Suppose you're new to the world of suits, or only have some vague memory of wearing something uncomfortable and constricting to a distant relative's funeral. In that case, you probably aren't all that familiar with the different fabrics used in a tailored suit. Classic suits are made in a variety of fabrics, with wool dominating. While a well-fitted suit enhances every man's wardrobe, wool can be a heavy and daunting fabric to pull off, especially in a hot summer and especially if you’re planning a beach wedding.
Weddings are not just about the bride anymore. The groom is every bit as important, and he’s looking to make his wedding day stylish, comfortable, and memorable for all the right reasons too. Whether you're a dapper gent looking to take his style game even higher with the perfect lines and cut, or a novice to suits, just hoping to get through the day without overheating, don't worry! We've rounded up the very best wedding experts from the Oliver Wicks team to help you find the perfect linen match for your wedding day.
Linen is, alongside cotton, one of the most ancient fabric types around. It's been woven for literal millennia from the flax plant. This means it's natural, biodegradable, and breathable. It's also incredibly robust and hard-to-damage. Repeated washes make it softer, and friction and washing don't ruin the look. That's why you may recognize the word 'linen' from tablecloths, napkins, or even bedding.
Suit linen is made in a similar way. That said, it uses ultra-fine threads spun into soft yarn, so don't imagine you're wearing your Grandmother's table cloth to the altar! Its properties make it a unique suit fabric with its own sheen and luster - and unmistakable elegance.
A stylish man knows he can wear what he wants when he wants and make it look good too. That said, men's clothing is every bit as seasonal as women's. If your suit game is lacking, and you've only squeezed into one for an interview or special event here and there, then you'll probably be familiar with how hot a classic wool suit can get in the warm months. For men who aren't accustomed to suits as part of their daily wardrobe, the prim cut and fitted lines can already feel a little stifling, and the last thing you want is to spend your special day red in the face and dripping with sweat.
Remember when we mentioned 'breathable' and 'natural' up there? Linen suits for men are the perfect choice for spring and summer weddings. It has a blend of natural moisture-wicking and insulative properties that help to keep you cool and in control, not melting into your suit. No sweat stains, no red faces, no fuss. Just you, looking dapper and cool and ready to handle the world.
While men's wedding linen suits are seeing a style renaissance at the moment, you may also be familiar with them from somewhere else, especially if you have an eye for men's fashion and like to keep yourself stylish. That's the deck of just about every Meditterenean yacht owner's luxury powerboat! The linen suit is, as we've seen, the perfect antidote to wanting to capture the elegance of a well-tailored suit in a hot climate. But a lot of that elegance and style comes from you, too. Feeling comfortable in your clothing is a great way to keep a suave and sophisticated air. For men who already enjoy a great suit, that won't be a problem. If you're more of a 'jeans and a t-shirt' bloke, however, what does wearing a linen suit to your wedding hold for you?
Color plays a massive part in style. Wearing the wrong color for your complexion can wash you out or highlight issues like rosacea, even if it would look fantastic on someone with different coloration. Color is also an important focal point in wedding planning, and many grooms choose to attire themselves and their groomsmen in some variation of the wedding colors. Not only does this help pull everything together and focus attention on you, but it's also a fun way to celebrate a special day.
Linen is a versatile and consistent fabric, and it holds dye well. It also has comparatively little color variation, which is an inevitable part of dying natural fabrics. So if you want a white linen suit for a beach wedding or a sky blue to match your spouse's eyes, you've found your material! Paired with its outstanding comfort properties in hot weather, this means you'll often find it in an exciting range of pastels, pale neutrals, and other shades men usually don't get to wear.
Your linen suit can be made in almost every color you can imagine. Pastels and clear neutrals are where linen excels, making a choice that's both eye-catchingly different and stylish. Yet if you need your suit to have versatility and re-wear value, linen can hold classic colors like black and (especially) navy beautifully too, and with a subtle difference to 'normal' suits, you're sure to love.
Color is important, but nothing is more so than the fit of the suit. Our experienced readers already know this. A suit is never just a suit. From an eloquent tuxedo, through semi-formal boardroom-to-bar styles, right down to sporting casual, there's a wide world of suits waiting for you to explore them. A style mismatch- like wearing a very conventional tux to a beach wedding- can be an eyesore.
But even the best-styled suit in the world won't make you look suave if it fits poorly. Every suit needs to fit well to look good, but it goes double for linen. The one thing linen is notorious for is its wrinkles, and while that relaxed aspect is part of its charm, that doesn't mean you want a bunch of creases that show the whole world where your baby beer belly is straining the buttons or that your gym-built guns don't quite fit in the sleeves you bought.
A suit that's tailored to your body looks fantastic, no matter the fabric. In turn, you look fantastic, and you can wear it comfortably knowing you have freedom of movement and can do anything you need without straining seams, chafing, or pinching the skin. Like those we make at Oliver Wicks, made-to-measure suits are tailored to you from pattern through cut and assembly. This means you never have to worry about anything except looking and feeling your best.
If a tailored suit isn't on the cards, then size your shop-bought suit carefully (and honestly). Then take this well-fitting basic to a tailor for the tweaks and adjustments that will take it from good to extraordinary. It will be worth every cent.
Now you know a little bit more about the linen suit, what makes a linen suit such an excellent idea for your wedding? Besides the inherent comfort of linen, neatly matched with its practicality, it also has a ton of other things going for it. Before we look at where to find a linen suit for a wedding, let's take a good look at why you would want to.
Let's be honest. Once you take a wedding out of the strict confines of an old-fashioned church setting, a distinguished tuxedo starts looking very out of place. You don't want to look like a cake topper! Especially if your spouse-to-be is adjusting her gown to better fit into the lighthearted vibe of an outdoor or beach wedding.
Men don't always have the immense variety in their formal attire that women do. You can hardly pitch up to the most important day of your life in boardshorts! Yet can you picture yourself on the beach in an old-fashioned 'penguin suit'? A men's linen suit for a wedding, on the other hand, can fit right in. It still has that elegance and confidence a great fitting, well-tailored men's suit brings to the table. Yet you've added fun color to showcase your personality and better fit the environment and season. Despite the more casual look, linen very much brings that rumpled, "I just rolled out of bed in my private villa, but I still know how to dress well'' vibe that's perfect for a wedding under the sun or stars.
And even better? Linen's robust nature, disinclination to pick up sweat stains, and generally clean and soft feel means you won't be taking home half the beach or finding yourself desperate to shed three layers before the cake is even cut.
We've already looked at one of the most important aspects of choosing a groom's linen suit- fit. As the groom, you're one of two people all eyes will be on all night. Starting the day looking ok, but ending it uncomfortable and out-of-sorts is not an option. While an off-the-shelf suit may look and feel ok worn for a few minutes in the shop, one that's tailored to your unique body will feel great all day long.
Looking the part is equally crucial for groomsmen and other key anchor roles, be it Best Man or Father of the bride and groom. You will spend much of the day running up and down, handling last-minute tasks and crises. The last thing you need is a pinching suit too!
So, if you opt not to go full-bespoke, then at least have a tailor shape your choice to your unique body. What else do you need to consider for the special day, however?
We looked at this a little above, so we won't repeat ourselves too much. However, the color of your suit should consider a few key aspects:
- The wedding colors themselves: If you don't want to fully embrace these, or want your suit to be more versatile for the future, then you can consider adding touches of the wedding colors through cool accessories and other items, like your shirt.
- The wedding venue and time: What will look sparkling for a cocktail evening celebration will look ridiculously out-of-place under a flower arch at an outdoor wedding. The casual-cool look that would make fantastic beach wedding photos would appear as if you didn't take care if you were in a traditional church setting. And so on. While this is somewhat personal to your culture, expectations, and personal taste, a general rule of thumb is that brighter colors and looser fits are more appropriate for outdoor settings and more casual celebrations. In contrast, darker colors and formal cuts are better for evening and traditional settings.
- You: Yes, you style icon, you! Hopefully, by the point you're tying the knot, you know a little bit about what looks good on you. Things can look great on some skins and colorations but wash out others. However, if you don't know what works for you, don't be scared to reach out to someone with fashion experience for some tips. The confidence boost will help you feel exactly how you should at your wedding- hopeful, in control, elegant, and ready for this exciting new time in your life.
Your style can be as simple or as unique as you choose. At its most basic, men's suits come in 2 types:
- Two-piece: Two-piece suits are the sort you've seen in every boardroom. They consist of a jacket and pants, with a shirt underneath. You could spice them up with some accessories, like a pocket square (more on this later), but you'll generally keep this ensemble to shoes, socks, belt, suit, shirt, and maybe a tie. It can be pretty serious, hence its use in business, but can easily be lifted to casual. It will look too casual for a very official setting, however.
- Three-piece: Not every three-piece is a tuxedo, but a tux is a great example. You've added a waistcoat (or a cumberbund in some atypical situations) to the suit to make it a three-piece. These are typically an ultra-formal choice, although you will be able to adapt it, especially with a men's linen suit, for a beach wedding or more casual setting by playing with cut, color, and whimsy through accessories.
Finding the right piece combo and some fantastic accessories should be enough if you're not a daily suit wearer. Remember, if you're feeling really out of your depth, the team making your suit will always be happy to put their expertise to work and help you out.
If, however, you're one of our many customers who enjoy the art of snappy dressing, then you can start getting very playful here. As you doubtless already know, there are specific style choices and cuts you can use that will affect your suit's drape and overall look. Continental suit design, half- or full-canvas construction, and even the choice of lapels can make for a very personalized suit experience. It's your wedding day. Enjoy it!
Wearing a linen suit well isn't just about the suit itself! What you pair it with will have a considerable impact on the overall statement you make. Men's fashion has moved on a lot over the last few years, and there are now some fantastic choices to help you look your best.
For example, if grey is the look for you, but you're using bright colors in your beach wedding theme, you can use accessories to lift it and add some fun. On the flip side, if you want a blue linen suit, but you're heading to a traditional chapel setting, you can use understated yet timeless accessories to help formalize the overall look.
Your essential accessories are:
- Shoes: Your shoe choice matters. A lot. Using a lousy color match or an inappropriate finish can take your suave look and make you look unsophisticated. Typically you would always want your shoes to be the same overall color as your suit, not your shirt or anything else. Err for a darker shade. The one exception to this would be a white suit. You can't go wrong with dress shoes. Comfy shoes, like sneakers, have become a wedding trend in the last few years. Whether this appeals to you is between you and your partner. Whatever you opt for, however, make sure they are well broken in for comfort, but are clean and do not look worn.
- Ties: A tie or a bowtie is a fun personal touch. Bowties can make a look ultra-classy, as with a tux, or bring some fun with a novelty bow tie. For outdoor or beach weddings, a well-set open collar can be perfectly acceptable too, but make sure it works with your suit style, shirt fabric, and wedding vibe.
- Belt: Match your belt to your shoes if you're in doubt, both in finish (matt/shiny) and color.
Beyond that, there's plenty of room to have fun. Pocket squares, suspenders, and scarves are all viable pieces of a stylish man's wardrobe and can be fun or formal, depending on your mood. For weddings specifically, using the waistcoat or a cumberbund to add color to a darker suit tone is very common and a fun way to experiment with color even if you want a practical suit with re-wear value.
The last anchor consideration for your linen suit is what shirt you're putting with it. While classic white can't go wrong, it can also be boring- and it's very characterless if you're opting for a pastel or white suit. Use a white suit as an excellent opportunity to introduce a pop of color. You've put so much effort into finding the perfect blend of cool, comfortable, and sophisticated for your suit, don't cheap out on the shirt. Cotton is a classic choice, especially for colors, while a soft silk shirt can be fantastic for keeping cool and will look good if you're opting to go without a tie or want a beach vibe while still honoring the formality of the event. Avoid linen- again, it's too matchy-matchy and will make you look more like the ring bearer than the groom. Opt for a high-quality shirt that fits well to seal the look.
We should also mention here that you will need to press a linen suit. The slightly-creased effect linen is great to lend a sophisticated-yet-casual vibe, but within limits. You especially don't want 'use creases' at the crotch, armpits, seat, or sleeves that will make you look gauche. You may want to have a fabric steamer on-hand on the day for a quick touch-up if anything does look strange. Hanging the suit in a steamy shower room would do in a pinch. Be sure to hang your suit for a week or so before the big day, and if you're traveling to a destination wedding, invest in a suit bag you carry on with you rather than folding it up in your luggage. Don't wedge it in a stuffed overhead compartment, either!
A good suit starts with some research- but don't worry, this bit is fun. You're every bit as entitled to look through online sites for inspiration as your partner. Pinterest, for example, is an excellent source for men's style as well as women's, and looking through what's available to you is a great way to narrow down what you want from your suit. Assemble a 'look book' of pictures that encapsulate what you want from your suit, and know what you'll compromise on and what you won't. Not only does this help you track down the perfect suit, but it also helps others understand what you want and avoids miscommunication.
If you're not looking for a custom-made suit, it's time to hit the shops. Finding good menswear in your physical location can be tricky, so don't worry about looking to online retailers. Of course, making sure that you buy the right size, if you're not having it made bespoke, is key to a fulfilling online shopping experience. Use their size guides, and don't be afraid to communicate with them.
If you're opting for a bespoke suit, online retailers like Oliver Wicks can, in many ways, offer a better experience than in-person, so don't hold back. The measurements will be the core of your experience, so double-check everything and make sure you comply precisely with their guidelines. Again, feel free to ask as many questions as you like. A company that creates suits has the experience you don't have in fitting beautifully created pieces to all sorts of body types, so they can be a great source of advice along the way.
If you're ordering bespoke or doing a bulk order for groomsmen, understand that the shop will need time to create the order. Ask about their lead time, and order with plenty of time to spare.
Of course there is! Here's your best way to think of this divide:
- Groom: You will be a focal point of the day, so you may as well dress for it. You need a practical suit that looks appropriate for your special day but is comfortable enough to wear all day long.
- Groomsmen, Best Man, Fathers of the bride and groom, and other vital helpers: You will be on show, although not to the extent of the groom. However, you're even more likely to have duties throughout the day and need to balance practicality, comfort, and looks.
- Guests: It's on you to be well attired to respect the happy couple. You want to look your best, but you're not there to upstage anyone. You're not the center of attention on this day, however, so don't let your love of style turn you into a rude peacock. Try to keep it a little mainstream and let the groom have his moment in the spotlight.
- Children: A boy's linen suit for wedding comfort can be a bright idea, so they don't get uncomfortable. Kids who are part of the wedding party may have to do a few things and coordinate with adults. Kids who are guests need to look appropriate to the specialness.
It is the standard operating procedure for the wedding party to have the groom in a special outfit of his own. The groomsmen and possibly the Best Man will be in matched outfits. And perhaps something special for the fathers and other important, but not role-carrying, men. Modern weddings, however, are supposed to be more of a reflection of the couple and their friends than adhering to strict formalities, so don't be afraid to do what feels right for you. You can use color, type, accessories-anything really- to create the effect you want. A shy groom may want to look a little more like his supporting men, where a bold groom may wish to stand out. Don't feel confined to simply choosing a different color for the groom- you can be as creative or streamlined as feels right.
And there you have it! Wearing a linen suit to your wedding will be relaxed, comfortable, and stylish, whether you're heading to the beach or the registry office. With this elegant suit option in your wedding bag of tricks, you'll feel confident to enjoy your special day the right way. Remember, if you're wondering where to buy a linen suit for a wedding (or anything else suit-related), our helpful team is always here to help you discover the elegant man you've always wanted to be.