Guest or godparent, if you’ve been invited to a christening or naming ceremony, you’ll need to dress to reflect both the significance of the occasion and the dress code if it has been specified.
A christening is a happy occasion, although some degree of formality is required. It’s also a great opportunity to project some character and flamboyance through your choice of threads and treads. Read on to find out what’s appropriate for men to wear at a christening.
What should men wear to a christening?
A smart men’s suit is a safe option for most christenings. If you’re attending a religious ceremony in a church it’s good etiquette to wear a suit, or at least a pair of trousers and a blazer. It’s not always necessary to wear a tie but you won’t look out of place if you prefer to wear one. We strongly suggest you don’t wear jeans or casual trousers. It’s always best to err on the side of caution by dressing up rather than down.
Wearing a suit for a christening
If you have a classic navy or charcoal suit for all occasions, wear it. If you have a choice of suits, consider the weather and the people who have invited you. Then pick a suit that will complement the climate and best meet the formality of the occasion.
A christening is the ideal opportunity to invest in some new clothes. It’s a great chance to get yourself a smart suit in a less traditional colour. A grey, light blue, or perhaps a checked Prince of Wales suit would all work well – they’re still formal but with a stylish edge that makes them ideal for weddings, christenings and other social functions.
What to wear to a summer christening
If the thought of sweltering in wool makes you hot under the collar, consider a lightweight linen suit. A quality item worn well will look great, but because linens have a tendency to wrinkle with use, it’s important to consider what the christening day celebrations are likely to entail.
Will you make an appearance on a christening party dance floor, or will you be out in the garden under the intense glare of the full sun? A good option for summer events is a linen jacket paired with chinos in a complementary colour – that way your trousers will stay sharp and pressed all day long.
When the dress code is smart casual, you can afford to push the boundaries a little further. At the more formal end of the spectrum, a traditional navy blazer worn with contrasting trousers is always a winner. Alternatively opt for a summer tweed or moleskin jacket and for less formal occasions, corduroy is a great choice.
What to wear to a winter christening
All-wool suits are unbeatable for winter weather. Choose one that’s manufactured using the traditional half-canvas construction. This stiff interlining material ensures the jacket front and lapels retain their shape and look good year after year.
Winter colours tend to be darker: charcoal and navy are always a safe bet. But consider lighter blues or perhaps a natty pinstripe. Less formal dress codes could see you ditch the suit in favour of a jacket and tie. For the colder months, tweed is a great choice because it’s warm, traditional and looks fantastic.
Coordinating separates – trousers
Pay attention to your trousers – it might sound obvious, but it’s surprising how many people neglect the details. Don’t be the man who turns up sporting a dapper jacket paired with trousers so old and shiny that even Compo from the Last of the Summer Wine would shun them.
For jacket-trouser combos, choose from chinos, moleskins or even cords. Consider injecting a bit of zest into your look by opting for coloured trousers which will contrast nicely with a more neutral jacket and shirt. Burgundy and red go well with light beige or cream, blues look great set against light greys, while greens match well with some tweeds.
Coordinating separates – shirts
A crisp white shirt is perfect for all occasions. But if you’d like to try something with a little more character, pastel shades will work well with your suit, as will stripes and checks. As a rule of thumb, the plainer your suit or jacket, the further you can afford to push the boat out in the shirt department.
Do make sure you go for a cut that complements your body shape. Slim people look best in fitted shirts, larger men should go for a classic cut. And do make sure that before you order, you check out our essential suit guide to ensure the perfect fit.
Shoes and boots
Oxfords or Derbys are the standard match for suits, but within these confines there are actually quite a few options to choose from. You might, for example, decide to make a statement by wearing a pair of tan or brown brogues with a dark blue suit. Want to be bolder with your footwear? Burgundy leather works well with a blue or grey suit. And suede is an excellent match for a summer suit.
Is the dress code smart casual? If so, there’s considerable scope to express your individuality. How about a smart pair of Chelsea boots or monks to go with your jacket-trouser combo? Loafers look great with chinos, and boat shoes are just the ticket if you’re considering wearing linen.
A silk tie, pocket square and a pair of subtle cufflinks are about all you need to put the finishing touches to a formal christening outfit. If you’re wearing a plain suit, a tie or pocket square is the perfect way to add a pop of colour and personality to your outfit. Remember, a christening or naming ceremony is a celebration. Carefully chosen accessories will help you to stand out from the crowd.
A men’s quick guide to dressing for christenings