Groom's Guide: What to Wear (and What Not to Wear) When the Heat Is On, part I

By Tessa Woolf July 21, 2011

One thing we're big on here at Salt Lake/Park City Bride & Groom magazine, is speaking to the bride AND the groom. (If you haven't checked out the Groom's Guide section in our premier issue, flip open your mag and head to page 94.) We spend a lot of time talking, writing, researching, blogging, and tweeting about bridal fashion (there are just too many frocks to love!)--not so much when it comes to fashion for the groom and groomsmen. (Though we recently profiled local bespoke suit company Beckett & Robb.) Our sincere apology for the lack of fashion coverage, guys. Today that all changes...

We sat down with Matt Serrao, one-third of the team behind Mood Events & Production (and one very stylish dude), and asked him some tough male style questions--To wear a tie or not to wear a tie? Are flip-flops ever a "do?" Are white suits suitable?--to which he supplied some style-savvy answers. Read on for part one of Serrao's summer wedding wardrobe do's and dont's for grooms and groomsmen, then check back later this afternoon for part two!

[Before we get started, a note from Serrao: There are many possibilities when planning the attire of your wedding party.  A lot of it will depend on where your wedding is located–and probably how much your bride is willing to tolerate! If your wedding is on a beach, flip-flops may work. (I said, “may work,” not that it will work) Or, if you are getting married in Florida in 1990, and your name is Detective Sonny Crockett (confused? see response to the second question ), a white suit (again) may work. That being said, my responses are on the assumption that you are getting married in Utah, NOT in some tropical location on the beach, and you do not have a time machine set for the early '90s.]

SLPC B&G: It's summer and it's hot. What are some stylish--yet comfortable--warm-weather wardrobe ideas for grooms and groomsmen?

MS:  If you think you’re being original by wearing shorts, or having your wedding party wear shorts, you’re wrong. It’s been done. And it’s tacky! Case in point:

Your bride will be wearing a wedding dress, which means you need to fit the part! This is your wedding day, after all, not a day at the beach or at a Hawaiian Lu`au (yes, that is the correct spelling--trust me, I know). If you want to be stylish yet comfortable in the warm weather, wear a suit instead of a tux and make it a two-piece suit instead of a three-piece suit.

No matter how warm it is, wear a long sleeve shirt. If it’s too hot to wear a coat through your reception, then at least endure the heat through your ceremony. Your ceremony will probably only last 25 minutes to an hour at the most--c’mon, you can handle that!

Once the reception starts, feel free to remove the coat and roll up your sleeves, but remember to keep your shirttail tucked in--we’re going for "comfortable," not "sloppy." If needed, stick an extra handkerchief in your pocket to get you through the sweaty times, and you’re  set.

SLPC B&G: Are white suits suitable for grooms? Or are shades of tan, khaki, taupe, and cream safer bets?

MS: What do you think this is? Miami Vice? Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Miami Vice. As a kid, I always wanted to be as cool as Detectives Sonny and Rico, almost as much as I wanted to be Luke and Bo from The Dukes of Hazzard (they always got the girls, but that’s a different blog post entirely).

Now, as stylish as Sonny and Rico dressed, keep in mind that was in the late '80s and early '90s. We are in 2011, guys! Go with a suit in shades of tan, khaki, or cream. If those colors don’t match the rest of your wedding, try shades of gray, but nothing too dark--this is summer, after all. And if you really want to stand out, you can always try something like this:

[Editor's note: We fully support this look for grooms!]

SLPC B&G: Speaking of suits, what types of fabrics are best for summer weddings: cotton, linen, seersucker?

MSGuys, you’re probably wondering, 'Um, what’s the difference?' Right? I don’t blame you; it’s not something guys usually think about. But trust me, you’ll want to think about your suit fabric for your wedding day.

(Grooms, I personally think a suit made of jersey would be awesome--imagine being able to play basketball in your suit! Before I get some of your hopes up, I have yet to find a company that makes a suit out of jersey material. And honestly I’m not quite sure what that would look like--however, I imagine it would feel awesome!)

Most suit coats will come with silk or rayon lining. The lining keeps the suit material off your skin and keeps you cool, so your choice of suit material shouldn’t matter too much. But, if you’re picky like me, I hate rough textures rubbing against my legs, so you’ll want to make sure whatever material you pick is comfortable to wear as pants (remember, no shorts!).

I personally prefer cotton--it’s soft and comfortable. I think linen is a bit heavy and rough. As far as seersucker, the look is very distinct and doesn’t press well. [Editor's note: But, man oh man, does seersucker look classy for a summer wedding!]

You're best bet: Try on a bunch of different suits and take note of not only what looks good, but also what feels good. You’ll be wearing this suit for at least four hours, so choose wisely.

SLPC B&G: What shoe styles look best with these types of suits?

MS: Several years ago I bought a pair of Johnston & Murphy’s. They cost me a pretty penny, and were the most expensive pair of shoes I owned. The shoes had a square toe and I loved them, but wearing a size 10 made it look like I was wearing Ronald McDonald’s shoes!

So, what did I do? I followed the lead of some girlfriends, and bought the shoes a size smaller than my actual size (girls, why do you do this?). They looked amazing, and I received compliments galore (girls, is that why you do it?)--little did people know my feet were cramped like sardines! The moral of the story is to choose a shoe that is comfortable. I’m not talking about street shoes, like the trend we saw last year. I’ll admit, even I thought street shoes at weddings were cool at first, but let me tell you, Vans do not match your suit.

If you want to go for a casual shoe look, choose a slip-on shoe instead of an oxford. I personally love a plain toe. Make sure the shoe is leather and not canvas, and definitely do not choose a shoe with Velcro straps!

Savvy sartorial advice, huh? Check back this afternoon for part two of Matt Serrao's summer fashion tips for grooms and groomsmen!