How to dress for a wedding: formal suit for the best man

If you’ve been asked to be the best man, you’re probably mostly thinking about throwing the bachelor party and safekeeping the wedding rings. That’s alright, however that’s not all there is to it. Yeah, I know. Just think about the wedding day and focus for a moment: it’s going to be a very full day, given your responsibilities.

Your speech needs to be a tear-jerker and not exceedingly embarrassing; you have to take care of the other guests and keep them entertained; you must deal with the caterer… the list of your tasks is endless. When the Big Day arrives, you’ll be expected to be up to it: you’re the groom’s right hand, he’ll need your support.

Preparation and good timing will go a long way but you have another trick up your sleeve: the perfect suit – comfortable and appropriate – will help you feel at ease and will tell about your role at first sight. 

Your suit will let the other guests know that you’ve done your best to look good – but not so much as to overshadow the groom. Our guide will help you be the second best dressed man at ceremonies and weddings.

The role of the best man

As we’ve already seen, your role as best man involves quite a few responsibilities. Here’s a list of the most important ones: it will help you visualize what needs to be done.

  • Safekeeping of the rings 
  • Help the groom choose his suit and get dressed on wedding day
  • Sign the marriage certificate
  • Give the donation to the priest for celebrating the wedding
  • Sit with the bride and groom
  • Toast the couple and make a speech
  • Deliver the best wedding gift
  • Help entertain the guests
  • Help manage all the details

Rules and etiquette for the best man

The best man should adapt his look to the groom’s or, in particular circumstances, to the groom’s father’s or brother’s. In other words: choose to wear tuxedo or morning dress according to the main man’s choice.

Avoid giving in to translucent details and profiled jackets, although recent tendencies would like to legitimize them. In case you choose to wear blue, pick a dark and intense shade and pair it with a tone-on-tone vest. It goes without saying: in case there are two or three groomsmen, they should harmonize their looks in order to prevent slips or unfortunate choices.

As far as tuxedos and morning dresses are concerned, keep in mind that they need to be buttoned up and it’s recommended to wear a white flower in the buttonhole. On a particularly elegant wedding you may also wear white gloves and a top hat in the same color as the suit. Remember, though: during the ceremony you’ll have to hold them, not wear them.

The rules for the formal attire at ceremonies change with the times, as it happens with business dress-code. Grooms do not always require that their best men stick to a specific dress-code, which gives everyone freedom to do as they like. This is normally good for those who have clear ideas, but it can make things complicated for the hesitant.

If you are unsure how to choose your best man’s suit, here are a few tips for you on how to pick the right look according to the time of the day, the season, and the kind of ceremony you’re attending.

How to choose the best man’s suit

According to the time of the day

Morning

Etiquette dictates that when the ceremony takes place before 6:00 pm the best man will wear a tuxedo or a morning dress, depending on the groom’s choice. If you are allowed to choose freely, our advice is to follow the groom’s lead and prefer light or light-medium shades of grey and blue.

Afternoon and evening

As already pointed out, before 6:00 pm the choice will be a tuxedo or a morning dress; after that time it’s only tailcoat. In case you’re free to choose, pick a three-piece-suit in a dark shade of grey or blue.

According to season

Fall and Winter

Prefer heavy fabrics, like 100% wool, blends of wool and silk, or wool and mohair weighing more than 270 g/m. Tuxedos should always be black, no matter the season; a three-piece-suit is best in blue, midnight blue, or charcoal grey

Spring and Summer

We suggest you prefer wool or a blend of wool and silk weighing around 260 g/m. Perspiration won’t be an issue and your look will be very sophisticated.

According to the place

On the beach

The weather and the location of a wedding are very important details to consider when you need to pick the perfect best man outfit. If the wedding is taking place at a warm, exotic location, the feisty occasion will require a light and breathable fabric. The choice will be a linen suit, or a blend of linen and cotton: the perfect match for an elegant and formal look.

In the city

Keep it elegant and traditional: a tailored suit in a classical color (charcoal grey or midnight blue) is the best choice.

In the countryside

If the wedding takes place outdoors and in the evening, you’ll have to be prepared for chilly weather. Prefer wool and silk in a dark color, such as brown. However, if the wedding takes place in the morning or in the afternoon, you’ll have to stand in the sun, therefore a linen suit, or a blend of cool wool and cotton will be the perfect choice.

According to the type of wedding

Religious wedding

What’s the best suit for a religious wedding? You’ll have to choose formal, traditional, and polished. There’s no room for creativity here. We suggest you get as much information as possible on the general style of the wedding and of the party, in order to be able to pick the more appropriate outfit.

Civil wedding

And what’s the best option for a civil wedding? This mostly depends on the ceremony and on what happens next. For some, a civil wedding is worth exactly as much as a religious one: after the marriage certificate has been signed there might be a fancy and classy reception. Others prefer a quick and informal ceremony. We suggest you catch the general mood and make your choice accordingly.

Which color for the best man’s suit?

Blue

Blue suit for the best man

Blue – especially dark blue – is the most preferred choice for the best man’s suit. It flatters any complexion and body-type. Blue is a traditional color and grants both formality and elegance to the best man and the groomsmen.

Grey

Grey suit for the best man

A classical, grey suit is a good option inspired by the most rigorous tuxedos and morning dresses. A grey suit – particularly a charcoal grey suit – is the second best choice for a formal wedding.

Black

Black tuxedo for the best man

Black is both exclusive and formal. However, due to the fact that it’s the traditional color for tailcoats, it might be not entirely appropriate for a traditional wedding. In many countries (such as Italy), etiquette and tradition do not allow for a black-tie dress-code.

Mismatched

Red alert! No matter where the wedding is taking place, on a beach or in a tiny city church: mismatched is still too casual a look for a ceremony.

Other options

The only other option we feel comfortable mentioning, is a tuxedo or morning dress. What’s the difference? Well, a tuxedo is composed of a woolen, black or charcoal grey tailcoat jacket; dark grey, striped trousers; single-breasted vest with five buttons or a double-breasted shawl collar. A morning dress is like a classical tux as far as the fabric and the combinations are concerned. However, the jacket has no tail: it’s short and round-shaped on the front whereas the back is cut straight.

Accessories

Shirt and tie (or bow tie)

Anche per il testimone è d’obbligo la camicia bianca, magari in piquet, con collo alla francese e polsini singoli o doppi per i gemelli. Per quanto riguarda la cravatta o papillon, ti consigliamo delle tinte unite sobrie in seta. Cravatta e pochette possibilmente non dovranno essere della stessa nuance scelta dallo sposo. Se lo sposo porterà il fiore all’occhiello, anche detto boutonniere, dovrai fare lo stesso.

Accessories for the best man’s suit

Remember: you’ll have to follow the groom around for a whole day. Your shoes need to be comfortable. Of course they’ll be matt black, calfskin laced shoes: if you feel your look is too formal, allow for an original detail – but don’t overdo! Instead of black or midnight blue lisle socks, indulge in different shades and patterns: stripes, diamonds, squares – even pompous burgundy or fire red are allowed.

If you’re looking for a best man’s suit, on Lanieri.it you’ll find the best offer of tailored shirts and suits, completely tailored in Italy. Either a tailcoat or a three-piece-suit, your order will be delivered at your preferred address in 4 weeks.

Check our collection of best men’s suits.

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