Black or brown may be the default colors for your shoes, belts, and bags, but unless you want to look like a pallbearer or Barack Obama on vacation in Nantucket, steer clear of them for your wedding suit. The foolproof neutral for your special day is actually grey.
Charcoal grey, in particular, is a sharp choice for any time of year except the dead of summer. It works whether your bride wants a cocktail garden party or rustic-chic barn wedding.
As for what to put on your feet: Medium grey suits work with any color shoe—black, brown, or, best of all, cognac—but charcoal is trickier. Stick with black shoes, because brown can clash.
Here are five suits that will have you looking like a sartorial hero on your wedding day.
The Subtle Pattern
Calvin Klein X-Fit Ultra Slim Fit Striped Suit in Charcoal Neat
With Raf Simons’s arrival as the brand’s chief creative officer in 2016, Calvin Klein is no-apologies cool again. As a general rule, we suggest you stay away from patterns for your wedding, but the faint striping in this fabric will give the suit a special, rich look at mid-distance and in photos. It’s a great way to distinguish yourself from your groomsmen.
The Contemporary Choice
J. Crew Ludlow Suit in Vintage Grey Italian Cashmere
Jacket: $995, Pants: $495
The prepster brand has been making guys feel confident at weddings since the 1990s. And it’s easy to see why here: The slim lapel is safely fashionable, the double-vented back is standard-issue for ceremonial occasions (a single vent skews informal), and the Italian cashmere fabric means your bride will not be able to keep her hands off you all day—and night.
The Athletic Fit
Hugo Boss Slim-Fit Suit in Grey
Hayes Jacket: $650, Gibson Pants: $245
The German brand favors a boxy jacket, so when it does a slim fit, you know the tapering is going to be discreet—nothing too tight or fashion-y. This is a great choice for a guy with a built-up chest and shoulders and more than 12% body fat. It’ll give you that athletic fit and emphasize your best assets. The Super 120s virgin wool adds an extra bit of luxury for your special day.
The Short Jacket
Club Monaco Grant Suit in Dark Charcoal
Jacket: $450, Pants: $225
Ironically, Ralph Lauren’s fast-fashion brand leans much more European in cut and style when you might have expected it to look more like J. Crew. What’s nice about this suit is that, at first glance, it looks pretty traditional. There’s nothing fussy about the lapel situation. But on closer examination, you’re getting some fly details. The slightly roped shoulder—that’s the way in which the sleeve stands above shoulder height at the armhole—looks really sharp, and the slightly shortened jacket feels modern. (Note: We don’t care how many squats you’ve done, a short jacket still must cover your butt.) This is a great suit for shorter guys who don’t want to feel like they’re wearing dad’s clothes.
The Ultimate Baller
Suitsupply Havana in Plain Grey
This particular look is for advanced sartorialists. Notice the way the lapel points up toward the shoulders. That’s called a peak lapel, and it’s most common on tuxedos, so it adds a level of formality to the look. The lapel is really wide, too. Tom Ford has been the driving force behind bringing this look back into fashion. The double-breasted construction (that’s the way the jacket folders over itself at the closure) is another risk-taking move.
There are a lot of bold choices in this suit, but fear not, Suitsupply makes such a wide range of duds that you can find something more traditionally flattering. The brand is committed to affordable semi-custom suiting: You can build your own suit online by selecting all your jacket and trouser preferences, or you can find a brick-and-mortar store where they will take your measurements and build a suit for you. You will feel like a prince getting your suit here, no matter which one you choose.