Listen up. It’s wedding season. As you’re reading this, you’re probably thinking about the five invitations you have on your fridge right now, each with a different dress code. If you’re not the bride or groom, then the hardest part about weddings is figuring out what to wear. That's why we've put together a guide to end the confusion.
We’re breaking down the most common wedding dress codes, and showing you what to wear from head to toe.
First of all, who are you? If you’re going to a white-tie wedding we’re assuming you’re a celebrity or a diplomat (if that’s the case, you should definitely follow us on Instagram). White-tie dress code is the highest level of formality, and there is no room for interpretation in what you wear. Here’s how to play it so you don’t get laughed out of the building.
An evening tailcoat and trousers. It’s like a tux, but more formal. Make sure the vest, cummerbund, shirt, and bow tie are all white and make sure the tail of the jacket hits right at the knee. Your trousers should be tailored to fit perfectly with no bunching at the shoe. Speaking of shoes, they should be formal (oxfords will do) and polished. If you’re having trouble picturing it, just imagine you’re going to the Met Gala and dress accordingly.
You’ll need cuff links, but more importantly, you’ll need a watch. An occasion
this formal calls for a watch that screams sophistication and class. Go all out with an automatic. With an understated design and a caseback featuring a porthole window to showcase the mechanical heart of the timepiece, our Kairos Automatic White/Rose Gold
is a great choice for any white tie affair.
While you will probably never be invited to a white-tie wedding, black-tie weddings are still pretty popular. Black-Tie dress code is considered right behind white-tie in terms of formality, so still really formal. Here’s what to rock.
A black tux with a black bow tie. It really is that simple, guys. If you do not have one, rent one. Depending on the location and time of the event, you might be able to get away with another color tux, but black is always the tried-and-true option. Now, if the invitation says “black-tie optional” there is a little more room for interpretation. In this case, we will suggest you opt for a formal dark suit with a dark tie. In both cases, your shoes should be formal, black, and polished.
The accessories you pair with a tux should be classic and elegant
. Since your tux and shoes will be black, it’s best to continue the color scheme with whatever you wear on your wrist. The Bellwether Rose Gold + Black
is a great option when it comes to black-tie events. With its dignified design, round angular case, and polished finish, it’s going to complete your look and help you work the room at the reception.
This is where it gets tricky because semi-formal can sometimes be dependent on time and location. Semi-formal at a daytime wedding in the summer at a country club is not the same as semi-formal at a traditional ceremony in the evening during the winter. So first things first, read the invitation. Once you’ve completed step one, we’ve got some tips for you.
No matter the setting, the basic building blocks for your look should be a suit with a collared shirt and a tie. If it is a more summery occasion opt for lighter fabrics and colors, like gray or beige. If it is a more traditional occasion during the winter months, a dark suit and heavier fabrics are probably more appropriate. Just remember the suit should match, and your shoes should match your belt.
Your watch shouldn’t be flashy, but it should be a statement piece. Our top choice is The Bellwether Rose Gold + White.
It’s understated, elegant, and works in every season. The rose gold is just polished enough to catch the eye, but won’t be overpowering. It puts the “formal” in “semi-formal” so even if you’re attending something that leans on the casual side, your watch will elevate your look
This seems to be the dress code people have the most problem with, yet is still the dress code you’ll come across most often, and not just for weddings. Dates, business events, holiday parties, can all call for cocktail attire. To simplify, cocktail attire is really just meant to bridge the gap between formal and casual. Here’s how you achieve perfect balance.
You can have more fun with cocktail attire. Within reason. You’re still going to need a suit, but you can probably lose the tie. We suggest you start with dark trousers and a collared shirt. What you choose to wear for your blazer is up to you. Show off your personality by wearing a patterned jacket in a classic color like blue
, navy, or gray. Stay away from sneakers. Go with dress boots or loafers instead.
The accessories you wear do not have to be as formal, but you still want to have a nice watch to add some extra class. We suggest the Chrono S Blue/Black
. With the angular design of the case to the sunray blue dial, this watch is going to stand out. The blue face can also provide an interesting contrast if you have on an otherwise monochromatic look. It’s polished without being stuffy, which sums up cocktail attire pretty well.
“Beach” and “formal” might seem like they don’t belong together, but they are frequently found side by side on wedding invitations. For occasions like this, your outfit has to pull double duty. You have to dress to impress, but also dress for the elements. If you’re completely lost at sea with this, here’s how you can stay afloat.
We know it’s on the beach, but if you see the word “formal,” you’ve got to go with some variation of a suit (the tie is optional). Unless you are a fan of sweating, you’re going to want lighter fabrics, lighter colors, and lighter shoes. Tan trousers are always a good option. Paired with a linen button-up shirt and tan blazer, it makes for a beach-ready look that will keep you cool. For the feet, remember you’ll likely be near water, so shoes you can wear without socks are best.
You are going to want a lighter and less formal style here to go with your suit. The Kairos White/Silver
is a tastefully bold watch that will carry you through any warm-weather event. With its slim silhouette and tan leather strap
, it’s versatile enough to go with any color suit you wear and formal enough polish off your look.
Pay more attention to the word “dressy” than you do the word “casual.” You don’t want to leave the event and forever be known as the guy who was way underdressed, so keep it refined. Here’s how you can look casual, but not too comfortable.
Treat this occasion as slightly less formal than cocktail attire. No need for a tie. In fact, you probably should not wear one. You can also probably lose the collared shirt if it is a daytime event. We suggest a white button-down and a sport coat and coordinating trousers or chinos. You can go a little more casual with the shoes, but we still suggest staying away from sneakers.
You’re going to want something that’s not too formal, but still lets you look sophisticated. The Chrono S Rose Gold
delivers on all aspects. It’s a timeless and edgy look that will impress at every point in the day. No matter where the night goes, this watch won’t let you down.
We know your cousin’s invitation says “casual” but we promise you, he does not want you to show up in shorts. Casual at a wedding is not the same as your casual weekend wear. Do not wear shorts. Do not wear a t-shirt. Do not wear jeans. Do not wear flip-flops. So what’s left? We’ll tell you.
At the end of the day, you just need to look put together. A pair of chinos with a button-down shirt will do. Consider the time and location when deciding on the colors. Remember you can’t go wrong with dark colors, but the setting might call for something lighter. For the footwear, you can get away with breaking out your nicest sneakers (nicest being the keyword) or boots, just make sure they are clean and do not look too worn.
The Kairos Mesh Matte Black
is both casual and impactful. It’s low-key (just like the occasion), but is still able to give your look an extra touch of class
. It won’t make you look overdressed, but it might get you a nomination for best-dressed.
And that about covers it. This should help you navigate every dress code you’ll ever encounter. Shop all the looks below, and don’t forget to tag us in your wedding photos on Instagram.