For those who are occupationally required to be well dressed or those who just like to, the summer can be an especially daunting time. The scorching temperatures and humidity are just a couple of the things that make dressing well during the summer less enjoyable. We probably all have memories of being suited up for work or a meeting, and under neither your jacket, are sweating profusely. With KAHP being located in North Texas we are all extremely familiar with the hot weather and how to adapt to it. These tips will hopefully make your summer wardrobe feel much cooler, both literally and figuratively.
The biggest thing to remember with dressing during the summer is airflow. Selecting fabrics that have an open weave is essential to staying cool. Many fabrics may seem light but would be less than ideal for hotter climates. Many suiting and trouser fabrics are woven in a tight/fine weave that can feel very silky and lightweight. Do not be fooled, while it may be lightweight, it will wear warm. When a fabric has a tight weave, air cannot pass through the fabric as easily. When selecting fabrics for summer, hold up the fabric to light to see how much light is passing through, how much can you see through the fabric? Not long ago, I bought a pinstripe suit in lightweight wool and was planning to wear it all year long. I was having to be especially active at work and was burning up by the end of the day. While many may see wool as a no-go summer fabric, not all wools are created equal and some are excellent for the for sizzling months. Enter fresco, high twist, and tropical weight wools. These fabrics have an especially open weave/breathable that is also incredibly wrinkle resistant. I bought a 100% Wool Fresco jacket made with Loro Piana fabric, it shipped from Norway and ended up taking three weeks to arrive. Upon arrival in a very sketchy looking parcel, the jacket shook out and had no wrinkles whatsoever. For gentlemen who need to wear a jacket to work, this is what you should be looking for your primary fabric for your summer suit, jacket, and trousers.
Another great option for a summer fabric is a Wool blend (e.g. Blended with Silk, Linen, Cotton, etc.). These blend in different volumes makes incredible sport coats! The wool provides the needed structure and wrinkle resistance that would otherwise be lacking from something like a 100% Linen coat. The silk can add a subtle touch of sheen, and the linen and cotton can kick in a great slub and lightness. Creating some of the best all-around summer sportscoat fabrics. Selecting a Wool blended with a few of these other fabrics in a lighter color and a classic pattern will seamlessly work into any professional man’s wardrobe.
But what about something a little more, imaginative? This area may be one of the most fun categories of dressing, it is where you can dress up, but don’t necessarily need to. A great option for the summer is a casual lightweight sport coat with little to no structure with either a lightweight chino or a light color jean. This kind of combinations is an excellent way to experiment with color, texture, and patterns to create something unique but still classic. One great example of this is the summer classic, the madras jacket.
This one from made from 100% linen with no canvas or padding is a great way to pull a very casual outfit together.
Like southern gentlemen of times past, a great cotton suit is a great way to push through the heat. A great tan poplin suit is a classic and enjoyable option for the summer that can be dressed up or down. Pairing with a sky-blue end on end shirt and tie for when you need to be comfortable but formal. The tan poplin suit looks equally great dressed down, with an open collar linen shirt and loafers that is a great look for the weekend.
Another variant of this that you can wear in a very similar way is a cream cotton or linen suit. Definitely more daring in regard to color, especially if you are afraid of stains.
With almost everything, the little details are going to be what sets you apart from the pack, especially for the summer. Having a jacket with less structure and lighter canvas (or no canvas) will ensure better ventilation for very unpleasant heat. While I know many who are averse to it, a partial jacket lining will help keep you cooler. A half or French lined jacket is a detail that is not only aesthetically pleasing but profoundly functional.
There are many options for dressing for summer but evaluating your needs and wants out of your clothes is important. What may be the right option for me may be entirely wrong for someone else. If you are unsure of what will work best for you, I recommend going to a great local retailer that stocks the items that you think may be a good option for you. Go and try on a couple of different styles and fits to get a feel for what you like. Another option would be commissioning a custom piece, this way you can ensure that the fit will be to your liking and that the fabric will be exactly what you need. While we will always do our best to give you excellent, expert advice, trial, and error are the best style teacher.
If you have any questions about what we covered in this article or have any questions about menswear, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org