Admit it: sometimes, when the heat of the summer has reached a level that can only be described as “surface of the sun”, you get a little jealous of your girlfriend. In those blood boiling temperatures, she can slip into a sundress and some sandals, look like a million bucks, and call it a day. You, on the other hand, probably can’t stroll into your office in a skirt and peep-toe pumps without causing a scene, so instead you’re stuck sweating it out in a suit. But what about a summer suit?
Thanks to the summer suit, you can enjoy both the weather and your wardrobe without sacrificing your comfort. Take a look below for a basic guide to rocking the summer suit, and looking hot while staying cool.
The Lowdown: The Summer Suit
Meet your two new best friends: cotton and linen. We know you love your heavy wool suits, but you won’t be without them forever. Say a touching farewell and retire them until autumn. In the meantime, embrace lightweight fabrics that will keep you cool despite the rising temp. Cotton is durable and absorbs sweat (helping to control body odour). Linen creases easily, but it’s very light and therefore ideal for a summer suit.
Other things to look for are the weaving and the lining. A loose weave increases breathability and means a much-needed breeze can blow right through the fabric. Skip the lining, or you’ll wind up sweating buckets. Men’s suiting fabrics are so technologically advanced these days that padding and lining are no longer needed to maintain a suit’s shape and fit.
As always where colour is concerned, there are classics and there are unexpected choices. Obviously you should steer clear of black, unless you’re trying to get out of work by collapsing from heat exhaustion. Opt for a light grey suit instead – it’s still smart, but naturally much cooler than black. Khaki will keep you extra cool, and it’s a standard look for summer suiting.
If you’re in the mood for something more unusual, try brown, burgundy or green. They’ll make a surprisingly stylish statement during the season, and you won’t look like every other guy at the office. Or, what the hell, just throw on a daring colour or pattern and kiss caution goodbye. Heat makes people do crazy things.
As with the suit itself, lightweight fabrics are key. Cotton and linen are still your best bets, and the rules about open, breathable weaves still apply. If you’re not at work, or you are but it’s casual Friday, you can swap out the standard collared shirt for a well-fitted polo. You can even use the season to try out an “Oh shit, he really went there” shirt. Colours, patterns, prints… Why not turn some heads while it’s warm out? Just make sure it’s appropriate for the occasion.
Shoes & Accessories
Ties become even tougher once the mercury rises. Thought they were constructing before? Just wait until it’s so hot your eyeballs are melting off your face and down your neck. If you have to keep the tie, matching it to the fabric of your suit is a safe bet. If you don’t have to keep the tie, ditch it in favour of an open collared shirt and a neck that can breathe. Inject some interest into your outfit with a pocket square instead.
And let’s not forget about your feet. Socks can be optional once summer hits, depending on where you’re headed and the company you’ll keep when you get there. Your shoes are an opportunity to add a punch of personality to your look. The warm weather is the moment you’ve been waiting for to try out something a little colourful or otherwise edgy. Whether you go crazy or conservative, you’ll want something lighter-weight, lower-cut and made from more pliable leather or even canvas.
Top it all off with some slick sunglasses, because nothing says summer like a sweet pair of shades.