Most weddings today tend to fall into the semiformal category, whether specifically mentioned on the invitation or not. It’s actually a bit uncommon now for a wedding to be a black tie affair. Now, while it’s quite possible to wear an office suit to a semiformal, using a rumpled-up suit from the same conference call or meeting you had with the team on Monday isn’t always the best choice for a wedding on Saturday. Instead, a little bit of style can go a long way in making a guest stand out a bit better.
The Definition of Semi-Formal
Semi-formal wedding attire is, by definition, a relaxed formal look. For men that involves a nice suit, but it avoids the expectation of a renting or buying a full tuxedo. Of course, what a nice suit is ends up being left to a lot of interpretation. It can range from a fully-tailored fine suit to some mish-mash from a college closet with an off-color sports blazer as a topper. So, it helps the wedding couple to focus on a few rules of appearance.
When going to a wedding, it helps to look a bit better with a two-piece suit that matches the same color to the jacket and pants. Offset the same with a nice business shirt, a good tie that’s not garish, and well-matched business shoes. Always wear dark socks, never white. And never go barefoot in your shoes. Save that for the boat party in the evening.
What to Do If you Don’t Have a Suit?
No suit, no problem, you can rent one. The same tuxedo rental in San Bernardino can also rent semiformal suits as well. Most tuxedo rental places stock suits as well for similar occasions and semiformal events. In fact, with the right package, one could rent everything needed aside from the sock and undergarments (take care of those yourself, please).
Call Ahead of Time
If you’re still not sure what exactly to wear or what might be acceptable, try asking. Usually, for an event, there is someone coordinating it. Variations specific to locales, like a Texas formal, definitely should be followed up with questions. That’s the person to call for what would be appropriate for semiformal in terms of defining the term. With private affairs, that’s probably someone the invitee knows or is familiar with. With a more organized affair, it doesn’t hurt to get online and see what other “semiformal” events looked like at the same place for other parties. That can give you a good baseline of what to expect. Then build your outfit from there.
Worst case scenario, a white shirt, conservative striped tie with a dark blue blazer, beige slacks and dark brown shoes is always a good standby ensemble for semiformal. You’ll look like a new company hire fresh out of college, but you’ll look acceptable.
For a semiformal affair, definitely avoid a casual look of khakis with a Hawaiian shirt, don’t wear sneakers, and don’t show up without a tie. Semiformal still means some sense of wearing a suit. It doesn’t mean drop all sense of formality altogether.