Terrible Men’s Wedding Style Mistakes

By now, you’ve glanced through or at least bookmarked our guides to dressing for a wedding. Because – seriously – it is about to be wedding season once more, and every year we see the same mistakes. Mistakes that are not just ‘mistakes’ in a pedantic sense, but mistakes that are to be avoided no matter the nature of the wedding or the occasion. Mistakes that you, whether bride or groom or guest, will probably look back on in horror. Life goes on, of course, but these are wedding style mistakes you really should avoid if you’re over the age of 13.


1. Wearing a vest with no jacket

I have never understood why men insist on doing this. It is, in my mind, the most egregious of all the mistakes on this list, and it accomplishes exactly nothing outside of making the wearer look like a buffoon. Even seeing pictures of this disaster fills me with visceral revulsion. What’s worse is that I read constant affirmations on the internet – “Embrace personal style!”, or “I do this all the time and it looks great!” – and it is absolutely mind-boggling. Just this morning, I read a recommendation that a wedding guest wear a vest, no jacket, a tie with the shirt un-tucked and the top button un-buttoned, and a fedora. I felt like I was dying.

Please, please don’t do this. It won’t make you look “sharp but casual.” It won’t channel “relaxed elegance.” It is not “casual formalwear.” It will look as though you forgot to put on the rest of your clothing, or like you’re a creepy misogynistic pick up artist. There are other, historical reasons for the rise of the waistcoat – a King’s whimsy, the ability to flatter a larger physique, even the existence of pocket watches – but those are stories for another time. If you are wearing a vest, you are wearing a jacket. Period.

2. Wearing a tie with no jacket

In the same vein, there’s no reason to wear a tie if you’re not wearing a jacket. Worse still is wearing a tie with no jacket and leaving your shirt untucked. This is an excellent way to look as though you’re off to high school prom, with no clue how to dress yourself. You’ll appear slovenly and juvenile, neither of which is a good thing to be at a wedding.

Of course, depending on the type of wedding, you may find yourself removing your jacket once the hands of the clock pass a certain hour and the music has gotten louder. While you’ll certainly look better with a jacket on, we understand the impetus. As you will (unless it’s black tie).

3. Wearing a visible crewneck underneath your unbuttoned shirt

Are you noticing a theme here? These are the kind of ‘touches’ you’d expect from an adolescent, not a grown man. It’s fine to wear an undershirt, but keep it hidden. If you don’t, you risk looking like you just came from the gym and didn’t change, and guests will be wondering if you’re also sporting some hidden Cheeto stains.

4. Never buttoning the top button of your shirt when wearing a tie

Again, this will only serve to make you look juvenile. Buy a shirt that fits you properly, and keep it buttoned. You’re not a teenager rebelling against a school dress code, and you’re probably not the lead singer of a punk band (if you are, you should still keep your shirt buttoned at a wedding). As @Butler once told me (while he was wearing a 3-piece bespoke suit and a cape inside an Irish Pub in Florence), “What’s the point of wearing a shirt and tie otherwise?”

5. Wearing a matching tie and pocket square

We understand that many men don’t have much call to wear tie or pocket square these days, and that the temptation to buy an all-in-one kit can be attractive both for its convenience and because you actually get the opportunity to dress up. However, wearing a matching tie-and-square set looks tacky, and should be avoided. Instead, learn how to choose a pocket square on your own, and if the wedding dress code is anything other than “casual,” just wear a white linen square and enjoy the occasion.

6. Renting an ill-fitting suit or tuxedo 

Look, we get it. Why should you have to buy a suit just because someone wants you to come to their wedding? Not everyone has the money, or wants to spend it. You can just rent one, and it’s basically the same thing. Right?


First of all, the chances that your rented suit will actually fit you are miniscule. The places that offer these rentals don’t have a clue what they’re doing, and they don’t care to learn. You are going to look terrible – I guarantee it. Besides, most suit rental packages start around a hundred bucks. If you know what you’re doing, that’s anywhere from half to a quarter of what you’d spend to get a thrifty but well-fitting suit that you can keep, thereby avoiding paying for a crappy rental the next six times you go to a wedding. Besides, a staple suit in charcoal or navy has plenty of utility outside the one wedding you’ve been invited to this year – it will be appropriate for just about any event and any occasion, so once again, you’re getting your money’s worth. You’ll look better, and you’ll be happier in the long run.

7. Bathing in cologne

I’m all for fragrances, but there’s almost no easier way to be “That Guy” than to show up for an event smelling as though you just smashed several bottles of “Man Scent” on the floor and then rolled around in the destruction. Consider your fellow guests: the people sitting next to you during the ceremony (if there’s a ceremony) will be miserable, and they will also be wondering who was rude enough to inflict themselves on the entire wedding party. If it’s an outdoor wedding in the summer heat, you might find that you’ve had a few drinks “accidentally” spilled on you by the end of the day.

Instead, a delicate application is all that’s required. And please – wear something deserving of wearing. You are absolutely forbidden to wear any kind of body spray that comes in an aerosol can.

8. Dressing like blogger bait

Here’s the thing – the thing that an unfortunate number of wedding guests struggle to recognize. You are not the star of the show, even if you read Styleforum. Unless you’re one of the people getting married, your job is not to stand out as much as possible. Your job is to celebrate the love shared between the people who have invited you and the love they have for you, and to accordingly make the proceedings as smooth and elegant as possible out of respect for the event and the company present.

A wedding is not an occasion to wear the loudest colors you can find, leopard-print suits, or cover yourself in absurd accessories (unless, of course, that is the kind of wedding you’re attending). Don’t wear a hat at the dinner table. Don’t wear your favorite basketball jersey. Don’t wear pink plaid trousers and crimson shoes. Wearing extravagant pieces or colors that detract from the attention due to the couple being married is rude and boorish, and I’m certain you’re neither.

9. Constantly bothering the couple about the dress code

Did you read number 8? Did you see the part about the wedding not being about you? How many other things do you think the couple have to consider aside from your questions about whether you can wear your favorite Converse sneakers with your tuxedo, and will they really mind?

If you are genuinely confused by the dress code, it is entirely appropriate to ask for clarification.  It is not appropriate to badger the couple about what you want to wear.  I don’t care if you’re a man or a woman: you may not throw a fit about wardrobe choices, and it is better still to show up to a wedding overdressed than underdressed. Respect the occasion. Respect that you’ve been invited. Don’t make the organizers regret it.

10. Acting like an ass

As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, style is about more than the clothing on your body. If you’re going to a wedding, be a gracious guest. The event is not about you. That means that you should, to the best of your ability, follow the dress code; that you should not arrive at the wedding for groomsman and refuse to wear the boutonnière because you don’t like it or think you know better; that you should be friendly and outgoing; that you should congratulate the happy couple on their marriage; that you should not throw a fit; that you should not get too drunk; and that you need to understand that, if it’s the wedding of a friend, there are some stories you don’t share in public.

To recap: a wedding is one of the few times when we really, really recommend dialing back your inner wild child out of respect for the event and the couple. If you are going to a wedding, wear a jacket, shirt, tie, trousers, and respectable shoes. It is better to arrive overdressed than underdressed. Don’t behave or smell like a pig, and you’ll make it out just fine. You might even remember to have a good time along the way.

5 Valentine’s Date Style Mistakes to Avoid

Whether or not you go all-out on Valentine’s Day or treat it much the same as any other, there’s a good chance that, even subconsciously, you’ll want to impress that special someone. It doesn’t matter if you’re headed out on a first date or celebrating a multi-year anniversary – these Valentine’s Date style mistakes should be avoided at all cost!

1. Don’t Wear Way Too Much Cologne

If you’re fancying yourself up for a special date, you might be tempted to spritz on a little bit extra in order to crank up the sex appeal. The thing is, you don’t need to be broadcasting your scent to the world at large (you probably shouldn’t be doing this anyway). Save your favorite fragrance for the person who matters, and avoid being “that guy” at the restaurant.

Your usual application can be altered or supplemented with some clever placement, though. Instead of sticking to just the wrists or behind the ears, add a dab at the hollow of your throat or base of your sternum. Your body heat will make it project just fine, while keeping the scent intimate so that your partner is the one who benefits – especially if they find the opportunity to lean in close.

If you’d like some suggestions on the perfect Valentine’s Day fragrance – either for yourself or to give as a gift – check out our Fragrance Thread.

2. Don’t Wear the Same Thing You Wear Everyday

Your date’s not going to be impressed if you show up wearing the same pair of distressed jeans you’ve worn every other time you’ve seen them. Headed out to dinner? Maybe try a new tie you haven’t worn before, or a slimming black turtleneck worn under a jacket. If you’re headed out for a fancy evening, maybe use it as an excuse to bust out the peak lapels and grenadine tie. Or, take a play from resident black-tie aficionado @Andy57 and wear a dinner jacket out to dinner. Changing things up – even if it’s just wearing black denim instead of your usual blue – will turn your date’s eye and let them know that you’ve made an effort.

Looking for outfit inspiration? Try one of our three fantastic What Are You Wearing threads:

3. Don’t Shower Ten Minutes Before Your Date

Being clean is great – really. Whatever you’re doing, no one wants their date to show up to smelling like day-old sweat, covered in filth from the road. But make sure you give yourself time to scrub and dry before you head out for the evening. Rushing at the last minute to clean yourself, pick an outfit, and get to wherever you’re going on time is a great way to show up a sweaty, sticky mess.

Give your hair time to dry so that you can style it – heck, maybe even blow dry it. Showing up with a wet mop on your head doesn’t tend to impress. If you’re shaving, give your face some time to calm down with a soothing cream or aftershave balm. And don’t forget the deodorant! Stress can be stinky, and that’s not what we’re after here.

4. Don’t Go Too Far Out of Your Comfort Zone

If you’re a Styleforum reader, chances are you’re on your way to being pretty well-versed in a number of different styles. Plenty of us are inclined to experiment with new or interesting garments, whether you’re a fan of tailored clothing or of streetwear. That said, part of feeling great on a date night – whether it’s first date or five hundredth – is feeling good in what you’re wearing.  You’ll be more comfortable, more confident, and more focused on having a good time – rather than fidgeting in something you’re not 100% certain of. So, when you’re picking out your Valentine’s Day date outfit, understand that it’s maybe not the time to experiment with something you’re not sure you’ll love.

If it makes you feel like fidgeting, if it makes you feel like you’ve got to suck in all night, if it makes you feel like someone who isn’t you – take a step back and pick a different outfit. After all, there’s nothing more unpleasant than feeling uncomfortable in your own skin – and your date will pick up on it too.

Note: that includes the wearing of brand-new shoes. If you’re focused on how much your feet hurt, and how many blisters you’ll have the next day, you’re not going be focusing on having a great time. What if you end up dancing?

5. Don’t Neglect the Details

Again, this is an opportunity to show your date that you take them and their company seriously, so here are some last-minute tips that go beyond just picking an outfit:

  • Don’t tie your tie like a slob – make a perfect dimple.
  • Don’t (EVER) match your tie and pocket square.
  • Do Brush your teeth.
  • Do trim your nose and ear hair.
  • Do take a minute to shine your shoes.
  • Don’t neglect your table manners.
  • Do give some consideration to your undergarments, if that’s the direction your day might take. Give the Bart Simpson boxer shorts a rest.

If you avoid these Valentine’s Date style mistakes – and they’re easy to avoid, so you have no excuse – you’ll be on your way to enjoying this most Hallmark of Holidays.