Not every bride and groom have their sights on a formal affair when it comes to tying the knot, with many couples eschewing the traditional setup in favour of a more relaxed feel. However, this lack of formality can throw up some challenges for both genders when it comes to deciding on the perfect wedding outfit.
If you’re facing this tricky wardrobe dilemma either as a bride and groom or a guest, we’re here to help. In this post, we’ll be sharing some helpful hints on how to nail smart-casual attire – finding the perfect balance between casual comfort and sizzling style.
Define some rules
One of the biggest problems with a smart-casual dress code is how broad the term can be, so determining how casual is too casual and vice-versa can be tricky. Certainly, a night out with friends to a swanky bar could warrant a ‘smart-casual’ ensemble, but it’s unlikely you’d wear the same thing to a wedding, so how do you strike the right balance?
Well, when it comes to wedding outfits, always consider that there is still going to be a certain level of formality involved, so it goes without saying that your comfy ripped jeans and trainers are going to be off the mark. One way to clear up any confusion is to ask your hosts to clarify what is and isn’t acceptable or as the soon-to-be-wed couple, be as specific as you can in your invitations on what you would expect guests to wear – without being dictatorial of course!
The suit alternative for guys
For traditional weddings, the go-to choice for guys is a smart suit, but even ditching the jacket is likely to leave you feeling a touch overdressed. However, an easy solution to this can be found by finding a good balance between smart and casual wear with a classic trousers, shirt and smart shoe combination. The key here is to make sure you put the right items together for a well-polished look that isn’t too formal.
For trousers, try to stick to darker tones – whether that’s charcoal chinos or a pair of navy blue men’s jeans that emulate a smarter finish. Shirts need to fit well, be ironed, tucked in and buttoned up leaving just the top one undone. To finish the outfit slip on some smart shoes and a blazer or jacket and you’ll have a wedding-worthy outfit in no time. You can even jazz up your outfit further by accessorising with a stylish belt or watch.
Dress and impress
For ladies, there’s always a worry of feeling over or under-dressed at a wedding, but a safe option is a chic frock that can be dressed up (or down) in other ways to strike the right blend of smart and casual. From classic cuts in block colours to floaty, floral maxi-dresses the good news for women is that there are endless ways to ensure your wedding look fits the bill.
If you’ve gone for a frock that’s slightly on the dressy side, team it with some casual accessories and low heels to soften the overall style – this could be some boho earrings, a tan leather bag or chunky wedges. The same principles can be applied the other way around for dresses that have a more relaxed look – use glitzy accessories and showy footwear to give the dress some wow factor without it being too over-the-top.
Keep it playful
One of the advantages of a more relaxed wedding dress code is that it allows guests and hosts the chance to be a little more playful with their outfits – bringing their personal style and character to the fore.
From funky jewellery to quirky bow ties and headwear, without the typical constraints of traditional wedding outfits there is plenty of opportunities to add your own unique twist to your ensemble – just be sure it’s still in keeping with the smart-casual vibe.
While the term smart-casual is a little ambiguous when it comes to wedding attire, we hope these tips will see you well on your way to nailing this tricky wardrobe style once and for all. Just remember to always keep comfort and style in mind, as this will allow you to achieve a polished finish that looks effortlessly cool.
Luke Conod is Managing Director of Buy Jeans and its parent company Denim Nation, providing competitively priced men’s jeans and other high-quality clothing from leading international labels.