A country wedding is often more formal than a city or beach affair and dress codes will reflect this. The morning suit is the quintessential formal dress wear and stems from the 19th century when black tie was consigned to evening events. It is often found at formal daytime weddings, equestrian functions, and some traditional events.
A wedding invitation may refer to ‘Morning Dress’ or ‘Formal Day Dress’ and this sets a specific set of rules that must be followed to achieve this look well. Outside of the UK, you may hear this style described as ‘cutaway’. This is the perfect look for a big country house wedding and a great opportunity to go a little more formal with your style.
Traditional Morning Suit with black tail coat, pale yellow waistcoat and white shirt.
1. What is a Morning Suit?
If you don’t know a lot about morning suits then the concept can be a little intimidating but it’s a simple look once you get to grips with the components. A morning suit consists of:
- A black or grey ‘morning coat’ which is single breasted with tails and a peaked lapel.
- Grey, houndstooth, check or grey and black striped trousers
- A waistcoat in grey, light blues and pale yellows. Although sometimes natty printed waist coats are acceptable.
- A white shirt with turned down collar and double cuffs.
- A silk or smart tie
- Smart black shoes either oxfords, brogues or tassel loafers
- A pocket square or handkerchief
- A black or grey top hat (although this is becoming less popular and can sometimes be excluded).
Unless you go to a lot of formal events you probably don’t have a morning suit in your wardrobe and hiring a high-quality morning suit is completely acceptable.
2. Can I Personalise a Morning Suit?
You may think that it’s impossible to personalise such a traditional look but there are small ways that you can make a morning suit your own. The tie allows you to add in personal flavour as do a pocket square and tie or lapel pin. A word of warning, just because you can go a little more personal doesn’t mean you should go big and bold.
Muted and traditional designs work best with this look and polka dot or simple designs make a statement without undermining formality.
Blue & Yellow Polka Dot Silk Pocket Square
White & Navy Polka Dot Silk Pocket Square
White & Navy Linen Pocket Square
Navy & White Linen Pocket Square
3. Morning Suit Accessories
Your morning suit accessories should include a smart silk tie (not a cravat), a pocket square or handkerchief, smart cufflinks and an optional tie or lapel pin. Choose a tie and pocket square in a block colour or very simple design for the best result. Shoes should always be black but never patent and ideally lace-up as they simply look better against the traditional dress.
Socks should be dark coloured, matching the shoes and/or trousers. A belt should be avoided with a morning suit as it breaks up the lines of the look and fights against the pinched in waist of the jacket, therefore braces are worn.
Make sure your morning suit hits all the right notes by keeping things traditional, simple and smart. Check out parts 1 and 3 of our men’s wedding wear guide to ensure you make the perfect style statement at your next event.