After Five is alive?
August 17, 2007 9:56 AM   Subscribe

What should a man wear to a wedding with an "after five" dress code?

The internet says everything from a dark suit with a flashy tie and pocket square, to dress pants and a shiny shirt. What does "after five" mean for men?
posted by jcwagner to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (12 answers total)
The only way to be sure you'll wear what your hosts expected is to ask them. You won't be the only one to ask for such a ridiculous dress code (and I do mean "code") to be clarified.
posted by grouse at 10:04 AM on August 17, 2007

"After Five" is tuxedo to me. And anyway, when in doubt, always go tux - you'll be the best dressed guy there.
posted by meerkatty at 10:09 AM on August 17, 2007

Evening weddings are traditionally formal: think prom. A very nice, dark suit will probably work in a pinch. But, as grouse said, ask the hosts.
posted by brina at 10:19 AM on August 17, 2007

It's semi-formal. A dark suit is appropriate. Most of the wedding dress etiquette is described pretty well here.
posted by ferociouskitty at 10:21 AM on August 17, 2007

Technically, a tux, but you can definitely get away with a dark suit.

Whoever wrote that nice pants & a shiny shirt is wedding-appropriate should be publicly flogged and sent to etiquette hell.
posted by tastybrains at 10:32 AM on August 17, 2007

Also, it really isn't necessary to ask the hosts about every little thing before a wedding. The last thing a stressed out bride & groom need to do is counsel their guests on what to wear. Unless they are the sort to throw a crazy theme wedding, just go with what current wedding etiquette suggests, which is that evening weddings are pretty much formal if not black tie.
posted by tastybrains at 10:33 AM on August 17, 2007

Wear what you would to dine in a five star restaurant with your most sophisticated older relatives.
posted by dness2 at 10:53 AM on August 17, 2007

"After five" is presumably the evening, and "evening dress" is formalwear code for a dinner jacket, otherwise known as black tie or a tuxedo.

However, you can assume that if your invitees know the code, they would have just said "evening dress" if they meant "evening dress." Since they said "After five," presumably they meant something else. Call them and ask them.

I would not wear a suit in the evening. A suit is business attire and business is not conducted after five, nor at a wedding (unless you are an ill-mannered immigrant who brings your barbaric Old World culture with you, like Don Corleone in The Godfather.)

Perhaps the above posters are suggesting you should wear a leisure suit, which I also would not recommend, as it is no longer 1977.

Honestly, though, most people don't own a tuxedo and don't really care what kind of an etiquette statement their clothes are making these days. Those people will wear their one dark suit to the wedding, bring a present and their good wishes for the happy couple, and all will be well.
posted by ikkyu2 at 12:16 PM on August 17, 2007

Tux, no question.
posted by charlesv at 1:34 PM on August 17, 2007

Perhaps the above posters are suggesting you should wear a leisure suit, which I also would not recommend, as it is no longer 1977.

No, I wasn't suggesting a leisure suit (those were before my time), I was just suggesting a dark suit if the OP doesn't have easy access to a tux. Plenty of people wear them to evening weddings, and do a good job of dressing them up with a dressy shirt & tie.

Honestly, at my wedding, the only people whose outfits caught my eyes were the two kids whose parents let them change into jeans before the reception (one of the said kids demanded to know why he got a kids meal instead of the $120 steak he really wanted, too, grrr!!!). The bride & groom and their family will be very self-absorbed, probably too much to really investigate each guest's outfit.
posted by tastybrains at 1:34 PM on August 17, 2007

After Six is actually the name of one of the biggest U.S. makers of formal wear. The name of the company came from the practice of evening wear being referred to as "after six dress," given that business suits were de rigeur until five o'clock, and the hour between five and six o'clock was generally reserved for getting home, having a cocktail, and dressing for dinner, typically in evening wear, for those going out for the evening.

I'm betting your hosts are trying to specify evening wear as the dress code for their event. Tux, no question.
posted by paulsc at 2:58 PM on August 17, 2007

I think the only reason to say "After Five" rather than "Formal Attire" or any of the other common fashion designations is to allow for some interpretation and implied flexibility. So you can go a little more casual than a tux (dark suit, although yes, it can be a little "worky" for a nighttime event, but you can add a cool tie) or even club attire (dark pants, shiny shirt). Basically, don't worry about it.

It's not your wedding, so you can relax into the fact that no one will be looking at what you wear unless you're on one of the extremes (bermuda shorts, top-hat-and-tails).
posted by nkknkk at 7:16 PM on August 17, 2007

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