What is Formal Attire for a Wedding Male in 2023? The Ultimate Guide to Unveil the Perfect Dress Code

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what is formal attire for a wedding male

Traditional Formal Attire for Male Guests at a Wedding


When it comes to traditional formal attire for male guests at a wedding, the classic choice is a suit or tuxedo. A suit typically consists of matching pants and jacket, while a tuxedo includes a more formal jacket with satin lapels and typically comes with a bow tie. These options provide an elegant and sophisticated look that is appropriate for most weddings.

Components of Traditional Formal Attire

For traditional formal attire, there are several key components to consider. The suit or tuxedo should be well-fitted and made from high-quality materials such as wool or silk. It’s important to choose a shirt that complements the suit or tuxedo, usually in a neutral color like white or light blue. A tie or bow tie should be selected to match the overall color scheme of the outfit.


  • Choose a suit or tuxedo in a classic color such as black, navy, or charcoal gray.
  • Opt for a well-tailored fit to ensure you look sharp and put-together.
  • Consider adding accessories such as cufflinks, pocket squares, and dress shoes to complete your formal look.

Variations on Traditional Formal Attire

While traditional formal attire for male guests at weddings typically consists of suits or tuxedos, there are variations that can add personal style and flair. For example, some men may choose to wear a three-piece suit with a vest for added sophistication. Others may opt for different colored jackets paired with coordinating pants for a more unique look.

In recent years, there has also been a trend towards more casual formal attire, such as wearing a suit without a tie or opting for a dress shirt with rolled-up sleeves. These variations can be appropriate for less formal weddings or when the dress code allows for some flexibility.


  • Consider the formality of the wedding and the dress code specified on the invitation when selecting your outfit.
  • Don’t be afraid to add personal touches to your traditional formal attire to showcase your individual style.
  • Always ensure that your outfit is clean, pressed, and well-maintained to make a good impression.

The Evolution of Formal Wedding Attire for Men Over the Years


Over the years, formal wedding attire for men has undergone significant changes, reflecting shifts in fashion trends and societal norms. From traditional tailcoats to modern slim-fit suits, the evolution of men’s wedding attire showcases a blend of classic elegance and contemporary style.

Historical Background

In the past, formal wedding attire for men often consisted of tailcoats or morning coats paired with top hats. These outfits were considered appropriate for high society weddings and reflected a sense of formality and sophistication. However, as fashion evolved, so did wedding attire. In the mid-20th century, tuxedos became increasingly popular, offering a more streamlined and versatile option for grooms and male guests.

Modern Trends

Today, formal wedding attire for men embraces a range of styles and options. While traditional black-tie dress codes still exist, there is now greater flexibility in terms of colors and cuts. Many grooms opt for tailored suits in shades like navy blue or charcoal gray instead of traditional tuxedos. Additionally, accessories such as bow ties or pocket squares allow individuals to add personal touches to their outfits while maintaining a formal appearance.

Overall, the evolution of formal wedding attire for men reflects changing fashion preferences and a desire to balance tradition with individual style.

Guidelines and Dress Codes for Choosing Formal Attire for a Wedding

Dress Code Etiquette

When attending a wedding as a male guest, it is essential to adhere to the specified dress code outlined on the invitation. Understanding different dress codes will help you select appropriate formal attire that aligns with the couple’s expectations.

Black Tie

The most common dress code for formal weddings is black tie. This typically requires men to wear a tuxedo, black bow tie, and formal dress shoes. It is important to choose a well-fitted tuxedo that complements your body shape and opt for classic accessories like cufflinks or a pocket square.

Formal/Black Tie Optional

For events with a formal or black tie optional dress code, men have the choice of wearing either a tuxedo or a dark suit. While a tuxedo is still preferred, a well-tailored suit in navy or charcoal can also be appropriate. Pair it with a crisp white shirt, conservative tie, and polished dress shoes.

Creative Black Tie

Creative black tie allows for more individual expression while maintaining formal attire guidelines. Men can experiment with different colors and patterns in their suits or jackets while still adhering to the overall formal aesthetic. However, it is important to strike the right balance between creativity and maintaining an appropriate level of formality.

By following these guidelines and understanding the specific dress code for each wedding, male guests can ensure they are dressed appropriately for the occasion while showcasing their personal style.

Popular Options for Formal Suits or Tuxedos for Men at Weddings

Suit Options:

When it comes to formal wedding attire for men, suits are a popular choice. Classic options include the single-breasted suit, which features a jacket with a single row of buttons, and the double-breasted suit, which has two rows of buttons. Both options can be tailored to fit perfectly and come in various colors and fabrics. Another popular suit option is the three-piece suit, which includes a matching vest along with the jacket and pants. This adds an extra touch of sophistication to your look.

Tuxedo Options:

If you want to elevate your formal wedding attire, consider opting for a tuxedo. Tuxedos are typically reserved for more upscale weddings or black-tie events. A classic tuxedo consists of a black or midnight blue jacket with satin lapels, matching trousers with a satin stripe down the sides, and a crisp white dress shirt. You can choose between a bow tie or necktie as well as various accessories like cufflinks and pocket squares to complete your tuxedo ensemble.


  • Consider the formality of the wedding when choosing between a suit or tuxedo.
  • Ensure that your chosen attire fits well by getting it tailored if necessary.
  • Don’t be afraid to add personal touches through accessories like ties, pocket squares, and cufflinks.

Color Restrictions and Preferences in Formal Wedding Attire for Men

When it comes to color restrictions in formal wedding attire for men, it’s essential to consider any guidelines provided by the couple or their chosen theme. Traditionally, black has been the go-to color for formal events, including weddings. However, modern trends have opened up a range of options. Navy blue and charcoal gray are popular alternatives that exude elegance while adding a touch of uniqueness to your look.

Preferences in color can vary depending on the couple’s taste and the overall aesthetic they want to achieve. Some couples may prefer a more traditional approach with neutral colors, while others might embrace bolder choices like burgundy or even patterned suits. It’s always best to consult with the couple or refer to any dress code instructions provided on the wedding invitation to ensure you choose an appropriate color for your formal attire.

Tips on Accessorizing Formal Attire for a Wedding as a Male Guest

Accessorizing your formal attire for a wedding as a male guest allows you to add personal style and flair to your ensemble. Here are some tips to help you accessorize effectively:

Tie or Bow Tie:

Choose a tie or bow tie that complements your suit or tuxedo. Consider the color and pattern of your attire when selecting this accessory. A classic black bow tie is suitable for most formal occasions, while ties offer more versatility in terms of patterns and colors.


Cufflinks are an excellent way to add sophistication and personality to your formal attire. Opt for cufflinks that match your overall look, whether it be silver or gold-toned ones or those featuring unique designs.

Pocket Square:

A pocket square adds a touch of elegance and can inject some color into your outfit. Choose one that complements either your tie/bow tie or other elements of your attire.

Additional Tips:

  • Avoid over-accessorizing; choose a few key pieces to enhance your look.
  • Ensure that your accessories are in line with the formality of the wedding.
  • Consider the overall color scheme and theme of the wedding when selecting accessories.

Regional and Cultural Variations in Formal Wedding Attire for Men

The formal wedding attire for men can vary significantly based on regional and cultural traditions. Here are some examples:

Western Weddings:

In Western cultures, formal wedding attire for men often includes a suit or tuxedo. The specific style and color may vary, but the general concept remains consistent across different regions.

Indian Weddings:

In Indian weddings, men often wear traditional attire such as sherwanis or kurta-pajamas. These garments are intricately designed and feature vibrant colors and embroidery, reflecting the rich cultural heritage of India.

Additional Examples:

  • In Scottish weddings, men may wear kilts along with formal jackets known as Prince Charlie jackets.
  • In Chinese weddings, men may wear traditional outfits like the Tangzhuang or Changshan suits.
  • In Nigerian weddings, men often wear agbada or babanriga, which are flowing robes made from colorful fabrics.

Finding the Balance Between Comfort and Style in Formal Wedding Attire for Men

When choosing formal wedding attire as a male guest, it’s crucial to find the balance between comfort and style. Here are some tips to help you achieve this:

Fabric Choice:

Select fabrics that not only look stylish but also feel comfortable against your skin. Breathable materials like cotton or lightweight wool can help you stay cool throughout the event.

Proper Fit:

Ensure that your suit or tuxedo is properly tailored to your body measurements. Ill-fitting attire can be uncomfortable and restrict your movement. A well-fitted outfit will allow you to feel comfortable while looking sharp.

Tips for Comfort and Style:

  • Consider the weather conditions when choosing your attire; opt for lighter fabrics in warmer climates.
  • Choose shoes that are both stylish and comfortable, as you’ll likely be on your feet for extended periods.
  • Experiment with different styles and cuts to find what suits your body type best while providing comfort.

Suit vs. Tuxedo: Acceptable Choices for Male Guests at Weddings

Deciding between a suit and a tuxedo as a male guest at a wedding depends on various factors, including the formality of the event. Here’s what you need to know:


Suits are generally acceptable choices for most weddings, especially those with a semi-formal dress code. Opt for a well-tailored suit in colors like navy blue, charcoal gray, or black. Pair it with a dress shirt, tie or bow tie, and appropriate accessories to complete your look.


Tuxedos are typically reserved for more formal occasions or black-tie weddings. If the invitation specifies “black tie” or “black tie optional,” it’s appropriate to wear a tuxedo. Choose a classic black or midnight blue tuxedo with satin lapels, matching trousers, and formal accessories like cufflinks and bow ties.


  • Refer to the wedding invitation or consult with the couple to determine the dress code.
  • If in doubt, it’s better to err on the side of being slightly overdressed than underdressed.
  • Consider the time of day and venue when deciding between a suit and tuxedo.

Where to Shop for Affordable Yet Stylish Formal Wedding Attire for Men

Finding affordable yet stylish formal wedding attire for men is possible with these shopping options:

Retail Stores:

Many retail stores offer a wide range of formal attire options at various price points. Look for sales or discounts to score great deals on suits or tuxedos. Popular retailers like Macy’s, Nordstrom, and Men’s Wearhouse often have affordable options that don’t compromise on style.


If you’re attending a one-time event like a wedding, consider renting your formal attire. Rental services like The Black Tux or Generation Tux offer high-quality suits and tuxedos at reasonable prices. This allows you to wear designer brands without breaking the bank.

Tips for Affordable Shopping:

  • Shop during off-seasons or clearance sales to find discounted formal attire.
  • Consider buying separates instead of full suits if you already own some pieces.
  • Check online marketplaces like eBay or Poshmark for second-hand formal wear in excellent condition.

In conclusion, formal attire for a wedding typically consists of a suit or tuxedo for males. It is important to adhere to the dress code and choose appropriate colors and accessories to ensure a polished and elegant look for the occasion.

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