The Five Rules Of Buying A Summer Suit

Whether you are attending a summer wedding or are looking to invest in a timeless summer suit for work or the office. Discover the five rules to follow when purchasing a men’s summer suit.

There are many factors to keep in mind when buying a men’s designer suit for summer – in the warmer weather, you’ll want to ensure you’re careful with your fabric, lining, and fit choice to avoid overheating, but on a more personal level, summer affords a little more freedom. Follow these simple rules – including the best summer suit colours and summer suit fabrics – and you’ll find the perfect men’s summer suit in no time.

1. What Fabric Summer Suit?

What fabric to choose for a summer suit is perhaps the most important and nuanced question to consider when you’re looking to invest in lightweight suits and tailoring for the warmer months. More lightweight summer suit fabrics and natural fibres should, of course, be your go to and can add interesting texture. Though it’s important to keep in mind that it creases easily, linen is a wonderfully versatile fabric for suits – especially wedding suits – and men’s linen suits have long been considered a timeless option. 

Seersucker is another good choice for summer suits. Typically made from cotton – a naturally airy material – it is woven to create a wrinkled or puckered effect which increases air circulation. Seersucker or otherwise, men’s cotton suits should also not be overlooked. Hopsack – which is technically a type of looser basketweave rather than a fabric per se – has similar properties and is most commonly used for classic blazers. Though it may seem counterintuitive, don’t discount wool when you’re choosing your summer suit. Many renowned fabric mills now produce ‘summer weight’ or ‘tropical weight’ worsted wools specifically designed for men’s suits during the warmer months that are more breathable and lighter weight than usual. 

2. What Colour Summer Suit? 

Summer is already a time when we start to incorporate more colour into our wardrobes – and suits are, of course, no exception to that unwritten rule. Colourful suits come into their own in the warmer months. Paler and pastel toned summer suit colours – think along the lines of lavender, pistachio, and powder pink – in particular really come into their own during the summer months and are especially appropriate as the weather gets warmer. They’re an excellent summer suit choice for weddings, garden parties and special occasions. If you’re one to make a statement with your men’s designer suits, you could also go even bolder and brighter and consider tones like coral, orange, cobalt blue, teal or green. 

Neutrals, tans, light browns, and off-white are another way to go, given that they’re awfully reminiscent of the types of suits well-dressed gentlemen used to wear on their travels to tropical climes back in the day. The classic white linen tuxedo is a design that immediately springs to mind in this case. However, if anything that diverges from a classic business palette won’t fly in your office, then consider paler blues and greys when the sun starts to shine. It’ll have the same impact as more colourful suits without sacrificing smartness. 

3. What Lining Summer Suit?

Suit linings are perhaps one of the most overlooked elements when it comes to buying a summer suit, but the type of lining you opt for can make all the difference in the heat. While a full lining is certainly not out of the question, a half lining can be a more practical option that will provide a good amount of structure and limit creasing without causing you to overheat. Similar to a half lining, another good choice is what has come to be known as a butterfly lining (sometimes called a quarter lining), where two rounded pieces of lining are inserted into the jacket through the shoulders and through the top of the back but not the sides to smooth out the shoulders and encourage a smooth drape without adding bulk.

Then there’s the most lightweight option of all: unlined suits. Deceptively, an unlined suit is not entirely unlined, since it will in almost all cases still be lined through the sleeves, but otherwise. Keep in mind though – especially if you’re looking for a men’s summer suit on the smarter side – that an unlined men’s suit jacket or blazer will have considerably less structure than its lined cousins.

4. What Cut & Fit Summer Suit?

If you have a tried-and-true cut that you always go for when buying men’s tailoring – whether it’s slim, skinny, or otherwise – then by all means, you should pick whichever fit for your summer suit that you feel most comfortable in. As long as you’ve considered fabric and lining, you won’t find yourself overheating in a slim-fit summer suit. 

But there is something to be said for more relaxed fits when the sun starts to shine. And not just because an unstructured cut can look elegantly nonchalant. More laidback suit fits, with a looser jacket (either single breasted or double breasted) and wider or pleated trousers, are inherently more comfortable and breathable in the heat. Naturally though, they tend to look a little less formal and your choice of cut will ultimately come down to the occasion – for example, whether you’re heading to work, a wedding or a weekend dinner. Which brings us to… 

5. When To Wear A Summer Suit?

From the office to weddings, there’s few places summer suits won’t come in handy as the weather warms up – but the answer to this question will also depend on a few other factors. If you spend a lot of time in warmer climates, whether at home or on holiday, and you regularly wear men’s suits,  you’ll probably find yourself reaching for one regularly and you might want to consider investing in a wardrobe’s worth of summer suits. If, on the other hand, you only wear a summer suit on special occasions like weddings or garden parties, you can likely get away with one or two well-tailored options. 

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Published: 06.23

Words: Molly Isabella Smith