What should the best man wear is a question best answered by considering his role and the overall theme of a wedding. After all, the best man is a key cog in wedding proceedings.
Entrusted with holding the wedding ring, he’s also responsible for making sure the groom gets to the ceremony, keeping the groomsmen in check, and complementing the bride and bridesmaids both through his ensemble and in his reception speech.
Some couples choose to keep all their bridesmaids and groomsmen dressed identically. It is nice however to recognise the maid of honour and best man’s efforts with a subtle change to their clothing or accessories.
Best man attire should establish him as the best man in wedding photos without detracting from the groom though. The best man’s outfit should be comfortable enough that he can handle any last minute running around, dance with the maid of honour, and reflect the overall theme of the wedding.
4 Key factors to consider before choosing groomsmen attire…
Before making any decisions, take some time as a couple to consider the following influential wedding considerations and traditions.
1. Type of Wedding
- Black Tie Weddings – groomsmen traditionally wear tuxedos.
- Formal Weddings – black, navy or charcoal suits are expected.
- Semi-formal Weddings – lighter coloured suits like taupe or light grey, or those made from more casual fabrics like linen are best.
- Casual Weddings – smart pants with a button up shirt and some form of tie are still recommended, however a jacket may be optional.
- Quirky Weddings – patterned and /or textured suit fabrics with an emphasis on quirky accessories. Non-traditional colours are often favoured however restraint still needs to be shown.
2. Location & Season
- Indoors or outdoors?
- Church, beach or other public space?
- Easy access or uneven terrain?
- Summer or Winter?
It is particularly important that your groomsmen’s footwear and overall look is suitable. Consider lining and vent options on your suit jacket to suit the climate and location.
3. Time of Day
Specific suit types and suit features are expected at different times of day. Following is a list of variations you may choose from.
- Jackets: Tails, Nehru jacket, Mao jacket, morning coat, or stroller coat.
- Lapels: notched lapel, peaked lapel, or shawl lapel.
- Jacket Pockets: patch, ticket, angled, flap, or jetted pocket.
- Shirt collars: wing collar, crosswyck collar, mandarin collar, or spread collar.
- Cuffs: standard cuffs (held with cufflinks), French cuffs (folded over and held with cufflinks), button up cuffs.
- Neckties: bow tie, necktie, bolo tie, ascot tie, cravat or euro tie.
- Accessories: waistcoat, cummerbund, pocket squares, boutonniere, trouser braces, cufflinks, socks, or hat.
For a superb guide to suit details, what they mean and how to wear them, checkout 10 Suit Jacket Style Details Men Should Know.
4. Who is Paying for the Suits
Custom made suits tailored to purchase are always the best option. If this doesn’t fit your or your groomsmen’s budgets hiring is always an option. Make sure to discuss the possibilities with your groomsmen, and only use a hire company that will make minor alterations.
How to successfully make your best man stand out without overshadowing the groom
Consistency and hierarchy are important when choosing the perfect outfits for each of your groomsmen and particularly your best man. Generally the groom and groomsmen all dress the same with slight differences. If your wedding theme is a little bit quirky and your bridesmaids are going to be wearing slightly different outfits, you may choose to dress each of your groomsmen in slightly different outfits.
You can make your best man stand out without overshadowing the groom by:
♥ Subtly adjusting the jacket style
♥ Changing shade of the suits
♥ Make the grooms accessories bigger/more noticeable (like more flowers in his boutonniere, or a vest as opposed to a cummerbund)
♥ Changing the colour of accessories like neckties, boutonnieres and vests.
♥ If your best man is female, make sure to consult her with options before making any decisions.
Options include: bridesmaids dress in the shade of the groomsmen’s suits, menswear inspired tailored ensemble in the same fabric as the groomsmen, exact same suit as the groomsmen tailored to fit, or a shirt with the same accessories and different bottom/shoes in the same colours as other groomsmen.
Top tips for ensuring a stylish best man ware that complements your wedding theme
♥ Where possible, the groom and all groomsmen should go to the same tailor at the same time,
♥ Ensure jacket shoulders fit closely to your shoulders, but with enough width to allow easy movement. Remember you will be moving those arms around for photos and dancing.
♥ Experts recommend allowing shirt sleeve cuffs to show no more than one centimetre under your jacket.
♥ Make sure all groomsmen coordinate their socks.
♥ Decide on accessories ahead of time: either all belts and watches or none.
Summarising what should the best man wear
The best man is a key cog in wedding proceedings. It is nice to recognise the best man’s efforts with a subtle change in their clothing or accessories, without overshadowing the groom. What should the best man wear is a question best answered by considering his role and the overall theme of a wedding.