There are very few reasons to dress formally at a beach except for a wedding. So let’s assume you’ve traveled very far, go to your resort, and you assume you can buy your attire there, that’s not the case.
Usually, you’ll find shorts and flip-flops which is not something that would be appropriate for a wedding. So plan ahead and bring the right stuff because a business suit or regular tuxedo is simply over the top.
What Is Beach Formal Or Beach Wedding?
It’s typically used for beach weddings and it’s comprised of the most formal things you can wear at the beach without looking totally out of place. It’s quite similar to resort attire in the sense that it has lots of lighter colors, open weaves, spring or summery colors that are well suited to a tropical climate.
What Not To Wear
1. Never Wear Sandals With A Suit
It just doesn’t go together. If you wear long pants, you could just take off your shoes, take off your socks and roll up the hems. That way, it works with the beach wedding theme. Because it’s warmer outside, some may want to skip the jacket and go maybe with a vest and matching pants instead.
2. Don’t Wear A Suit Jacket Or Blazer With Shorts
It may be a look that is originally from Bermuda and they wear it with over the calf socks. You show up at a beach wedding, it just looks awkward and it draws too much attention to yourself which is not the point. You want to have the bride and the groom be the center of that day.
3. Avoid Short-Sleeved Shirts
Either you go a little more casual and have a polo shirt with short sleeves or you take a long-sleeve shirt. If it’s quite warm, you can simply roll up your shirt sleeves. It will always look better than a short-sleeved shirt. Short-sleeved shirts are particularly bad when worn with a jacket or a sport coat. One thing I’ve seen recently at a beach wedding that was quite awkward was a suit with a shirt that was untucked. Someone tried to be more casual and relaxed but it just looks weird. I know Justin Timberlake wore it at the Super Bowl halftime show but it was a camel suit with a bandana and overall, it had nothing to do with classic style.
4. Ditch The Monochromatic Look
By that, I mean pants, or a jacket, or shirt, and even a tie, all matching in the same color. It lacks contrast and overall, monochromatic outfits are never flattering. Likewise, you should skip bold or any whimsical patterns because huge Paisleys or Hawaiian shirt style suit jackets or pants are simply not appropriate. Some people like to wear suspenders but if you do so, I suggest to wear at least a vest or a jacket. If you just have it on top of a shirt, it looks weird. Likewise, it’s a beach wedding so you shouldn’t bring any kind of formal accessories such as black shoes or black belts. It provides too much of a contrast to your lighter colored pants and it’s overall out of place.
Beach Formal Must-Haves
First of all, if you think you don’t have anything in your current closet, it’s better to buy something than to rent something because you can always wear it whenever you travel into warmer climates. If you are part of the wedding party you simply don’t have a choice, simply go along with what the bride and groom have planned for you. It’s their day and you just have to accept it and go with the flow.
1. Casual Close-Toed Shoes
If you’re often in warmer climates, I suggest thinking about a perforated leather shoe because it’s something that keeps you cooler and it’s definitely more casual than a regular leather shoe. At the same time, it’s still classically stylish. If you like it bolder, you may be able to pull off a spectator shoe but always keep in mind, you never want to overshadow the bride and groom because it’s their day.
If you want to invest in something that you can wear at home, I suggest to go with a loafer either a penny loafer, maybe a tassel loafer in a light tan color, because it’s versatile and you can just wear it at the beach or at a beach wedding but also to the office or casual Fridays. Other colors that work well are tan and even white buckskin shoes because, in the tropics or the beach wedding, it’s an appropriate look.
2. Belt That Matches Colors In Your Outfit
If you go with a belt, make sure the color works with your overall attire. Definitely, don’t show up in shorts unless the bride and groom have specifically asked you to do so.
3. Cotton & Linen Shirts Are King!
Linen breathes a little more heavily but in any case, you want something with an open weave so you can really feel the breeze at the sea. You may be tempted to go with silk because it is often very lightweight and has a nice touch but it is in fact quite insulating and so I suggest not to wear it. Skip the French cuffs and cufflinks, rather go for buttoned barrel cuffs because it’s just one layer of fabric and if you’re really overheating, you can even unbutton the shirt button on your cuff.
4. A Lighter Colored Suit
Because even a beach wedding is more formal than regular outings at the beach, it’s okay to wear a suit. If you do so, go with something lighter colored, may be a seersucker suit or a lighter suit maybe in khaki or tan, or you can go with a combination of seersucker pants and a lighter jacket. Lighter colors have the advantage because they reflect the sunlight and so you stay cooler. Definitely, skip navy or gray colors because they’re simply out of place at the beach. Fun colors such as lighter greens, maybe petrol are perfectly appropriate.
In terms of fabric choice, you can go with wool especially if it’s an open weave like a tropical fabric. You can also go with cotton, linen or blends thereof. Make sure to stay clear of polyester or nylon because those fibers will just make you sweat. Likewise, your jacket should be made of a lighter material but what’s even more important is that it has an open weave and a sewn canvas. If it’s glued, which is something you usually find on less expensive suits, it’s more insulating and you’ll stay hot at the beach.
Definitely, opt for more casual details in your jackets which means notch lapels or patch pockets rather than peak lapels and jetted pockets.
5. Go For Lighter & Bolder Accessories
In terms of accessories, it’s okay to go without neckwear because it is warm. However, it’s a wedding, after all, and you want to put your best foot forward. I suggest to either go with a knit tie because it has an open weave or maybe a bow tie because it’s lighter in weight. You can also have bolder colors or summery colors and you can look for fabrics like shantung silk which is more knobby and more casual than a traditional wedding tie or an office tie.
Even if you decide against neckwear, I always suggest you go with a pocket square because it quickly elevates your outfit. On top of that, a little boutonniere in your buttonhole can be a nice addition. However, sometimes that’s reserved just for the wedding party so when in doubt, I’d rather skip the boutonniere and normally go with a pocket square.
As for socks, basically, I always like to have over the calf socks that will take off. If that’s too much for you, maybe go with a pair of no-show socks so that way, you have that beach look but you still have shoes on and you’re not sweating or you don’t get blisters inside your shoes.