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What to wear to a beach wedding

We are accustomed to weddings being a very formal affair. Yet, the beach is all about relaxing and having fun. So how do you put together an outfit that’s appropriately elegant for a wedding but not too dressed-up for the beach? Here are some key pieces to consider and what to wear them with.

Sport Coat

A sport coat makes an excellent choice for those events, where a suit is considered too formal. It’s a great piece to wear when you want to emphasise elegance without looking stiff or corporate. An unstructured sport coat (without padding and which doesn’t fit rigidly) will soften your look, maintaining its elegance but at the same time, giving a more laid-back appearance. For maximum comfort, opt for a sport coat that is either completely or at least partially unlined, as often, the lining traps heat.

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Since a tie is not an option to consider here, opt for a light fabric shirt with a Mandarin collar, or even one that’s collarless. It will produce a neater look, as well as one that’s clearly in tune with the seaside ambiance.

Waistcoat

If it’s too hot for a sport coat, an elegant waistcoat makes a great substitute. It’s not as dressy, so you want to dress it up a little so as not to end up looking too casual.

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Start by opting for a waistcoat in a classic colour, such as beige or blue. Wear it with a light-coloured semi-formal shirt (traditional  stiff collar) and elegant trousers. Anything that’s too bright or fancy might tilt the balance towards the ‘casual’, so consider this when coordinating colours.

Trousers

Shorts and jeans are too casual, even for the most relaxed of beach weddings. Sometimes, even chinos might look too dress-down for the occasion. Ideally, opt for trousers with slanting pockets, which give a more elegant touch than e.g. round pockets,  which are typically used for jeans and very casual trousers.

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For that typical beachside look, consider rolling up your trouser-legs to ankle-level or slightly higher (if you’re on the tall side). However, this works best with slim-fitting trousers.

Shoes

Being the beach, you don’t want anything that’s too polished. Not only will they most likely look out-of-place, they will also end up making a rather uncomfortable choice.

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Consider a pair of moccasins instead. Not only are they super comfortable and elegant, they are also highly versatile. They look great with dressier outfits whilst also complementing casual outfits by taking them up a notch or two on the ‘elegance scale’.

Final word

The key to putting together a great outfit for a beach wedding is to aim for the right balance between elegance and laid-back. Of course some weddings might be more formal or relaxed than others but generally, your outfit should look elegant, light, and comfortable.  

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Matching shoes and belts

It’s one of the first things about dressing well that we learn as young men – a black belt is worn with black shoes and a brown one with brown shoes – always; but what about blue, beige, and the more unusual options that are becoming increasingly popular? Wearing a belt and shoes in matching colours is a basic rule of male elegance but with eye-catching colours, it doesn’t always work so well.

Unless the trousers are in the same colour and therefore, camouflaging the belt and shoes, the combination often results in a look that screams ‘put together with great care’. It’s like walking into a living room where the sofa (cushions included) and curtains are in the same floral fabric. Elegance must seem effortless and a matching belt and shoes, which aren’t black or brown are anything but that.

Another reason for doing away with the rule is that matching shoes and belts, effectively make a person look shorter. This is especially so, when the shoes and belt contrast in colour with the trousers’, as what you’ll end up with, are legs that only appear as long as the distance between the belt and the shoes.

DSCF4858.JPGRather than opting for identical colours, if your shoes are in an unusual colour, go for a belt in a colour that’s as close as possible to that of either the shirt or trousers – depending on whether you want to add or reduce visual height.

Taller men, whose legs tend to be considerably longer than their torso, will achieve a more balanced silhouette with a belt that mirrors the shirt’s colour, as this effectively visually elongates the torso. On the other hand, shorter men should aim for visually longer legs, making a belt in the same colour as the trousers’ the better option.

If it’s your belt that’s the fancy piece, go for shoes in a neutral colour, which blend in as much as possible with the trousers. Here, your outfit’s centrepiece should be your belt.

Final word

As is often the case, rules are never set in stone. With pieces in unusual colours – and in the case of shoes and belts, anything other than black or brown is considered ‘unusual’ – the safest approach is to make these the focal point of your outfit. Consequently, since there can only be one focal point, avoid having more than one piece in an unusual colour.

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Coordinating socks with shoes and trousers

Little thought tends to go into the choice of colour of one’s socks. Black socks with black shoes and brown ones with brown shoes, with a white pair to wear with sports shoes. Fairly simple, until you come across a pair of multi-toned shoes that you’d love to have, or one in an unusual colour. How do you coordinate the right pair of socks with it? Do black or brown socks go with any shoe colour?

Generally, the colour of one’s socks should be identical or very close to that of one’s trousers, rather than the shoes’. This avoids stopping the eye at the trouser-leg bottom, as opposed to the floor, where it should stop.

However, what if the trousers themselves are in an unusual colour? Would you wear mint socks with mint trousers? It might be a question of personal style but the combination looks a bit too coordinated. On the other hand, black or brown socks will contrast too much whilst also looking too wintry in comparison to the trousers.

Instead of socks that match your trousers, or the usual black/brown, go for colourful socks instead. Opt for a pair that includes a colour that’s identical or similar to the trousers’ and which ideally, also tie in with one of the colours in the shoes. If the trousers are bright, balance the intensity of the colour with socks in a mainly neutral palette or one that’s muted. Think of the socks as the link that leads to a gradual transition from trousers to shoes.

When wearing shorts, as one mostly does in summer, rather than focusing on the shorts’ colour, one’s socks (short socks, of course) should mainly tie in with the shoes’ colour scheme. On a pair of canvas lace-ups, rather than opting for white or black socks, go for a pair that’s contains a colour similar to that of the shoes. You probably wouldn’t want to coordinate your shoes with socks in a solid colour (unless the shoes are colourful or contain a pattern). When both socks and shoes are in a very similar colour, the combination will visually alter the shape of the shoe. By opting for colourful socks (not necessarily bright colours), it’ll be easier to distinguish socks from shoes.

Of course, there is always the option of no-show socks. This will make coordinating trousers/shorts and shoes much easier. However, socks can also serve as the style-piece that makes an outfit more interesting and reflective of personal style.

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Introducing Maians – shoes handcrafted in Spain

A few years back, while wandering around the old streets of Barcelona, I came across a little shoe shop whose quirky and comfy looking designs I found fascinating. Needless to say, I ended up getting myself a pair. Considering how often I wore them and how long they lasted, they’re probably the best pair of shoes I ever owned. Little did I know back then that I’d be stocking the brand in my shop.

Maians is a brand whose style is very much inspired by Barcelona’s distinctive urban yet laid-back character, resulting in a design that’s casual but definitely chic. In addition, its use of soles, that are made from vulcanised rubber, render their footwear not only stylish but extremely comfortable – something I can vouch for. 

Moreover, each pair is completely handcrafted in Spain by a select group of shoemakers, using only regionally-sourced materials, and by means of a traditional manufacturing process. These shoes are not only beautiful, they’re also a reflection of the rich shoe-making heritage the Spaniards are known for.

Available at KIR ROYAL is the Sisto Combi model (picture), in sizes 40 – 45, and priced at €75.00. Only one pair per size is stocked.