Suit up for the summer with the right fabrics and colors

Rising heat and humidity are undeniable signs that summer has arrived. This is the time of year when young, suit-wearing lads find out why summer suits are really a necessary closet staple.

In the world of men’s clothing, there are “year-round fabrics” for suits. However, these aren’t as nice in the summer as suits optimized for warmer weather.

Different suits are designed for particular seasons, similar to heavy parkas and ski pants for winter versus looser, lighter fabric and bathing suits for the warmer months.

Therefore, as summer draws nearer, consider cleaning and putting away heavier and darker fabric options and welcome in some clothing options for suits that will keep you looking and feeling cool.

Fabrics for the season

When it comes to comfort in any weather, fabric plays the most integral role. Summer suit wearers should seek lightweight materials that allow maximum breathability, create pockets of cool air and reflect the sun’s heat instead of absorbing it. To achieve maximum comfort, look for suits constructed from lightweight wool, linen or cotton and preferably in lighter colors.

Wool is a highly breathable fabric that holds its shape and resists wrinkling. Because the majority of cooler-weather suits are made from wool, some people mistakenly believe it to be an inappropriate choice for summer. In actuality, the variety of wool found in summer suits is a lighter tropical-weight wool designed for warm weather. Wool is always worn in the desert when the fabric must keep the wearer cooler in the heat and warmer in the cold of night.

With a light yet sturdy nature, straight or blended linen is an elegant option that preserves the formality of a suit along with a natural cooling ability. Cotton, such as poplin or seersucker, is also a popular choice. However, wearers of both cotton and linen complain of greater suit wrinkling. To minimize the issue, we often suggest fabric blends (cotton-silk, for example) that deliver the desired formal, chic look while minimizing tendency to wrinkle.

To maximize the breathability of a summer suit, men must also give credence to lining, canvassing (the interior layer between a jacket’s main body and the lining) and padding. Summer suits shouldn’t have any padding or heavy linings, as both will impede the suit’s ability to breathe. However, there are half-canvas and half-lining techniques that ensure breathability, structure, proper drape and longevity. Ask your custom tailor about these differences in construction to achieve a lighter softer feel that will breathe and actually keep you cooler while wearing a coat.

Leverage color

The warmth and longer days of summer bring with them the enviable opportunity to embrace color not only in shirts, ties and shoes, but also in suit fabric. The most popular colors that reflect light and minimize heat include sand, stone, light gray and pale blue.

Subtle pinstripes, barely-there plaids, and even brighter hues (blue, for example) can add a unique and playful dimension to any man’s suit collection. Lighter-hued jackets are also incredibly versatile and offer a useful style option for men interested in mixing suit jackets with jeans to effortlessly move from professional day wear to casual evening attire.

Finally, for men who simply aren’t prepared to completely embrace buying separate suits for summer, there is one more option. Rather than wearing a jacket at all, leverage the vest — along with a shirt and tie — to cultivate a cooler formal, dressy look. Any three-piece suit you own can be worn without the coat all summer long.

Summertime invites a degree of playfulness in all we do, and that includes what we wear. As men must dress professionally when doing business, summer suits are a necessary but multifunctional wardrobe element that do double duty for men wanting a stylish-but-casual solution.

For more tips on how to style your summer wardrobe, visit JT Vinson Clothiers’ website.

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