We’re in the thick of wedding season – those summer months when it seems like everyone you know is getting married every weekend.
Between family, friends, relatives and anyone in between, the most important day of so many people’s lives takes them to places around the world and you’re expected to make it there and celebrate with them. Whether the lucky couple ties the knot in nondescript places as close as a nearby backyard or as far away as a passport will take them, if you’re in attendance, you better be dressed for the occasion.
But before we get ahead our ourselves, let’s face the facts. Most of the weddings you attend – not just this summer, but in your entire life – will end up being, wvell, pretty ordinary. Those exotic, off-the-wall unions are few and far between and most couples strike a balance between the unique and the routine. So yes, that dependable pair of leather dress shoes will probably work for nearly every wedding you’re invited to. For those celebrations that break the mold though, we have some suggestions that will fit the bill.
For the folks forcing their guests to hit the forest for the ceremony, or perhaps simply swapping out the white tablecloth for artisanal reclaimed wood tables with bench seating, footwear will probably err on the grittier side of the spectrum. Boots may seem too bulky, but they’ll fit in more than you might expect. Consider the tried-and-true Clarks Desert Boot in a nice tumbled leather or R.M. Williams Comfort Craftsman Suede Chelsea Boots for something a bit more substantial. The woody influence may rub off on the color palette as well, so tan is definitely in play. Chunkier, sturdier brogues like Loake 1880 Chester have some great details at a solid price, while Allen Edmonds Strand Cap Toe Oxford are a staple that will work in and out of wedding season.
If you’re ever lucky enough to attend a wedding anywhere near the beach, take advantage of it and dive in with the dress code. This is probably the only time in your life it will be acceptable to wear espadrilles in public. Fortunately Castañer’s Classic Espadrilles are considerate to your wallet and aren’t completely flimsy. Loafers make a bit more sense though and will give you some more wear in the long run. Meermin’s Snuff Suede Tassel Loafers are just this side of dandy and cut a nice shape paired with trousers hemmed above the ankle. But if you’re really trying to pull out the stops, it might make sense to go with what’s en vogue, like Gucci’s Jordaan Leather Loafers, just make sure you don’t mind spilling a drink (or three) on them during the reception.
A special day sometimes requires special arrangements, even if that means flying 4,000 miles to get to the venue. That level of commitment warrants from friends and family deserves some stylistic license. For those ending up in the Italian countryside or the French Riviera for the first time, the casual luxury of some driving shoes would blend in. Tod’s Gommino Suede Driving Shoes are the gold standard, but if most of your outfit budget went towards airfare, there’s no shame in pickup on a more affordable version from ASOS. Those lack some substance though, so perhaps a single monk strap is the piece of flair you’re looking for, in which case, Herring’s Barker Suede will fit the bill nicely.
Traditional/Black Tie Wedding
Old habits die hard, and in some cases, don’t die at all. The only shoe fit for a truly black tie wedding are simple black leather oxfords. Typically, they would be patent leather. But following the rules is too easy—and also pointless when you’ll never wear those shoes again in your life. So instead, opt for a choice that might last longer and find some life in the off-season. Jack Erwin’s Cap Toe rendition is budget-friendly and has a Dainite rubber sole, to keep you glued to the dance floor. However, Alden’s Cap Toe Oxford – with its added shine and a full black outsole – can become your signature shoe for all types of special occasions, for a significant upcharge that’s worth the added investment. It’ll make up for the fact that you probably need to rent a tux, because who actually owns tuxedos anymore?
With wedding dress codes getting more lax by the year, it’s not totally out of the question that you might be able to wear sneakers to the next nuptials you attend. And city weddings of your close friends are usually the chance to push the envelope. Should the situation present itself, the two most important pieces of advice are: 1. keep the shoes simple and 2. make sure the pants are hemmed high enough. There’s nothing like a pool of wool spilling over your sneakers to make it look like you were completely unprepared when you were, in fact, planning to wear sneakers. There are a multitude of minimal sneakers out there to choose from, but Converse Jack Purcells and Common Projects Achilles Super are standbys for a reason. So don’t overthink it. But if you’re trying to overdo it, smoking slippers from Del Toro can help you do just that.
Now read why suit pants should be your next cop.