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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking for some advice for a May wedding in Italy. The wedding is outdoors at 13:00 with a dinner at 18:00. I'd like to minimize my packing (hoping to do some shopping while there) and am looking for suggestions on what can be worn. I was thinking a light color cotton or linen unlined suit, but want to make sure that it is ok to wear that after dark. Any advice.
 

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I married in Italy in June 2007. The weather in May should be excellent; neither too warm, nor cold. The widespread custom, among Italian men and particularly the groom, best man and close friends and family members, is to wear a dark suit made of wool. The coat may be unlined - as mine was - and it may be made from the lightest 'super 220', but it should be of a dark colour.

The current fashion is for a faintly pinstriped 'nearly' black. It was for many years solid dark grey, always worn with a white shirt and a 'Macclesfield' tie. If you pay a visit to an upscale menswear retailer - for example, Battistoni at Rome - they will have at least two drawers full of "cravatte da matrimonio" (literally, wedding ties).

Linen suits are worn by Italians - if at all; remember that zephyr-weight wool has replaced much linen - only in July and August.

Remember that this is a solemn occasion and that a dark suit will more easily transport you through to the evening.

That said, you should tell us a little more: is it a civil or religious ceremony? Where in Italy? What is your relationship to the happy couple? Is the party composed of Italians or Americans, etc?

Most of all, enjoy it!
 

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Taking the temperature

May temperature averages in Italy range from 70/49 in Milano to 70/60 in the southern city of Palermo. That's a pretty big range for the lows, and none too high for the highs. Naturally, elevation plays a part as well, the higher the cooler. Wool would seem to me more practical than unlined cotton or linen, especially given the local predilection for dark wool at formal occasions. Plus, you'll most likely look better in wool anyway, as cotton or linen get wrinkled-looking pretty easily.
 

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I would suggest to ask the couple what they expect from guests. There can be huge latitude in weddings in Europe, Italy included. Some of them are highly formal with every single gentleman attending in a morning coat, others are sober affairs which call for dark grey (or light grey in Summer) suits, white shirts and dark tie and some others can be something out of an American B-movie with groom in a rather audacious dinner jacket and guests as they prefer.

Also, as already stated, the climate can vary from area to area, there are colder (much colder) places in the North.

Cotton or linen seem both somewhat out of place there (except maybe for July-August).

I can still remeber a friend being harshly reprimanded by his older brother for wearing a light grey suit, pale blue shirt, golden tie and brown shoes. He was asked where he was thinking to go dress in such an unapproriate way. (I could only agree, even though I simply suggested that the chosen look was somewhat audacious).
Luckily for him when we reached the church we found another guest who clearly outdid him as the worst dressed thanks to a red linen suit, with green shirt and white shoes, no tie to be seen. Perhaps he thought it somewhat patriotic to show up in national colours.

Play it safe and ask.
Yours,

Phileas Fogg
 

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I have a fall wedding in Hong Kong, so it might still be sweltering at that time. Here's what I was thinking:

A beige or tan suit, kind of like this one for the daytime event:



Then bring along a blue blazer, and maybe a change of tie. When evening comes, just switch jackets, and you'll look fine. (This is obviously only if you're a guest, of course.)
 

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I would definitely recommend that you go for a lightweight dark wool suit - Italians take weddings / church-occasions seriously and (at least the ones I know, and I married one) would not deem a tan suit appropriate.

Go for the lightest cloth you feel will drape properly - the potential heat should not be underestimated. At my own wedding (late May) the temperature reached 33c. Not very pleasant in a morning suit...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks all, and apologies for the lack of information. The wedding is in Florence and the ceremony will be officiated by a judge. Therefore, there are no religious considerations. The couple isn't too fussy, and the only response I received is that "a suit will be fine." I was leaning towards light, but it sounds like dark is more culturally acceptable (though all the guests as well as the bride and groom are American), so I'll buy a lightweight dark wool. I suppose I'll buy an Italian suit (as the saying goes, when in Rome...). I have some experience with Isaia and Luciano Barbera (though with three season weight). Any other suggestions as to makers for this type of suit? Thanks.
 
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