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It's 2021 and Suits Are Boring—Here's What to Wear to a Wedding Instead

Think bolo ties, Carhartt-after-dark, crazy-cool button-ups, and Tony Soprano vibes for weddings that says, "Giddy up, I'm single."
New York, US
August 4, 2021, 2:03pm

Call it Lead Character Syndrome, but we’d rather pull up to a wedding looking like Dirty Harry than Ask Jeeves (no shade; nothing but love for our favorite retired e-butler). Luckily, this is entirely possible if you plan ahead with a few key frills, and the dress code is “IDK just vibe.” 

Usually, weddings send dudes scrambling for a suit, or else settling for an ensemble that feels like Finance Bro Cosplay-wear. Which is fair. Sometimes you have to groom and bear it (I’m so sorry) with a formal tux, but if the rules are a little looser, there’s space to play with bolo ties, hankies, and patterned button-ups—there’s personality in the details of a uniquely collared shirt, or a pair of dress slides that say both, “Congratulations, Kim and Walter” and “Join my cult?”  

You’re probably planning on renting a tux, or pulling out the linen suit (bravo, that’ll keep you cool). That’s great. But we like to think these [dumps out velvet pants] are pieces you’ll be able to wear beyond the happy couple’s big day. All we ask is: No fedoras, unless the wedding is taking place at a Baja Sharkeez (RAD). 

Start with a funky button-up 

Only just venturing away from the traditional suit? Don’t stress. Sometimes, stealing the spotlight away from the bride is as easy as wearing a delightful button-up underneath your blazer. 


Beige & Brown Venci Short Sleeve Shirt


Mardi Gras Button-Up


iceberg print short sleeve shirt with revere collar


Gigi Print Short Sleeve Button-Up Shirt

Go for a wide-leg pant

If you don’t yet have a suit situation, wide-leg trousers are not only flattering and roomy, but remind us of the badass Zoot Suit heyday. 

Paul Smith

Wide-Leg Pleated Linen Trousers


wide leg smart pant in check with turn up


wide leg drape suit pants in white

Go collarless

C’est chic. Your key search words here are “Mandarin-style collar”—perfect for pairing underneath your blazer, or wearing as-is to a less formal ceremony.   


regular fit velvet shirt with Mandarin collar


mandarin-collar linen shirt


ASOS DESIGN regular shirt with notch neck detail in satin


Justin Grandad-Collar Linen Shirt

Get untied

Ties are cool. You own ties. [Yawn] But you know what you don’t own? A bolo tie with a wolf on it, or a blouse with a built-in dandy bow that looks like it was pulled from Oscar Wilde’s grave. Switching up your neck adornments is one of the easiest, low-cost ways to bring a new personality to the wedding.  


Men's Ascot

Treadle Treasures

Western Bow Tie

Add texture

Douchey-cozy is a primo way to go when you’re prepping for an evening of cake-munching and making out with randos, which makes velvet an optimum material choice—but satin and embroidery go a long way too.


Disco Cowboy Western Shirt with Embroidery

Twisted Tailor

long sleeve shirt with distressed snake print in gold


Wide Crushed Velvet Pants


ASOS DESIGN shirt with 70s western styling in satin

Integrate workwear

Depending on how casual the wedding is, you might be able to pull off some crisp workwear (or workwear-inspired) pieces from brands like Carhartt and Opening Ceremony. This is a clutch move for many SoCal dads, who will reserve an otherwise untouched button-up, twill jacket just for the occasion.  

Banana Republic

Linen-Cotton Chore Coat


Men's Big & Tall Flame Resistant Classic Twill Shirt

Taylor Stitch

The Western Shirt in Nihon Menpu Reserve Selvage

Bring the gabagool 

Basically, your job is to dress the part of a meat-loving Italian dad—the anatomy of which is broken down in this gift guide for salami-loving, Sopranos-binging fathers. You’re Daddy now, and you have the chain to prove it, should anyone doubt you.  


Bilboa Colorblock Short Sleeve Button-Up Shirt

Lifetime Jewelry

Figaro Chain Necklace 24k Real Gold Plated

Anchor MSJ

Bowling Shirt


90s Burberry Boxy Blazer

Urban Outfitters

Standard Cloth Waffle Stitch Polo Shirt

The charming con-man combo

Want to be the funnest, slightly terrifying guest at the wedding? Then pull up in a 1970s-style suit, paired with an absolutely fried vintage-style T-shirt, a pair of sandals, and a fresh pitch for the guests on your latest pyramid scheme. We’re obsessed with you.  


wide leg drape suit pants in white

Online Ceramics

Blue Tie-Dye 'Dreams Now Loading' T-Shirt


Unisex Arizona-Birko-Flor Sandals

Fancy footwork 

Nothing says, “I definitely remembered that this was today” like a pair of Gucci slides (ideally, paired with fancy socks). The fancy dress shoe is chill, but it’s so much radder to shell out for cowboy boots and insane sneakers for when you hit the dance floor.  


Quickdraw Western Boot


black Pursuit web slides

Have fun, and don’t forget to pocket some of those dinner rolls. 

The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story.