sophisticated blazer and pants combination. Remember the golden rule of wedding attire—it’s better to overdress than underdress.
Expert Tip: If you’re feeling uncertain of what the hosts expect, don’t be afraid to ask. You can rest assured you’ll look the part and they’ll appreciate your effort to nail your attire.
Men’s Semi-Formal Wedding Attire For All Occasions
Whether it’s a sunny outdoor soiree or an evening cocktail event, knowing these details will help when planning your semi-formal wedding attire. While this men’s dress code allows for an array of dapper options, there are a few guidelines to keep in mind. Daytime weddings should lean less formal and evening weddings should veer more on the polished side. No matter which time of day the event is, we’ve got you covered with some helpful styling tips.
Daytime Semi-Formal Wedding Attire
For weddings that occur during the day, men can experiment with neutrals and lighter colors for semi-formal wedding attire. Daytime and outdoor weddings tend to be relatively laid-back. Suit separates are a nice pick for these more casual celebrations. Pair a well-fitted blazer in a textured chambray material with beige pants. Complete the look with grey chukkas and a patterned button-down for a mod vibe. Microflorals are a men’s spring fashion trend for 2021 and they’re a dashing choice to wear to a semi-formal wedding.
Daytime weddings that call for semi-formal attire are the perfect opportunity to step up your style game. Go for a head-to-toe matching suit in a light color—think tan, light grey or pale pink. A tailored suit with a matching vest in a pink hue is a modern twist on this classic pairing. Trust us, this summer 2021 men’s fashion trend will have you standing out in the crowd—but, in a good way. Feeling extra nostalgic about the roaring 20s? Toss on a throwback pair of suspenders instead of a belt to keep those pants where they need to be. It’s a practical and stylish move at the same time. We call that a win-win. Don’t forget to have fun with your look and let your confidence shine as you celebrate with family and friends.
Evening Semi-Formal Wedding Attire
While black is the most traditional suit color for men, it’s not the only option for evening semi-formal wedding attire. These less formal events are great opportunities to don a dark-colored suit. A charcoal grey, midnight or navy blue suit looks just as sleek as black and can work for all seasons. These shadowy shades will contrast nicely with a classic white button-down. Harness these dusky-toned color palettes for an evening semi-formal wedding, and you’ll be dressed to impress. Don’t forget to finish off the look with a smart pair of dress shoes—brogues, loafers and oxfords are fail-proof options.
Do you have two buttons down the front of your blazer? Keep that top one secured but leave the lower button undone. This golden rule harkens back to a legend about King Edward VII. Three buttons? Sometimes, always, never: Always button the middle, but never the lowest one. That top button could go either way, depending on how it looks. Keep it buttoned for a double-breasted blazer. Same rule applies to your vests. Keep the bottom button unfastened. Time for a wedding toast? When standing, button the top suit button of your jacket. Unbutton it again when it’s time to sit back down. Cheers!
Expert Tip: Ensuring the fit of your clothing is on-point is a must for semi-formal weddings. Be sure that your trousers aren’t too long and your jacket isn’t too loose. A trip to the tailor can easily fix most fit issues to guarantee your wedding guest look is a slam dunk.
Accessories for Semi-Formal Wedding Attire
With men’s semi-formal wedding attire, you’re not limited to a solid necktie or bowtie, which more formal occasions may require. The devil is in the details, so use this opportunity to inject personal style through your accessories. Completing your wedding guest look with quality finishes gives you a plus one for style points.
Ties are Optional
Ties are optional accessories when it comes to men’s semi-formal wedding attire. Ditching the tie means you’ll look more relaxed. When in doubt, wear the tie and know that you can always take it off to hit the dance floor with ease. Here are five easy steps to master the art of tying a tie.
If you choose to sport a tie, we recommend one with a width that matches the size of the lapel on your blazer. The goal is to keep the look balanced. Skinny lapels look nice with thinner ties, and the same goes for wide lapels and thicker ties. Bowties are a charming choice, and sure to be an instant conversation-starter.
Belts and Suspenders: Function Meets Fashion
If your suit trousers have belt loops, we recommend wearing a dress belt with them. A belt that matches your dress shoes is a must-have accessory for men’s semi-formal wedding attire. These deliberate details tie your whole look together. If you are branching out with suspenders for your outfit, skip the belt. Opt for a slim-fit shirt when going this route. Fitted styles match best with suspenders to prevent extra fabric at your sides. Another reason to choose suspenders over a belt is to prevent extra bulk at your waistline. This elongates your frame and instantly looks tailored.
Wearing a mask is an essential part of men’s semi-formal wedding attire as we navigate 2021. Socially-distant weddings grant the opportunity to coordinate a mask with your outfit, allowing you to be safe, yet stylish. Consider it another accessory to complete your cohesive look. For information on how to safely wear a mask and other best practices, visit the Center for Disease Control. Don’t arrive to the festivities unprepared. Grab a mask in Extras after scheduling your next Fix.
What Not to Wear to a Semi-Formal Wedding
While you have plenty of choices for what to wear, note that men’s semi-formal wedding attire still includes the word formal. You never want to arrive underdressed. Jeans, joggers and shorts have no place at a semi-formal affair. The same goes for T-shirts, polo shirts, short-sleeve button-downs and sneakers. You get the picture. In short, dress to impress.
Your role as a wedding guest is to support the union of the hosts and not to steal the show. Steer clear of an all white or all-cream colored outfit, as these colors are reserved for the couple. This also applies to overly loud patterns and bright colors. Save the novelty neckwear for holiday parties.
Wedding season is in full swing, and now you’re clued in on what to wear for those semi-formal invites headed your way. Need some polished pieces to wear to an upcoming celebration? Ask a style expert to send refined items that’ll have you looking and feeling your best for a semi-formal wedding.