How to Dress for a Wedding: The Trad Edition

Invited to a wedding and you aren’t sure what to wear? Join the club. I don’t know all the ins and outs of formal dress, but I can share a few tips that will help point you in the right direction. There are a few variables that will help you figure out what to wear not only to a wedding, but anywhere. These variables are: occasion, host, venue, weather, and time of day.

I will walk you through how I applied the above to the latest wedding that I attended. Lets get started. The occasion is a wedding which gives us a general idea about what’s acceptable and what’s not. Let’s dig a little deeper. Does the wedding invite specify the dress code? If it says black tie then the problem is solved. My invite did not indicate that it is black tie. Let’s look at some other clues

Next up is host. I don’t know the couple that is getting married very well. I do know that they are younger professionals and were relatively well put together the few times that I have seen them. Not too much to work with so far. Let’s see if the answers to other questions paint a clearer picture. The venue is outdoors, it’s summer, and it’s a daytime wedding. These all point to the more casual spectrum of wedding attire. This I can work with.

Based on the answers above I have an idea of what I want to wear. I know the shirt will be white because that’s what has been drilled into my head to wear to formal events. I won’t go the spread collar route, but will keep it trad with a white OCBD. I’m nixing the suit because from the last few weddings that I have been to suits have been few and far between. Plus it’s outside in July. It will be hot. So I predict even fewer suits will be worn.

I went with a classic trad look that’s often gets ridiculed as the security guard look. White OCBD, blue blazer, grey wool pants, tie, and burgundy penny loafers. I chose a tasteful vintage YSL patterned tie even though I know that a “wedding tie” is more correct. The outfit was perfect for the occasion. I was neither the best nor the worst dressed guest which is exactly where I want to be. There were more suits than I expected which was not many, but it’s good to see them still in action. I was happy with my decision. Not one single person mistook me for a security guard or employee by the way.

oxford cloth button down
Jerrod Swanton is a simple man interested in simple, classic, and traditional style.

5 Comments on "How to Dress for a Wedding: The Trad Edition"

  1. Prescott Forbes says:

    If I dress like a security guard, I’ll be better dressed than the vast majority of customers when I go shopping.

  2. Michael Powell says:

    I had two white OCBDs. My sister-in-law asked if I had a white shirt she could wear. I gave her one (still in the wrapping). I mentioned this to my lady friend, and she asked if I had a white shirt she could wear. I gave her the other one. The next week, I bought two white OCBDs. Brooks.

    The thing is, I don’t wear white shirts. I have them, just in case.

    Oh, would black penny loafers still be considered Trad (or Ivy)?

    • oxford cloth button down says:

      I get it. For the most part I only wear white OCBDs when I am getting dressed up. As for the black penny loafers I say yes, they are trad. In my eyes black gets a pass only in shoe form lol.

    • Tie clip says:

      Micheal, I think white shirts are really under rated. They are a lower common denomination in terms of dressing elegantly and stylishly, therefor everyone needs to know how to wear them to be considered good at dressing. They’re not a destination, just a stepping stone. Still I think you would find at least a few white shirts in any well dressed mans wardrobe. They’re at least a reasonable choice with every single tie out there. They’re also great for when you want to look formal yet unassuming.
      Their utility can’t be denied.

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