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knockoff

Left, a lightweight DKNY suit. Right, Le Chateau jacket and pants ($185 and $85 through www.lechateau.com)

I have taken almost as many male friends suit shopping as I have sofa shopping. These two items are the most dreaded retail expeditions for most men, and I'm always happy to add my two cents to their Visa bills.

Luckily, I have ended up with a man who lets me mess with his dressing only if he loses a bet, and we can agree on a sofa in one stop, five minutes or less.

The summer-weight DKNY suit on the left, however, is a no-brainer. It can be split into sports jacket and what a stylist I know calls all non-denim trousers: "cool pants."

It is deconstructed, which basically means no lining and a looser feel, perfect if you tend to pudge in the middle bits. And if you are cut and six-packish, a deconstructed fit actually accentuates your gym handiwork better than a nipped number.

The runway original is presented casually, but disregard the styling unless you have a nautical dandy fetish (in which case you don't need advice from the likes of me). No male over 15 should wear a horizontally striped T-shirt. And no man should invoke Don Johnson - go for a button-down shirt, preferably white, but pastels could work if you like that sort of thing.

The best news is that this suit is a perfect candidate for knockoffs. This tonal pinstripe version from Le Chateau is in a lightweight polyester-spandex. It looks tidy but has a forgiving fit, and goes for about $285 for the two pieces.

So don't fear the summer wedding, guys. Add a tailored dress shirt and tie, and be comfortable through interminable speeches rather than stuffed into a stiff old suit.

Go for a cheap one-season wonder and don't worry about dipping your cuff in the punch bowl.