The Summer Wedding Survival Guide For Guys

Weddings can be difficult to navigate. What exactly is cocktail-black-tie-semi-formal attire? But worse even than this jumble of words are the invitations with no directions at all. You’re on your own. And you better not screw up. This couple’s wedded bliss depends upon you picking the right pocket square.

That was a joke. Keep breathing. And keep reading. We've been slowly gathering every wedding tip and trick we can find from every Cladwell employee in the land (who knew you could have a heated discussion about dress shoes vs. leather lace ups?), and here's the wealth of wedding guest wisdom we've collected.

Cladwell's Wedding Tips:

1. Begin with what you own.

           We’re about to give you a wealth of inspiration in our casual to formal looks - so start where you’re at. If the wedding is casual and you own pants, shirt, and bowtie, then you're set. 

2. If you need to add, add – but get creative.

           If you’re going to a formal wedding and you need a suit, then go get a suit. Sorry, no other option (see suit search tips below). But that doesn’t mean you need to go drop crazy amounts of dollars. Ask around to see if you can borrow from a friend. Try renting a suit or shoes

Here are some looks you can create, starting with what you already own.  

 Summer Weddings - Dressed Down: 

These looks are appropriate for "casual" weddings. Casual looks in the summer usually go along with morning or afternoon weddings that are outdoors or in more low-key venues. If you're unsure of the dress code, then throw on a blazer to dress it up (it's always better to be a little overdressed, because you can always ditch the blazer). 

Look 1  

  • Patterned button down

  • Navy dress pants

  • Leather lace-ups

  • Leather belt

  • Patterned tie

Note: You probably already own these items for work. Don't be afraid to try a little pattern mixing and wear some color.

Look 2

  • White button down

  • Khaki chinos

  • Leather lace-ups

  • Leather belt

  • Patterned bowtie

Note: Dress up your chinos with a classic button down and bowtie. 

Look 3

  • Blue patterned blazer

  • White button down

  • Khaki chinos

  • Leather lace-ups

  • Leather belt

  • Patterned bowtie

Note: You don't need to own a suit to dress up your casual wedding look. Sometimes you only need a blazer. Here are some tips for finding one you love.

Summer Weddings - Dressed Up

For your semi-formal and formal weddings, chinos won't cut it. These will all involve a nice suit. Here's where to find one: 

1. Your local shop ($$$).

This is your most expensive and best quality option. You'll pay the big bucks, but you'll also leave with a suit that's perfectly tailored to you - that's gonna last for quite some time.

2. Online tailored suit options ($$).

These options allow you to order suits tailored to your measurements without quite the expense of a local shop. We recommend Suit Supply and IndoChino. These sites let you pick out your suit and then walk you through how to send in your measurements.

3. Local retailers ($).

Men's Wearhouse: the store's more tailored, modern cuts are limited but it's a good location for a classic affordable suit. 

Here are some looks you can create, starting with your brand new (or old favorite) suit.  

Look 1

  • Blue suit

  • patterned button down

  • Brown leather belt

  • Brown leather dress shoes

Note: The no-tie look can work for outdoor afternoon occasions (but when in doubt, go with the tie). 

Look 2

  • Blue suit

  • White button down

  • Brown leather belt

  • Brown leather dress shoes


Look 3

  • Blue suit

  • White button down

  • Blue tie

  • Brown leather belt

  • Brown leather dress shoes

Note: This look can work for your formal afternoon or evening weddings.  

Look 4

  • Black suit

  • White button down

  • Black bowtie

  • Black leather belt

  • Black leather dress shoes

Note: This is for your nicest evening weddings if black-tie isn't mentioned on the invitation. If it is, then you just have to suck it up, rent a tuxedo, and pretend to be James Bond for the evening. Rough life.

We get that wedding attire is hard to navigate, so check out some more articles if you need a little more inspiration or guidance. Go here for a specific wedding dress code guide, here for a live conversations about all things related to weddings for the guys, and here and here for some tips for the ladies. 

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Ladies, Here's What to Wear to a Wedding as a Guest

Let's talk about the weddings where there's no mention of what to wear on the invitation? No life-changing "cocktail attire" note at the bottom. First off, we suggest: fear not. Stay calm, work with what you own, what you can rent, or what your friends own.

Secondly, we put our heads together and pulled together our wedding looks for all occasions - so allow us to show and not just tell.

Afternoon, casual:

For those morning or afternoon outdoor weddings, dawn your best summer dress and sandals, summer heels, or flats. Summer dresses include any cotton or, in this case, denim dress. Try mixing a dressier material with a more casual shoe (or vice-a-versa) for these occasions.

Wrap dress from Anthropologie, stitched sandal heels from Madewell.

Afternoon, dressed up:

If the afternoon wedding is indoors or you're getting the feeling that this outdoor wedding is not at any ordinary park but actually at Kensington Gardens (or just a nice country club), you'll want to opt with your more formal shoes
paired with a dress of nicer material. Knee length dresses are still appropriate but try dressing them up with more formal shoes, jewelry, or hairstyles.

Dress (similar) and shoes (similar) from Anthropologie.

Evening, dressed down:

If the invitation is past five o'clock, but black-tie isn't specified, then knee-length to long dresses are appropriate. Move towards darker colors or more formal materials and go boldly forward with your nicest heels and jewelry.

Custom dress from Fame and Partners, lace up heels from DSW.

Evening, dressed up:

Evening is evening. And if there's any mention of black-tie, then round up some mice to make you a ballgown, call up a friend to borrow theirs, or give Rent the Runway a shot. There are few moments in life when we get an excuse to get this dressed up, so honor the invitation, think old Hollywood, and enjoy.

 "Vintage Bebe" dress from mom, styled with some classic black heels from Target (pronounced "Tar-jay").

We hope this helps you navigate wedding season! And if you need some more tips and inspiration, check out some of our other posts for wedding attire for every occasion here and extensive tips for mens' wedding attire here and here.

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Wedding Outfits Made Easy

It's time once again to navigate the exciting (and often terrifying) waters of wedding season. If you need specifics about the formal, cocktail, black-tie, blue-tie madness, then check out the rundown here (and just to clarify and stop your rising panic, no, blue-tie is not a category). But, if what you really need is to use the time you'd spend shopping for all those dresses to take a nap or just breathe, then you're in the right place.

Here's our biggest and best tip for the the inundation of summer weddings: fear not. Really, truly. Read the invitation, translate to your wardrobe, find a dress you love, but fear not.

Weddings are occasions to celebrate loved ones. They are occasions to mark and celebrate the beginning of a union - not to cause you endless outfit anxiety. So, here are two "fear not" wedding tips that have saved us time and time again.

1. Forget Facebook. Re-wear if you want to!

There is an unhealthy stigma around re-wearing clothing. Especially to weddings. But let's face it, few of the weddings we attend even have the same guest list. So, what's caused this anxiety? Facebook. Did you know that Mark Zuckerberg of all people is actually causing your wedding guest anxiety? All those tagged photos are dictating our shopping and lifestyle choices. And that's just absurd. Somewhere along the road, we got obsessed with this idea of “outfit repeating” and we forgot that clothing isn't suppose to own us but aid us in our participation in daily life and celebrations.

So, here's the key: if you find a dress that you love, and you'd like to wear this favorite item again and again through the myriad of summer weddings, then be my guest. It's that simple. Especially if you want to invest in one quality dress that you love rather than 3 mediocre dresses. Remember, fear not.

Here's an example of a Little Black Dress from Kit and Ace that our very own content marketer Alexa has worn to countless weddings. Here are just three of the ways she wore her LBD. Grab out those shoes, statement necklaces, and Pinterest hair inspiration pages and get styling those favorite dresses instead of shopping for more.

Look 1:

Try styling your dress with sandals (heeled or not!) and some loose, wavy locks for weddings of the more casual outdoor variety.

Look 2:

If you're looking for a more formal, indoor, evening look, then pull out your black heels and that statement necklace. Don't have Pinterest level hair-styling technique? Yeh, em no. Try a low ponytail at the nape of the neck for the same effect/little effort. 

Look 3:

To shake things up, try out a pop of color. Do it. Pair your LBD with some colored shoes and lipstick. When your shoes are the focus, the dress that you've worn before no longer is! Finish off this bold styling with a simple bun and voila.

2. You don't have to own the dress.

To be clear, we're not talking about theft here. We're talking about sites like Rent the Runway if you need a super formal dress but aren't quite interested in investing. Or, our favorite option, is to shop your friends' closets. Find your friends/co-workers/stylish acquaintances who are in the same seasons of wedding attendance with similar body types. And ask away - but be sure to read the signs of whether they are the clothing lending type or not. Obviously, the key to this tip is to be sure to treat their clothing with care and always return items dry-cleaned (and maybe with a gift card to boot?).

This "fear not" wedding tip came from our very own developer Robin who invested in a beautiful Reformation dress that she loaned for a night to Jess, who works at the development shop next door.

Jess in Reformation

Robin in Reformation

We hope this makes your summer of weddings just that much easier.  And if you need some more tips and inspiration, check out some of our other posts for wedding attire for every occasion here and extensive tips for mens' wedding attire here and here.

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Thank you, Mom. (12 Instagram Moms We Love)

It's a 7 day work week and a 24 hour work day. No experience is required but expectations are high. Results and appreciation can be expected 20+ years into the job. And did we mention there's no pay?

To all the mothers out there, we're endlessly grateful you took on one of the hardest jobs in the world. And you made it beautiful.

You create culture.

You shape character.

You teach how to love and what to love. 

You are tired and yet somehow joyful.

And we're very, very grateful.

To the mothers - creators and shapers of homes, relationships, laughter, and sweet memories - thank you.

Really, thank you.

Here are just a handful of the mothers who inspire us (and who can inspire you daily on Instagram). Enjoy. And Happy Mother's Day!

1. @kyri.shaffer

Thanks for loving me little friends. I'm glad you're mine forever.

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"Let them be little." 4.14.17

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Busy day at the office.

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In the past week or so, I've started asking myself this simple question, "Do I have an ABUNDANCE of energy for this?" My default is to work from a place of "just barely making it" when the reality is, that's no way to live a life. It is OKAY and in fact, most desirable, to not end each day on Empty. It is okay to reach the end of a day and feel peace, to feel like I still have something leftover. It is not just okay, it is GOOD. This thing called Thriving? It must be protected. And if it needs protecting, it's worth fighting for. It's worth downsizing the grocery list mid-shopping trip because, things don't always go to plan and sometimes the tank is running low and, it's okay to not be able to pick up all the slack. And it's been in those moments where I can pause, get perspective for a second and think, "Can this wait? Can I have someone else do it? Or do I want to do it because it MUST be done (those things are really so very few)? Or do I want to do it because I have an abundance of energy for it?" It has been so freeing. So magical to just pare down the day to the essentials and the most pleasurable. To not think that every time we are out running errands I must squeeze in "as much as possible" and then be kicking myself later that I wasn't the Super Woman I maybe thought would just-so-happen happen to surface from nowhere after 5,639 tries before?? Anyway, it's a good question. I dare you to ask yourself it today when you look at the days "plan" or are thinking about improvising/making a spontaneous addition to your workload. --- #cincinnati #thisisotr #parenthood #gentleparenting #trust #selfawareness #peace #simplify #simpleliving #smallhome #peacefulparenting #gentlemothering #bekindtoyourself

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