Can a Male Guest Wear White to a Wedding?

Does this rule apply to the guys, too?

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Photo: Jillian Mitchell Photography

The bride's attire tends to take center stage at a wedding, but there are plenty of well-dressed men taking part in the big day, too. While the groomsmen are often given parameters to dress within, it can be hard for a wedding guest to know what's appropriate to wear. Ladies often bemoan how much easier it is for guys to get ready, but men deal with their fair share of fashion conundrums-like the one we recently posed to a variety of experts: Is it as much of a fashion faux-paus for a man to wear white to a wedding as it is for a woman?

Morgan Baker, a bridal buyer and salon manager for Neiman Marcus, takes a logical approach to the question, considering the reason for the rule in the first place: keeping all eyes on the bride. "If a man showed up to a wedding wearing white, it would garner attention just like it would if a woman was wearing that symbolic color," she says. Put this way, the rule isn't a gendered one so much as it's an all-inclusive etiquette rule.

But as for the laws of fashion, Andrew Blackmon, co-founder and CEO of the Black Tux takes a different perspective. "It's probably okay-especially if, for example, it's a beachy wedding and lots of men will be in light-colored suits, or the dress code is black-tie and you want to wear a white dinner jacket," he says. Still, his is far from a glowing endorsement. "That being said, if people not thinking you are rude depends on them understanding the finer points of wedding etiquette, you're setting yourself up to look bad."

Ultimately, it would seem even the nicest white ensemble worn well isn't worth the risk of upsetting the guests of honor, or their friends and family. If your outfit feels as though it falls in the gray area of the white debate, use a rule of thumb from Lanie List, the founder of Lovely Bride. "If you have to ask yourself if it's appropriate, don't do it."

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