men can't wear sundresses.
June 19, 2007 4:21 PM   Subscribe

My boyfriend and I are heading to an outdoor wedding this weekend. It's expected to be hot, so I am questioning the appropriateness of a suit. The poor man will roast. What should/ can he wear that is acceptable?

To give a little more detail. He's not the type of guy that is into fashion. That is kinda evident from the clothes pile on the end of our bed. He is more of the 30 year old grad student/ science type. He wears what I buy him, although, I am conscious of his comfort over fashion stance, but try to upgrade when possible. We are going to a cousins wedding on my side of the family, and he missed the last 4 due to summer research that he does in Maine. So... this is it, the mystery boyfriend is finally showing up and I want him to look nice. (but comfortable) As I mentioned above, it's in NJ, outside, and it's expected to be in the 80's.
posted by brinkzilla to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (38 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Will other men at the wedding be wearing suits? If so, he should be in one also. Look for summer-weight wool, preferably in a light color if it's an afternoon wedding. Maybe seersucker or linen?
posted by monju_bosatsu at 4:25 PM on June 19, 2007

This is what linen and seersucker suits were invented for.

Nothing, and I mean nothing, looks more fly than a guy who is really working a linen suit.
posted by mckenney at 4:26 PM on June 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

I wore a suit to my sister's wedding. Of course, I was a groomsman.

It was much hotter than 80, although it wasn't the wedding that was outdoors, it was the several hour long reception.

At the last wedding I attended, I wore a polo shirt and slacks. That was more dressy than many others bothered to wear, but it was in Oklahoma. Take from that what you will. ;)

On preview: I only wish the suit I was wearing had been linen instead of a cotton/polyester blend from whatever rental place they were using. My point was to say it can be done if required. 80s is not that hot.
posted by wierdo at 4:28 PM on June 19, 2007

if it's exceptionally hot, i'd say just skip the tie, and take off the jacket once the reception starts. otherwise, he may just have to suck it up.
posted by gnutron at 4:30 PM on June 19, 2007

Thirding the linen/seersucker suits. There will probably be a point at which he can ditch the jacket... at my friend's wedding back in July, that's what a lot of men did after the reception dinner--they just ditched the jacket and kept rockin' the pants, shirt and vest (if applicable).

As long as he hydrates enough (but not too much) beforehand, he should be fine.
posted by Verdandi at 4:31 PM on June 19, 2007

The cool thing about suits is that the jackets and ties can come off if you get hot. If he is wearing a nice shirt under it there is no big deal.
posted by magikker at 4:37 PM on June 19, 2007

He can wear whatever you, the bride, thinks is appropriate and comfortable, and to hell with what anyone else says.
posted by misha at 4:38 PM on June 19, 2007

Response by poster: So, a button down short sleeve shirt is not a good idea?

btw... misha I'm not the bride I am a guest at my cousins wedding.
posted by brinkzilla at 4:40 PM on June 19, 2007

Isn't there some sort of rule-of-thumb where male guests can wear clothes of formalness one step down from the groom? As in, if the groom is going to be in a tux, men should wear suits. If he's in a suit, they can wear a nice button-down shirt, etc.
posted by Durin's Bane at 4:42 PM on June 19, 2007

I am all for skipping the tie in this case, and working something like a pink oxford button-down under the flax-colored linen suit, with perhaps the first button unbuttoned. I think it will project a cool, "I'm wearing a suit, but it's still hot as fuck and I'm totally smooth" thing, but it's also a little more casual than your regular, everyday suit.
posted by mckenney at 4:42 PM on June 19, 2007

Stupid me didn't preview.

No, please, for the love of god, do not dress him in a button-down short-sleeve shirt. Worst case scenario, let him roll up the sleeves of a long-sleeve shirt. Button-down short sleeve scream Dilbert. Unless it's whimsical and very summery, at which point it would not be appropriate for a wedding anyway.
posted by mckenney at 4:44 PM on June 19, 2007 [3 favorites]

I think people here have answered the question of: Can he wear a suit in that weather? The answer is yes.

Does he need to wear a suit? That depends on a lot of information we don't know. We don't know your family or your cousin and what the expectations might be. May I suggest calling another guest or two and asking informally what they plan to wear?
posted by vacapinta at 4:44 PM on June 19, 2007

As a victim of many summer weddings in the South (including one where the bride's mom turned off the ac in the church so the candles would stay lit, glad I got to be in a tux for that one, I tell ya :roll:) - It's going to depend on how fancy everything is going to be. If you're on good footing, call your aunt/uncle and ask them what they think, or your mom/dad, whoever the direct relation is.

I've gone to several summer weddings in a very nice long sleeved dress shirt and a tie, but had my jacket in the car just in case I got there and things were more dressed up than I was expecting.
posted by pupdog at 4:46 PM on June 19, 2007

Oh yeah: linen and seersucker are great. Is this in the morning? Afternoon? Evening? My thought might be different in each case but I can't see why a suit would be too much to expect for a wedding. Lightweight wool (they call it tropical weight for a reason) would be totally fine.

And 2nding the no button down short sleeves. Unless he's 8 years old. And even then I don't like it.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 4:52 PM on June 19, 2007

Some additional thoughts.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 4:54 PM on June 19, 2007

Oh, crap, I totally misread the question. You aren't getting married, you're going to a wedding. Just ignore me, sorry.
posted by misha at 5:07 PM on June 19, 2007

Lightweight suits are great, and absolutely the right idea, but getting one by this weekend seems a bit implausible, unless the fellow in question happens to be a magically off-the-rack size and shape.
posted by redfoxtail at 5:09 PM on June 19, 2007

hahahaha so exciting, the one time of year when the boys are dressed more uncomfortably than the girls!

Seriously though, the wedding ceremony itself should not take that long. The reception will quickly become a party and jackets will start coming off. Then, he'll be nice and cool when he actually has to start meeting your family.
posted by bluenausea at 5:18 PM on June 19, 2007

It's actually not supposed to be unbearably hot this weekend in Jersey - mid to upper 70s with a slight chance of showers on Sunday.
posted by infinityjinx at 5:59 PM on June 19, 2007

No, please, for the love of god, do not dress him in a button-down short-sleeve shirt. Worst case scenario, let him roll up the sleeves of a long-sleeve shirt.

Amen. He really needs to wear a suit.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:36 PM on June 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

Echoing earlier suggestions: Call the bride and ask her what she expects people to wear. You won't be the first person to ask her this question.

If you can't get any feedback, I say go with pupdog's suggestion...suit, shirt, tie, but leave the coat in the car unless it's needed. It may seem like he's overdressed, but even if he is, he'll impress the family that much more.

And from the description of your boyfriend's fashion sense, don't bother buying him a linen suit. Besides this event, how many times do you expect him to wear it in the future?
posted by puritycontrol at 6:40 PM on June 19, 2007

He does need a suit, but that does not mean he has to wear the jacket for more than a few minutes.

Wear it when he arrives, but not during the ceremony.
Wear it for any family pictures.
Then drape it over his chair during the reception and forget about it.
posted by saffry at 6:44 PM on June 19, 2007

If he does need to wear a suit during the ceremony, but not necessarily the reception, maybe bring an extra shirt so he can wear something non-sweaty for the reception. Also consider bringing extra deodorant.

Hydrating is good, but if you can get still mineral water, it might be even more helpful than just plain tap/bottled water. Heat can be very draining; the extra minerals seem to help me a whole lot.
posted by amtho at 7:04 PM on June 19, 2007

I got married last summer and had very hot outdoor reception. It was a formal, fairly elegant wedding, but by the end of the night most people had lost their jackets and ties, and a lot of people had even changed into less formal wear (some down to t-shirts, in fact).

As the groom I was not offended or affronted by this whatsoever, and neither was my bride or anyone else involved. These were my friends and loved ones and I wanted them to enjoy the celebration comfortably.

The bride, groom, bridal party, parents, etc. will be MUCH too busy and concerned with their own emotions and responsibilities to really care what you wear. The women at the wedding will be much too concerned with what the other women are wearing. And the men won't care one way or another.

Out of respect for the bride and groom (and the people paying for the event), you should try to match the formality of the occasion. But if you show up in dockers, a nice button-down shirt with rolled up sleeves, and a tie, I highly doubt anyone will notice, let alone be offended. They'll probably be overjoyed to see you and will not think twice about your clothes.

That said, I don't know anything about the family at your wedding, and they may be more sticklers for formality. To be safe, you might want to cover all the bases. Bring/wear a suit that can be "stripped" in layers depending on how welcoming an environment it is. If it's a militantly formal event, you have a full suit. If it's a bit more relaxed, you can ditch the jacket and tie and still have a nice shirt/pants outfit. (The tie can double as a Rambo-style headband when the party really starts to pick up.) And then bring a change of clothes (something you'd wear to a barbecue or maybe a bit more formal), in case the atmosphere is conducive to being more relaxed.

In the end, I wouldn't worry too much. Wear what you find comfortable and respectful, and realize that you're probably the only one there who is putting any thought whatsoever into your outfit.
posted by Alabaster at 7:04 PM on June 19, 2007

I recommend slacks with a dress shirt and a light blazer. It's a classy look, and he won't miss the blazer after he takes it off.
posted by reenum at 7:11 PM on June 19, 2007

Whatever he wears, make sure that sweat doesn't show on it. Before you go, pour some water on it, if there is a large amount of contrast (purple shirts turn black, etc) DONT WEAR IT, nothing is more embarrassing than visible sweat. White is good, as is tan.
posted by blue_beetle at 7:13 PM on June 19, 2007

I agree with the others - wear a suit, with a shirt that will look nice once the jacket is removed. Maybe also have a polo or less formal shirt in the car to change into if everyone else seems to be doing it.
posted by mazienh at 7:23 PM on June 19, 2007

Just to chime in, he should wear a suit. If the ceremony is a reasonable length of time (e.g. under 30 minutes) then he should suffer in the suit jacket and tie throughout the ceremony, and then take them off at the reception. If it's an extremely long-winded religious ceremony and he just can't take it anymore then the world won't end if he takes the jacket off, but he should keep the tie on.

Technically he can wear whatever he wants, but I'm assuming you want to do the technically appropriate thing.

Short-sleeved button downs are tacky.
posted by tastybrains at 7:40 PM on June 19, 2007

Screw the suit. Be the cool guy in the Guayabera. Every single guy at the party will wish they were as cool as your guy.
posted by frogan at 9:38 PM on June 19, 2007

women may have all the doing up to do, but men have to stick it out in a suit for such an occasion...

Looking good should outweigh any discomfort...

just stick to natural, breathable fibers, which will really help

in fact, such fibers, which will wick sweat and block the sun, may be more comfortable than sitting in the sun w/shorts t-shirt literally roasting

i worked ft for 5 summers as a red coat british soldier at a historic fort, full wool coat, multi layered with cotten liner, wool vest, cotten shirt, wool pants...

it wasn't anywhere as bad as i thought it would be!
posted by Salvatorparadise at 10:42 PM on June 19, 2007

I sweat like a pig at the worst/best of times. So I bought a linen suit for a series of weddings. I still sweated and to boot, everyone thought I looked like a colonial gentleman from the days of the British Empire. Not a good look at any time, but especially if you're not white.

The last wedding I went to was in Scotland, and I was required to wear a kilt. Bingo! I didn't sweat, and felt relatively cool the whole time. Plus it's a good conversation topic, and allows you to repeat the Flanders quote "Feels like I'm wearing nothing at all!" for comedy effect.
posted by electriccynic at 1:50 AM on June 20, 2007

I'm n-thing the linen suit. Nothing can be sexier than a big group of men in linen and seersucker suits. I'm thinking Great Gatsby style white, crisp suits.

Also, another good way to stave off the heat is if he borrows some of your body powder. I personally suggest "Silky Underwear" from Lush products. That stuff is amazing and prevents some of the least attractive of pit-stains.
posted by banannafish at 6:03 AM on June 20, 2007

If he doesn't have a suit, then just buy a blazer that complements a pair of dress pants that he already has. He can wear the pants, a nice dress shirt and a tie, and just sling the blazer over his shoulder if it's too unbearable to wear it. This way he gets to prove that he at least made an attempt at formality, and doesn't have to blow a lot of money on a suit he'll never wear. No one should feel compelled to drop that kind of money just to attend a wedding.

Though it's true that every man should own at least one suit for formal occasions such as weddings, funerals, etc, if your man is just a one-suit kind of guy, they you DEFINITELY don't want that one suit to be a lightweight summery suit like linen or seersucker; you'd want it to be something more standard that can be used for more occasions.
posted by hermitosis at 6:35 AM on June 20, 2007

Light summer suit (and a panama would be great except nobody wears hats these days and a good panama is damn expensive), and may I point out that one doesn't need to be maximally comfortable at every single instant of one's life. One dresses up for special occasions, and one is a better person for it. And by "one" I mean "your boyfriend."
posted by languagehat at 6:55 AM on June 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

Although, I do have to say, that you will be surprised at the frequency to which you will wear a lightweight linen suit. Barbecues with a whimsical t-shirt underneath, summer parties, you name it. I am convincing myself via this question that my husband absolutely must own one ASAP.
I agree, it should not be your One Suit, but I am assuming as your boyfriend is a grownup, he already has the Funeral Suit. And the good thing about linen is that its cut is such that you don't need to get it tailored like you do a regular suit. It is meant to be a bit more roomy and drapey and casual, so alterations can be kept to a minimum.

Men often make the safe fashion choice, and it is extremely "Did You Just Walk Off The Cover Of A Magazine" when they go a little off-script and get creative and different. Not many men will have the courage to wear the linen suit, but many rewards to the one who does.
posted by mckenney at 7:55 AM on June 20, 2007

Since you don't have too much time before the wedding, if you do decide to go with the linen route, which I also recommend, H&M has some great linen sport coats for $60 (that look like they should cost two or three times as much). I rocked a white one at a wedding rehearsal/dinner in San Francisco last week. They have half a dozen other colors if you don't want him to be quite so Miami Vice.

You could pair them with some trousers (I wore a brown cotton houndstooth pair that cost me $50 from Express) and come out with him looking fantastic for just over a hundred bucks (plus another hundred for a shirt and tie, if you don't already have something that would match. And some sort of leather loafers.)
posted by J-Train at 8:29 AM on June 20, 2007

Whatever you choose, please make sure he is comfortable and feels handsome in it. Otherwise, good luck in ever getting him to let you dress him ever again.
posted by hermitosis at 11:26 AM on June 20, 2007

By the way, "Button-down" refers to the collar, not to the normal buttons that button a shirt. All "shirts" have buttons. Shirts without buttons are called "t-shirts." (Or sweaters, or what have you). A button-down shirt means the collar has those little buttons on the ends. (Please don't dress him in that kind of shirt either!)
posted by idledebonair at 10:37 AM on May 13, 2008

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