How to pick the perfect outfit to wear at any wedding

A wedding invitation dress code says as much about your hosts as it does about the attire you're expected to wear. From upmarket city weddings to laid back country ones, the secret to looking your best is figuring out the fine print.

Summer is peak wedding season and given the warm climate we've broken down the dress code to make sure you're the second best dressed bloke on the scene.

Beach boys

When an invitation declares that the couple's nuptials will be held beachside don't presume you can don a pair of shorts and sandals then call it a day. Instead, try an outfit that embodies airy summer chic – elegant without being weighed down with structured attire.

According to Patrick Johnson, founder of P. Johnson Tailors, beach weddings allow for fresh and lighter colour combinations in menswear.

Cropped and light

"Think about light weight fabrics, tropical weight wools, linen blends, cottons, suits or separate outfits with more inherent texture and less formal rigidity," say Patrick Johnson of what works best by the sea.

If you're feeling particularly decadent, invest in a cream or off-white blazer to create a tonal look and don't hesitate to roll the hem of your pants a little.

Colour codes

Look to a European summer colour palette for inspiration too – think Neapolitan tailoring that was huge in Italy this year as your cornerstone. But remember, if you opt for a bright jacket, pair it down with muted tones to remain chic yet subtle in your on-trend ambitions.

MJ Bale's CEO and founder Matt Jensen says the deconstructed Neapolitan suit is big in Australia this summer.

"A deconstructed suit removes unnecessary padding and lining in wool, cotton and linen suits leaving you with an outfit that's more breathable and best for Australia's hot climate," says Matt Jensen.

You can always add a pocket hank in your deconstructed suit. It's a nice way to dress up beachside look without going for a tie, along with other must-have  accessories such as summer hats like a Panama or trilby and the latest season's sunglasses.

Sans sock

Footwear also plays a key role in getting the beachside attire right. Choice looks are loafers or espadrilles – nothing too weighty as you'll be on sand.

Chris Wilson, the General Manager for Menswear at Myer says the no-sock trend is popular for a beach wedding.

"I would say sneakers and sandals are a big no-no," says Chris Wilson.

"Just because it's at the beach doesn't mean you have to dress down. You need to look sharp, just less formal but still tailored in a deconstructed way," he says.

The classic reception

When your invitation says 'formal' or 'cocktail' it's time to keep your look classic and sharp. You can be on trend but your colour palette should stick strictly to black or navy.

Classic wedding receptions are usually set in gardens, ballrooms or reception centres and male guests need to think of dinner suits in midnight blue, black and white combinations.

The formal edge

Patrick Johnson says men can think along the lines of a classic two-piece that's on the verge of a dinner suit but without the smoking silk lines.

"Peak lapel or double-breasted suits add a visual sharpness that raises the formality with being brash," says Johnson.

Brands like MJ Bale, Hugo Boss and Dom Bagnato create modern tuxedos that work perfectly for this dress code. You can keep the tux looking sharp with a pre-tied bow tie or tie your own, and when it comes to footwear opt for cap-toe oxford and make sure they're polished.

Going countryside

Going country can often mean going outdoors under a marquee on a farm or in a winery in the hills. 

"Stick to navy classicism and chose from merino wool suits in single or double-breasted jackets, slim or wide trousers," says Matt Jensen.

The country setting is ideal for casual separates. Mix and match jackets 9navy and brown are your best first options0 in a timeless pattern like windowpane check and then team this with chinos in navy or tobacco tones with a shirt, tie and pocket square. R.M. Williams chocolate brown boots are Jensen's preferred footwear.

Inner city shindigs

This is the chance to go wild, but not over the top in your sartorial know-how.  It's a playground for fashion's best dressed to congregate and compare their Alexander McQueen, Kenzo, Hugo Boss or Calvin Klein pieces.

Chris Wilson says the hipster wedding is where guys can sport a three-piece suit with open neck shirts. It's the land of niche accessories: lapel pins, big international fashion brands and bespoke items.

The colour palette remains dark when it comes to menswear at this location – blue suits or charcoal grey matched with muted shirting and Prince of Wales checks will feature here.