Guide to Choosing a Suit and Shirt for Your Wedding
Choosing the perfect suit for your wedding is a major factor in preparing for the big day. But with so many options in terms of color, fabric, and styling details, it can feel overwhelming at first. After all, if you want to achieve the perfect look, you need to think about everything from the suit and shirt to the tie, pocket square, and shoes.
Before you worry about all of that, start with the basics: the suit and shirt. Once you’ve got these two things figured out, you’d be surprised at how easily the rest comes together.
Wedding Suit and Shirt Colors
When it comes to the suit and shirt, there are a couple of things worth mentioning. First, most wedding suits come in one of five main colors: navy blue, medium gray, royal blue, light gray, and khaki.
The suit color helps determine the formality level of your attire, so it should be based on the wedding dress code. This goes for the shirt as well.
Wedding Suit Color #1: Navy Blue
Navy blue suits are both classic and timeless. With the right specifications, it’s really hard to go wrong with this color. After all, pretty much every guy looks great in a navy blue suit.
You can think of a navy suit as a template you can use to base the other colors of your outfit on. Because this color is so versatile, it pairs well with a wide variety of hues, including white, light blue, and even pink. Depending on the shade and shirt color, it can also work for either formal or informal events.
For weddings or other evening events, choose a darker navy suit with a white shirt. This ensemble perfectly matches the vibe of these more formal gatherings. For less formal events, pair your navy suit with a light blue or gray block stripe shirt. Doing this will give you a more relaxed look.
In terms of wedding dress codes, a navy blue suit is perfect for black tie optional and cocktail attire or semi-formal events.
Wedding Suit Color #2: Medium Gray
Medium gray suits are another timeless option. They’re sophisticated, classy, and versatile enough to be worn at most formal and semi-formal events.
If you’re trying to decide between navy blue and medium gray, it’s a toss-up. Because they’re so similar in terms of formality, you should ultimately choose the suit color that makes you look and feel the most confident.
That said, there are a few things to consider when it comes to medium gray, or even the darker charcoal gray, suits. As with the navy blue suit, gray suits pair well with other colors, such as white and neutral blues.
For a more formal wedding, a crisp white shirt will contrast nicely with a gray suit, regardless of the shade of gray. If you want something less formal, go with a lighter color for your shirt, such as blue.
Medium gray and charcoal gray suits are appropriate for black tie optional and cocktail attire or semi-formal events.
Wedding Suit Color #3: Royal Blue
Royal blue suits are popular for their classic, yet modern aesthetic. It’s a standout color, but it’s still quite versatile. That said, this color isn’t usually appropriate for evening events or highly formal occasions. The shirt colors that best complement royal blue suits are white, light blue, or pink.
Besides formality, one thing to keep in mind is the timing of the event. As a general rule, you should wear a darker suit during the day and a lighter suit during the evening.
As for the dress code, a royal blue suit is ideal for daytime cocktail attire weddings, dressy casual occasions, and tropical or beach-themed events.
Wedding Suit Color #4: Light Gray
The light gray suit is another classic, but it stands out for its Old Hollywood look. Since it’s another lighter suit, it’s best worn during the day. It pairs well with shirts that are white, light blue, or pink.
Generally speaking, light gray has a much more casual feel to it. So, it’s a good idea to reserve it for less formal events. That is any wedding with a daytime cocktail attire, dressy casual, or tropical/beach dress code.
Wedding Suit Color #5: Khaki
Now, if you’re looking for the ultimate casual suit color, khaki is the way to go. These suits are typically made from cotton, which is much more casual than wool. The lighter material and hue also make khaki best for warm-weather, daytime events.
Similar to navy blue suits, khaki is another great template on which to base your other colors. Shirts that go particularly well with this option are white, light blue, denim, or pink.
When it comes to dress codes, you can wear a khaki suit for daytime cocktail attire, dressy casual, tropical/beach, or spring/summer rustic events.
Now that you’ve got an idea of which suit and shirt color pair best with each other – and for which types of weddings -, it’s time to consider the suit details. This means the lapels, jacket pockets and vents, and the cuffs on your pants. As an aside, you probably won’t need to worry about these details if you’re renting a suit. But if you plan to buy one, these details are key to tying the whole look together.
Lapel Style and Width
For most wedding suits, you can choose either a notch lapel or a peaked lapel.
Perhaps the most common style, the notch lapel is easily recognized by its sideways “V” shape. It’s classic, traditional, and rather conservative, making it ideal for nearly any formal occasion.
A peaked lapel is best characterized by its upward point. It gives the wearer a distinguished look and is both classic and traditional. Unlike the notch lapel, though, it’s not quite as versatile.
Still, both lapel styles will work in a variety of settings, ranging from the most formal to casual. Though, if you’re preparing for an informal event, it’s better to go with a notch lapel over a peaked one.
Besides style, the width of the lapel is important to consider, too. It should always be proportionate to your face and body size. So, if you have a lean frame and a narrow face, go with a narrower lapel. But if you have broader proportions, choose a wider lapel to match.
The standard lapel width is between 2.5 and 3.5 inches. One of the current fashion trends with men’s suits is to have ultra-thin lapels. However, these lapels tend to throw off the entire balance of the outfit, so it’s better to avoid them unless you’re confident they’ll work for you.
Jacket Pocket Style
There are three common pocket styles when it comes to wedding suit jackets: jetted pockets, flap pockets, and patch pockets.
Jetted pockets are the most formal pocket style. Because of this, they’re much more common on tuxedos than they are on most traditional suits. However, if you do find a jacket with these pockets, only wear it in the most formal settings.
Flap pockets are more common – and traditional – than jetted pockets. Not only that, but they’re also quite versatile, meaning they’re appropriate for nearly any situation.
Finally, if you’re looking for a more casual option, go with patch pockets. These are best suited for tropical or beach weddings, rustic occasions, or daytime cocktail attire events.
As for jacket vent, you have three choices: no vent, single vent, and double vent.
No vent jackets are considered very old school. Because of this, you’ll rarely find suit jackets like this. You might, however, find a classic tuxedo in this style. This option is only suitable for the most formal occasions.
A single vent is exactly what it sounds like – a single slit at the back of the jacket near the base. This style is also old school, though not nearly as much so as the no vent option. It’s simplistic and looks great on most body types, making it a good choice for most semi-formal and formal events.
Double vent jackets have openings on both sides along the back hem. This style is the most common and modern of the three. If you’re not sure between the single vent and the double vent, always go with the latter.
When it comes to having cuffs on your pants, things get a little subjective. As a general rule, no cuff is best for more formal events, while a cuff is suitable for more casual ones.
However, this doesn’t mean you can’t have a cuff on formal suit pants. It comes down to a combination of things, such as your personal style preferences and the fabric of your suit. For example, cuffed pants don’t look great with a seersucker suit, due to the fabric type. On the other hand, a cuff can make more standard pants look a little dressier.
Since it can get a bit confusing, go with no cuff for weddings and similar events. That way, you won’t look or feel out of place.
Ultimately, you have several options when it comes to your wedding suit and wedding shirt. The most popular color choices for suits are navy blue, medium gray, royal blue, light gray, and khaki. The one you choose should be based on how formal the event is, as well as what time it takes place.
Besides that, it’s always a good idea to keep your suit’s details in mind. The next time you’re planning for any occasion, formal or informal, consider the lapel style, jacket pockets and vent, and cuffs. That way, you’ll be ready for anything.