Style Tip for Guys: What to Wear to a Summer Wedding

Alton Lane’s Colin Hunter and Hugh & Crye’s Pranav Vora talk fabrics, fits, and colors to beat the heat. Bonus: We show you ten suitable suits for under $500.

By: Douglas Bair

If the layers of Save the Date postcards decorating the fridge have you sweating bullets, you’re not alone. As plane tickets and gift registry requests pile up, there’s barely room in our shopping budget to get a new outfit, too. But repurpose an old standby in the wrong fabric, and that celebratory afternoon on the lawn will feel like an eternity in the sauna.

For the official word on how to reach the reception with minimal sweat stains, we called up the CEOs of two brands well versed in the suit game—Alton Lane’s Colin Hunter and Hugh & Crye’s Pranav Vora. Here’s their advice on how to make it through the summer wedding season in style.

Fabric: “Lighter, breathable fabrics always perform best in the summer heat. Linen and cotton are great, but you can also get away with tropical-weight wool,” says Hunter. 

Construction: “Go with a lighter construction if you can find a suit half-lined or unlined, because it will keep you cooler in the humid months,” says Vora.

Fit: All right, the linen and cotton fabric family it is, but an ill-fitting suit looks as bad as sweat stains. What fit works best? 

Naturally, Hunter champions custom tailoring to get a great fit no matter the fabric. But for those of us who don’t have time to book a fitting before this weekend’s nuptials? “The more structure a fabric has, the more easily you can achieve that crisp, tailored look. Linen is, by nature, more of a casual fabric, so cotton or wool would be the fabric to consider.”

But there is one perfect place for the laid-back, breezy look: “Linen is fantastic for a beach wedding,” says Vora.

Color: “Lighter colors are better to reflect sunlight,” Vora says. “Texture and patterns, like checks and stripes, will help disguise [sweat].” 

And what colors have been trending in the fitting rooms of Alton Lane?

“Easily half the of the weddings we have done this season have opted for light gray suiting over the traditional tuxedo. It is versatile, appropriately casual for summer weddings, and very easy to coordinate with,” Hunter says. But there’s one caveat: “I would suggest basing the color of the fabric more on the theme of the wedding and the preference of the bride and groom than on the sun.” 

So now you know how to pick a solid suit for the weekend after weekend of weddings. Click through the gallery to find a few favorite options that fit the bill—and the budget. At under $500 a pop, you might even be able to snag a few.