What should a slacker wear to a wedding?
October 7, 2005 8:57 AM   Subscribe

What kind of outfit is cool, cheap, appropriate for a wedding, and can be found at a typical American mall?

Apparently, I've lost more weight in the past year than I realized. This morning, while trying to figure out which suit I'd wear to a friend's wedding tomorrow, I found out that all of my "nice" clothes are now ridiculously large on me. I'm embarassed to admit that I've become one of those boors who can't buy anything more complicated than tshirts and jeans without the aid of a fashion-conscious friend. And I don't have a single one in town right now.

I need everything except maybe shoes (my feet, thankfully, are the same size). I can't break the bank, though I'm willing to spend more on stuff I might wear more than once. There's going to be a very broad demographic at this wedding, so I figure dressing with an average level of formalness will put me in the middle. If it helps any, I have a pretty lanky frame, and shaggy, curly hair.

So how should I dress, and what must I get?
posted by Eamon to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (20 answers total)
Day or night wedding? Indoors or outdoors? We need info on how formal this shindig is going to be. I've been at weddings with guys in khakis and button up shirts (sans tie) and weddings where everyone is in a very nice suit.
posted by chiababe at 9:09 AM on October 7, 2005

A good navy suit in superfine wool. Single breasted. 3 buttons. Flat fronted trousers. Straight leg.

White shirt. Proper cuffs. Cutaway collar. Cufflinks.

Tie. Silk. Windsor knot. Lighter blue than your suit. No patterns.

White handkerchief.

Black or brown shoes. Polished. Matching belt.

Sorted. All reusable.
posted by blag at 9:15 AM on October 7, 2005

How cheap?
posted by LittleMissCranky at 9:20 AM on October 7, 2005

I'd second blag. Honestly, every man in western society needs to have at least one good suit and a couple of dress shirts and ties to go with it. Weddings and funerals and perhaps job interviews are bound to come up and you need those items hanging in your closet so you're prepared.
posted by orange swan at 9:43 AM on October 7, 2005

Men's Wearhouse or JCPenney. IME, both have helpful-type clerks who will be your "fashion conscious friend". A full suit might be a little more formal than "average".

For multi-purpose wear, I'd say:
Dress pants, don't have to be wool. Cotton twill is fine. Flat front. Dark blue, charcoal grey, khaki, olive green.

Sport coat in a subtle pattern that coordinates with the pants (greys, blues, browns). (IOW, don't put a gray sport coat with khakis.)

White (most formal), off white, beige, or pale blue (less formal) dress shirt. Not an oxford-weave. Tone on tone patterns are nice for this, because then you can wear it again later without looking like you forgot your jacket. The shirt color depends on the color of the sportcoat, but that's why you have a clerk helping you. :) You could also go with a fine gauge sweater under the sportcoat if it's a daytime wedding.

Do you have any ties? If you have a favorite, take it with you when you shop. Otherwise, get a tie that coordinates with the jacket and the shirt. Tie clip, if you don't have one.

Dark socks!

(FWIW, this is how I dress Mr R. for weddings and funerals. He's a stereotypical fashion-less geek.)
posted by jlkr at 9:45 AM on October 7, 2005

Response by poster: blag's suggestion definitely sounds classy, but I don't think I have enough time to put that together before tomorrow. It's probably a good bit more dosh than I should spare, too (LittleMissCranky: definitely under several hundred dollars, I guess for this sort of thing that's really cheap).

It's an afternoon, outdoor wedding. The weather took a sudden turn yesterday, so it's going to be a little chilly. Sweater under a sportcoat sounds like something I could do. Would sort of sweater should I look for?
posted by Eamon at 10:05 AM on October 7, 2005

Nothing but a suit will do, in my view. Canali is nice.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 10:17 AM on October 7, 2005

Salespeople at menswear stores are good at "Throw me together an outfit for this event". Aim for the right kind of stores based on price range and the comments above and put yourself at the mercy of a well-dressed salesperson.
posted by mendel at 10:20 AM on October 7, 2005

Last time I bought a suit I went to Men's Wearhouse and their prices BLEW compared to what was on sale at Macy's. Don't take their word for it that their prices are better - compare.
posted by phearlez at 10:22 AM on October 7, 2005

I'm seconding the Men's Warehouse recommendation. I was recently in a similar situation to yours (funeral, not wedding). I went to MW, explained my situation (I had to be on a plane at 7:00a the next day, suit in tow) and they hooked me up (including tailoring). My suit was ready four hours later.

A couple days after that, I got a call from the store manager. He explained that he'd heard about my situation from the associate who helped me, knew it was a rush job, and just wanted to make sure I was pleased with the result. Nice touch, I thought...

I'm sure that better bargains can be found at Macy's or elsewhere, but the speed and quality of service that I got at Men's Warehouse was worth the extra cash - since like you (I'm assuming - apologies if I'm wrong) attire isn't really my thing.
posted by 27 at 10:35 AM on October 7, 2005

I agree with blag, but you could also do gray slacks with a blue wool jacket.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 10:54 AM on October 7, 2005

Skip the hanky.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 10:55 AM on October 7, 2005

I was just at an outdoor, afternoon wedding last month, and most of the men were wearing some basic variation on what jlkr describes -- dress pants, sport coat, light colored shirt, and tie.
posted by scody at 11:08 AM on October 7, 2005

*sigh* No man ever got laid in a sportcoat. But, if you must, you need a thin fine wool or cotton sweater. Fitted, not baggy. V-neck. White Tshirt or white shirt underneath.

If I were you, though, I'd wear the sweater under a suit. And take a tie in case you find yourself underdressed. There is no such word as "overdressed" when it comes to weddings.
posted by blag at 11:31 AM on October 7, 2005

Response by poster: If I go for a shirt under a v-neck (under a suit or sportcoat), what sort of collar should I have?
posted by Eamon at 12:24 PM on October 7, 2005

PLease God don't wear a patterned sport coat. A blue wool coat is really versatile, and will last beyond the wedding.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 12:29 PM on October 7, 2005

Since you said you lost a good amount of weight, I assume that you are in pretty good shape right now.

A black turtleneck with a (dark) navy or charcoal suit might be a good idea. The suit (not a sport coat, for the love of Christ) lends you the appropriate formality while the turtleneck (which should be fitted, feel free to make it a (high quality) mock turtleneck) gives you a sportier vibe. All in all, on an athletic man it combines for good effect.

Shoes and belt should be black.
posted by oddman at 6:25 PM on October 7, 2005

Response by poster: Since you said you lost a good amount of weight, I assume that you are in pretty good shape right now.

Not hardly. I've just gone down a couple pants sizes. I'm still gangly and have bad posture.

Also, I haven't gone shopping yet (I tried, but the kiddo was not behaving at the mall), and this thing goes down tomorrow. Fortunately, the geek turnout should be moderately high (the bride and groom are cool, but seem to have a thing for weirdos. Ahem), so any effort at all should put me in the fiftieth percentile.
posted by Eamon at 6:46 PM on October 7, 2005

A third for Men's Wearhouse. Tell them where you're going and how much you have to spend. They'll fix you up.
posted by puddinghead at 9:41 PM on October 7, 2005

Response by poster: So I wound up spending more than I should've on a suit I probably wouldn't have chosen for myself. I wore it with a fitted mock turtleneck, and I think I looked pretty good. Thanks, all.

At least I have a suit that fits well now.
posted by Eamon at 8:03 AM on October 9, 2005 [1 favorite]

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