A colleague of mine is going to a wedding this summer, on the beach, with the proscribed dress code of “flamboyant”.
Now, a dress code like that has the potential to condone all manner of horrors. From black tie with flip flops to Hawaiian shirts and grass skirts, linen suits with t-shirts to board shorts and knobbly knees. Doubtless the bride and groom realised this and were brave enough to give their friends and family free rein.
Also, the wedding is likely to be fairly formal so it needs to be flamboyant in a smart way. So my colleague wanted suggestions on ways to make a suit, or odd jacket and trousers, flamboyant enough to fit in and retain personality.
To kick-off, here’s what I would wear if I were also invited (sniff sniff). A two-buttoned Etro suit I own in pale-grey Glenurquart check with green overcheck. A white French-cuffed shirt with colourful glass cufflinks; paisley silk handkerchief; and a tropical but not overstated boutonniere. On the feet, tan loafers without socks (easy to kick off for those dances in the sand, but equally appropriate to retiring to the veranda later for cigars and coffee).
I would instinctively go without a tie, but knowledge of the family itself would give more guidance here. If a tie was more appropriate, I would pick an unlined gold silk, probably pinned.
As with any invitation, the interpretation of the dress code does depend on some knowledge of the hosts. Given that, my colleague’s initial thoughts were: seersucker suit, white shirt, large boutonniere and plimsolls. Not far off my suggestion.
But he has since had a change of heart on the seersucker suit and decided to go with just trousers in that all-American material, with an odd jacket. So what odd jacket to wear? Well, given that the seersucker is in traditional blue and white, either blue or white would be fine. Perhaps in a heavy-weight linen, to look suitably crisp on top of the trousers. And probably blue, given that my colleague would like to get some use out of these items after the wedding (they are being made bespoke at the moment) and navy will have more lasting use that white.
I would also lean towards slip-ons or formal shoes with this outfit, rather than the plimsolls suggested earlier. Plimsolls or other slim-line trainers in a smart, clean colour can look great with a casual suit. But an odd jacket/trouser combination could use something to root it to the ground. Plus, it means my colleague can find a pair of very bright socks that match his flower. What fun.
Apologies for being pedantic, but I think you mean ‘prescribed’ rather than ‘proscribed’. The OED defines ‘proscribed’ as “decree of condemnation to death or banishment”.
Other than that – great blog!
There seems to be a misapprehension that flamboyant means casual.
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As long as we’re on the subject…
I know what white tie, black tie, casual, and the like mean as dress codes appearing on invitations. However, I’m not sure how one might word the invitation for things like formal day wear (for a daytime wedding), or how to succinctly and politely convey the idea “please wear a suit & tie or dress; we don’t want any slobs in our wedding pictures.”
An interesting point. I think it depends on the guests to a certain extent, and what they are likely to wear as a default. There is no specific idea of propriety or requirements in this area, unlike black or white tie.
If they are happy to dress smartly, I would simply put ‘smart’ or ‘smart dress’. If they will wear a t-shirt at any opportunity, I would actually say ‘jacket and tie’. I’ve seen both on invitations.
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May I revive this post with a question:
I’m invited to my cousin’s wedding in August, warm weather is expected, plus I’m supposed to say a few words during the wedding service. I have already chosen a reverse combination of that colleague’s one: white and blue seersucker shirt with white contrast spread collar & french cuffs and dressy navy linen trousers (i.e. no cuffs, w/ creases). I’d really prefer to wear a vest/waistcoat instead of a jacket, but I can’t decide on a color… would mid-grey be okay? What color should the tie be then? Navy, silver, pink, red/white stripes,…?
An event like that really deserves a jacket. If you’re not going to wear one at a wedding then when will you? A lovely cream jacket would work well, with a dark tie
Love the blog.
I’m getting married in a Goa later this year and am struggling with what to wear. It won’t be a particularly formal affair, but I don’t want to fall in to the waistcoat and no tie look, (this seems very common for anything near a beach), so something a little more formal than that and probably a tie or some sort. Also, the venue is in the hills rather than by the beach, with a lot of vegetation/jungle. More generally I expect our guests to be fairly expressive, so no real limitations!
Any suggestions would be very gratefully received.
All the best,
Sounds nice Nick. How about cream linen trousers, a white open neck shirt, navy hopsack blazer, and colourful pocket square?
Thanks Simon. Yes, sounds good. I feel I should wear a tie of some sort though, maybe knitted. Do you think the textured element of that and the hopsack jacket together would be too much?
No, it should be ok. Perhaps try something more summery than a knit though, like a shantung silk
Had to look up shantung silk… perfect though! Thanks for your help.
Thanks Simon. But hmm well, for me it’s actually UNusual to not wear a jacket, as I normally am the one wearing a jacket when everyone else has already taken it off/didn’t even bother to put one on (at least in my family/social environment). To be honest, I did also have a cream jacket in mind, but the only one I have is one for summer black tie occasions (i.e. off-white single breast, one button, shawl collar). I like it, but I consider it just too flamboyant for that wedding … I guess I’d outshine the groom (OTR brown suit, champagne shirt and waistcoat, ascot). I think I have to add that I live in Germany and here summer black tie attire/light colored jackets often get funny looks… at least that’s my experience
Quick question regarding accessories…in 2023, are pocket watches anachronistic and over the top? Whilst, I do not typically wear a wristwatch or jewellery, I am considering accessorizing my wedding suit with a pocket watch that belonged to my grandfather. Of course, the pocket watch has sentimental value. The suit, however, is not terribly subtle — if not, a bit strong in style (mid-grey SB with peak lapels and a DB waistcoat). Nice sentimental touch or am I venturing into costume territory? Best to leave the pocket watch at home and perhaps opt for a more subtle accessory/heirloom?
I certainly think pocket watches are anachronistic, yes. If you were to carry your grandfather’s pocket watch, I’d do so somewhere that wouldn’t be on display, eg in the coin pocket of your trousers
Good idea. As always, thank you for your speedy response and guidance.