Q: Hey Bastards: I have a good friend whose springtime wedding this year was postponed and is now set for October. Granted, we're in southern California, so the elements won't really be a factor, but what does one wear to autumnal nuptials? Dress code is semi-formal, so I intend to wear a suit, but I don't want to go in brown tweed and look like an elbow-patched professor... or do I? Thanks.
A: Joe, we know you asked this in early Q2. Hope our reply isn't too late!
Whenever we see anything about dress code, we immediately recall "The X Way Out" chapter of Paul Fussell's Class. (Becoming an X person, Fussell argues, is the only escape from class.)
... X people tend to dress for themselves alone, which means they dress comfortably, and generally "down." One degree down will usually do the trick: if black tie is designated an X person appears in a dark suit (of a distinctly unstylish, archaic cut) and a notable necktie. If suits are expected, he omits the tie. If "informal" is the proclaimed style, his jeans will be torn and patched, his cords very used, if not soiled. If others are wearing bathing suits, X people are likely to show up naked.
As aspiring Xers, we'd probably show up in 5-pocket white pants, an unpressed point-collar shirt with an askew tie, velvet blazer, and some sort of sneakerized footwear. Basically the MB mandeer.
But if you insist on a suit, we recommend one that looks vaguely semi-formal when together, but when separated become casual pieces you can wear day-in and day-out. And also throw in the wash.
Something like this Boglioli fine-wale corduroy suit is exactly what we're talking about. The day after the wedding you can nurse your hangover at brunch in the pants and a $10 t-shirt, and at night pair the patch-pocket jacket (i.e. blazer) with shorts or denim or anything to finally cure the hangover with more alcohol.
If you insist on a tie, our own Italian Tickler would be a fun contrasting texture-on-texture play. It's also notable.
Thanks for using the proper form of "whose," and have a great time.