Weddings can be fancy. That’s why the standard groom cake topper comes in “tuxedo” and not “Hawaiian shirt.” But the weight of the wedding vows doesn’t come from cufflinks or a cummerbund — it’s a matter of personal sincerity. So if a less formal dress code means you feel more comfortable and more true to your style, go with that. The catalog of men’s wedding rings is making concessions to comfort and practicality, so why shouldn’t the groom’s wedding day outfit do the same?
However, even if you are keeping things low-key, you still want to signal the importance of the day and the seriousness of the promises you are making. And you still want to look good. There are a multitude of ways to do that without renting something that comes with ruffles and requires suspenders. Let’s be honest — there’s no denying the tuxedo’s appeal, but there are plenty of embarrassing variations. Here’s how to pull off that casual groom look.
Take in the Scenery
When it comes to pulling off a look, context is everything. Even James Bond might lose the tuxedo if he has to order his martini from a swim-up bar. That’s because he understood situation specific clothing, even if he took things a bit too far when it came to romper pajamas. Not all casual settings are the same. The linen pants that work for a beach wedding might not fit the vibe of a rustic barn — even if both venues fall into the casual category.
Match Your Partner
The bride plans on wearing a ball gown because that is her wedding dream. The groom’s one request is to wear his lucky jersey. If the bride and the groom are in agreement, we aren’t going to be the ones to say anything. Just be ready to tell guests to mind their own business when theysay something, because they probably will.
But if you want to avoid as much drama as possible and shoot for the kind of well-composed wedding pictures you want hanging on your mantle for generations, it can be nice when the bride and groom look like they are on the same page, instead of consulting entirely different catalogs. That means the bride and groom are not just reading the same memo about the wedding being casual. They might want to compare notes.
Unique Fancy Flourishes
Maybe you keep things casual with a gingham shirt and chinos, but you add in an extra element or two that stands out from your usual rotation.
On the morning of your remote destination wedding, it’s infuriating to discover that suspenders aren’t included in your tuxedo package and that tuxedo pants don’t have belt loops. But suspenders are one of the most comfortable forms of trousers insurance. So maybe you’ve always had a hankering to wear them, but didn’t want to deal with people quizzing you about “the special occasion.” This is a perfect opportunity. You’re already wearing a boutonniere. No reason not to give that bow tie or pocket square a whirl. Flair’s a lot more fun when it doesn’t feel required.
The Lone Rogue
You also have the option to flip that script. Liven up straight-laced groomsmen apparel with a vibrant statement shirt. Or remain formal from the ankles up, but step out for your walk down the aisle in a pair of Chuck Taylors. The way that you choose to break ranks with formal attire doesn’t have to be eye-catching. You can ease into a more subtle break with tradition by simply altering the color to a less common shade. That’s one of the perks of being the groom; a bride definitely causes more of a stir with a burgundy getup than her counterpart.
Different Colored Suit Jacket and Pants
Separates are all the rage for the ladies these days, but guys have been mixing it up for a while now. Wearing a different colored suit jacket and pants says: I have nice clothes and good taste, but I didn’t necessarily have to buy an outfit for this specific occasion.
Dress Down but Be Deliberate
Rolling out of bed and throwing on what you were wearing yesterday is not casual. It’s sloppy. Doing a bit of extra grooming doesn’t make you a groomzilla. Even if you are showing up in jeans, they should be clean jeans. You don’t have to dump product in your hair or shave your beard, but if you’ve got some wandering nostril hairs or other distracting features — get yourself in order.
Your wedding doesn’t have to be black tie for you to figure out your outfit ahead of time. Don’t get caught with those socks that almost match. If you need to tailor a couple of items so that you aren’t bursting buttons at the altar, that’s just planning ahead, which is something you need to do quite a bit when you link up with someone else. At the very least, you need to look put together, but it’s even better if you fit nicely with the other groomsman or the rest of the wedding party—even if that means simply coordinating the kind of activewear that matches your silicone rings as you jog off into the sunset together.