How to dress for a wedding

Michael, Atlanta: I’m a long time reader and have greatly enjoyed your posts, and have even more enjoyed applying their message.

I’m about a year away from my wedding and am looking to have a suit made for it. I am looking at either a black with a white chalkstripe, or a medium grey with a white chalkstripe. A standard three piece, with three-button jacket, slanted unflapped pockets with a ticket pocket on the right, and an eight-button double-breasted peak lapel waistcoat. This will be accompanied by an unadorned white spread-collar shirt and plum tie and pocket square.

That, I’m aware, is quite a lot of look (stripes, peaks, buttons, and pockets) even though we are looking to incorporate throwbacks of vintage styling. I’m uncertain about the pairing of the waistcoat and the jacket – is having both peak-collared something that will look ridiculous? And the combination of single and double-breasted seems to make sense in my head, but is it commonly borne out?

Lastly, would black and white spectators work, or pull the whole thing apart and make it look even more like costume?

Dear Michael, you are right in your description of this a lot of look. To be honest, I think it is too much. But it can also be saved fairly easily I think.

Let’s start with the colour of the suit. Go for the medium grey, not the black. A black suit with chalk stripe can too easily make you look like a wide-boy trader or a gangster, and besides, black as a colour suits almost nobody. The mid-grey should be more flattering, seem more formal at the wedding and provide better use later on.

The pockets need to be quietened down a little as well. Unflapped pockets may look a little odd with a suit that isn’t that formal elsewhere, and a ticket pocket produces the opposite effect. Equally slanted pockets. It feels like you are trying to throw too many quirks into one area. I would pick just one: two unflapped, straight pockets, for example, or three with flaps.

On the waistcoat and jacket, don’t worry about the double and single breasted, but do worry about the lapels (the collar is the top section, around your neck by the way). Having both peaked will look too much – like you are trying to wear two outfits instead of one.

Instead I would go for a collarless waistcoat – I have a suit and waistcoat in exactly that configuration and the sweep of the waistcoat underneath the jacket adds subtle verve without being over the top. If you must have a collar on the waistcoat, make it a shawl collar – a very traditional look on a double-breasted.

And the advantage of paring back in all these areas is that it is the only way you’ll be able to get away with wearing spectators as well.

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Wright's Words

Dear Mr. Crompton,
I wrote to you a few months ago about…some vital style concern.

As I’ve sought suits and separates lately, I’ve learned that while I thought that I was a 40, I am truly around a 38 long – sometimes a 36. In-turn, I’ve learned that some designers will fit me better than others and in ways that I prefer. After having bought two suits, a Valentino and a Z Zenya, from Bloomingdale’s at more than 50% off, I write to you again.

I know that these names, as well as Hart Schaffner Marx, Armani, and many others are high-end brands. I know that Boss is a little bit lower and Ralph Lauren, except for his purple and black label, is lower still.

Without giving me an exhaustive and exhausting list of names, please tell me the tiers of men’s suits and brands. Or if you’ve already done so, please direct me to the column link.

Be well,

Will Wright |[email protected]



I agree 100% with the advice you gave Michael. His initial description was a bit over-the-top, and you scaled it back in just the right places. I even had the same thoughts on what to do with the waistcoat lapels!


You’re sure to have a wonderful look at your wedding, especially if you follow Simon’s advice. I might suggest a two-button jacket; three button jackets flatter fewer men, while two buttons looks good on everyone. Also, I’d save the spectators for the honeymoon. I love spectators, but they’re just not formal enough for a wedding. You could even wear them at the reception, but I think they’d be out-of-place on the bridegroom during the ceremony. After all, the bridegroom is supposed to let his beautiful bride shine, not be the center of attention himself, and spectators will draw too much attention away from her.

Wedding Invitation

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Hi my name is Shela I am from New York
i am here to say that your designs are great.


Hi Simon.

I have a wedding in November and I’m struggling to find the right outfit.
My wedding will be in the Maldives (a luxury beach resort) and starts at 4.30pm going till late.
Ideally I would like to wear a tuxedo however I don’t know if this is appropriate being a destination wedding.
All the recommendations for online are for a cream or linen attire. That’s really not my style.
Do you have any suggestions?




Dear Simon,

First, I am a big fan of your site. Thank you for all your hard work in providing us with quality material.

I am getting married in the fall and have decided to go the tuxedo route. I have purchased the tuxedo and shoes, and am now on to the shirt. Could you give some advice on the different styles of shirting for tuxedos and why (or why not) a person should wear a shirt with a bib, or studs, etc? Would it be possible to “get away” with a standard white shirt with hidden buttons, for example?

Thank you,



Hi Simon,

first of all let me congrats for your blog. I would like to ask you an advice for my wedding. I’m going to get married on June 2017 in Italy. The ceremony and the party will be celebrated in a Tuscan 10th century abbey in a country chic setting.
My intention is to have a bespoke suit but I really can’t decide both what kind of suit and what tailor.
I would like to avoid any formal tuxedo and I would prefer something both flamboyant and elegant.
Do you think that a double breasted jacket can be an option? Maybe with cream/white pants or a complete double breasted suit in light grey or blue?
Regarding the tailor, do you think that Caliendo could be the best choice?

Thank you.


Very helpful. Thank you

Would you use also a light green or pale blue tie with that DB suit?


Yes, I mean everything monotone and very sober.

Thank you very much!

Tom K

Hi Simon,

I have read through your posts on wedding suits which I have found very useful. I am going to commission a db suit in navy from Solito. What weight of cloth would you recommend for an English wedding in September? What would your preference be in the type of cloth? I was thinking either a worsted or a flannel? Many thanks in advance, Tom


Hi Simon,
Thanks so much for your contribution.

Just like the other readers and comments left above, I have a wedding in May next year at Bali. This is a destination wedding by the beachside cliffs overlooking the ocean. The groom usually wears something more on the casual side due to the location and environment but I prefer to be more on the formal side. I was thinking of a two or possibly three-piece suit if weather permits in a beige/ oatmeal color or possibly grey/beige (greige). Contain some texture to keep it interesting. Suggestions on shirt and tie color? Would French cuffs be overkill? White handkerchief to finish off with brown cap toes.


Hi Simon, love your work!

I’m going to be the MC at my sisters wedding, London in July.
The venue is a warehouse in East London and there aren’t any specific rules regarding attire.

I’m going to get a suit made and am keen for something a bit different. I’ve done some research and love the casual Neapolitan look. I am leaning towards a double breasted, relaxed look, white shirt without a tie (open collar).
I’m also thinking a loafer (brown snuff tassle or gucci horsebit)

Any ideas on colours/fabrics to pull of a relaxed look? Or am i in danger of upstaging the groom! 🙂


Separates could work. I felt double breasted and tie was a bit too formal. I’ve seen some lovely seersucker on this site, in navy and green. How about a single breasted seersucker? I appreciate I’ve got quite a few ideas still running round my head, good job the wedding is not till next year!


Dear Mr Crompton,
Dear Fellow Readers,

I read several of your articles here and I have found them very useful. I am facing a similar challenge for my wedding as well and looking for some guidance as I am relatively new, but also sincerely enthusiastic to classical men’s wear,

My options are determined by the venue (a late 18th century mill) and the time (late afternoon in early October).

I thought to wear a midnight blue or navy suit with a contrasted waistcoat, an ecru shirt, black grenadine tie and a black cap toe derby. In my mind the suit ought to be simple, single-breasted with a wide notched lapel, the single-breasted waistcoat collarless either in grey or preferably beige, the shirt with French cuffs. The latter cannot be white, because the dress of my fiancé will also be ecru. Would it be better for me to consider the shirt in light blue?

Any advice is much appreciated! Thank you very much in advance.



Dear Mr Crompton,

I have played with the thought of a Prince of Wales check, but is it suitable for a wedding? Double breasted would be great but I am afraid I have a bit of a belly (180 cm and 92 kg) to look in that well enough. Anyway, I will ask my tailor to show me some options; maybe I am just too cautious.

My idea would have been something such as this in my mind.



Dear Mr Crompton,

Thank you very much for your insight. Now I wait my appointment to the tailor even more eagerly!




Dear Simon,

Thank you for your insightful post (and fellow readers’ invaluable input). I am planning for a wedding next year, possibly in an outdoor setting in the evening and continuing into the night.

Regarding your recommendation on a pale grey suit, may I know if this only applies for a day wedding setting, and that a mid-to-dark grey suit would be more suitable in my case? Also, would you suggest commissioning a SB suit if this is only my first or second suit commission?

Lastly, other than a black and white tie, are there other colours which you would pair with a mid-to-dark grey suit and a white shirt?



Dear Simon,

For my wedding in April I’m considering having the following suit made: a very dark navy (midnight blue), single breasted with one button, wide lapels, high rise forward single pleated trousers with 4cm cuffs. I have a few questions:

  1. Assuming it’s tailored well, is this an elegant suit for a wedding?
  2. At what point do wide lapels start to look ridiculous? I was thinking around the 11cm mark.
  3. I plan to wear a white shirt with cuffs but I’m lost on the tie and pocket square front. What would you suggest?
  4. Finally, I will be in black shoes. I’m torn between Oxford, Derby, Loafer. Any suggestions? I rather like an aproned derby (such as Dover at Edward Green), but unsure whether it’s suitable for a wedding.

Apologies for the long list!



Thank you, Simon. Much appreciated!


Hi Simon,

Hope all is well!

I was hoping you could give me some advice. I’m looking for some shoes for my wedding which is taking place by the beach in Colombia (it will be quite warm). I had a suit made in this Drapers Supersonic fabric: I’ve thought about black leather loafers from C&J but feel that black leather is too formal given the beach location. Do you happen to have any thoughts or recommendations?

Thank you!


Hi Simon,

Thank you for the reply! I bought some black loafers from C&J but I just found out the wedding ceremony, cocktail, and dinner will all take place on the sand. What do you think I should do? I’m considering Edward Green’s Polperro loafers but I don’t think suede will fare well in sand. What are your thoughts?

Thanks again,