Thankfully, the cold doldrums of winter have once again departed. The summer months are now only weeks away. Although this is excellent for those who appreciate warmer weather and the seemingly interminable days of sunshine, the truth of the matter is that fashion is a very real concern. The bulk of online articles tend to focus upon female attire, dresses and temperature-friendly clothing.
Still, it is just as important to realise that men of all shapes and sizes need to be cognisant of how their appearance will impact their presence during the decidedly balmy times of the year. We will now take a look at some of the basic guidelines in regards to formal summer attire as well as why it is so important to make the most appropriate choices for specific occasions.
The Types of Fabrics Ideal for a Summer Suit
Comfort is indeed king when it comes to formal attire during the warmer months of June, July and August. Suits which are heavy, thick or unable to cool the wearer can be downright miserable. If we keep in mind that events such as weddings, baptisms and parties will require the suit to be worn for hours at a time, it is clear to appreciate the need to choose certain fabrics.
Cotton Summer Suit
Cotton is a great material due to its breathability. In other words, it is able to wick sweat away from this body. This will help to keep any man cool and collected e on the hottest of days. As cotton is quite a common fabric, it is usually possible to accommodate even the most demanding of style needs. Also, the loose weaves associated with cotton formal shirts can help to prevent heat-related rashes.
Linen Summer Suit
Linen suits are another popular alternative. Linen has been used for centuries by those looking to keep cool in the deep desert. So, it only makes sense that this very same fabric in now incorporated into the modern suit. The only drawback associated with linen suits is that they are known to crease easily.
Rayon Summer Suit
A final option is a material known as rayon. Interestingly enough, this fabric is made from compressed cellulose along with other synthetic substances. Rayon is quite cheap to manufacture; ideal for those who may already be on a limited budget. Much like cotton, rayon suits are available in countless colours, sizes and styles.
Summer Suit Colours
Colour is an important metric to address for any occasion. Although there are times when black or darker tones are required, one of the aspects which defines summer is the use of lighter tones. Many events such as weddings and baptisms will embrace the appeal of these vibrant shades. Hues such as cream, beige, off-white and light tan are all popular options to consider.
One recent trend worth noting is the increasing prevalence of pastels within the male wardrobe. These tones boast a decidedly airy appeal and are great at accentuating ties, cufflinks and handkerchiefs. Although some will claim that pastels were an offshoot of 1980s styles, the fact of the matter is that richer tones tend to dominate today’s fashion world. A few hues to experiment with can include:
- Dusty blue
We should also keep in mind that lighter tones provide a slimming effect. This is a welcome benefit for those who may be still carrying over a few extra kilogrammes from the holidays.
There is a bit of psychology involved with the choice of lighter colours or pastel tones (although this is rarely mentioned within the typical fashion article). In the past, some of these colours were seen as being slightly “less than masculine”. Times have indeed changed. Men who display such a style are seen as being confident and self-assured. Not only is this great for the occasional business meeting, but such an appeal to the opposite sex cannot be overlooked!
Solid and Masculine
One look at James Bond certainly illustrates that there is something to be said in regards to more traditional tones such as black, grey and navy blue. While perhaps not as suited for a night out on the town with a few mates, dark colours can help to punctuate formal events such as weddings and professional gatherings.
Navy blue is a perfect example of this unique characteristic. This deep and rich variant is an effective “power colour” and it has been used in corporate meetings for decades. It is just as appropriate (if worn with a breathable fabric) for the warmer days of the year. We should still mention that navy blue attracts a good amount of heat. It might be better to switch to a lighter tone if the blazing sun is overhead.
Pinstripes should be mentioned within this section, for they are perhaps one of the only designs that are considered to be appropriate for the modern man. These vertical lines are once again slimming and they reflect a bit more formality when compared to solid colours alone. For work-related events, pinstripes could be an excellent choice to consider.
The Types of Summer Suits
Now that we have taken a basic look at some of the colour options that are available, you are likely curious to know which styles will make a lasting impression. How can you stay cool while looking hot? These suit cuts will help to define your figure and add a bit of “snap” to your masculine attire.
Thanks to the fashion world, the stretch suit is now considered to be quite vogue. You may have already seen celebrities such as Richard Branson or Keanu Reeves donning this style while out and about, and for good reason. Stretch suits are made from a combination of wool and a material known as elastane. They are very breathable while able to provide a sense of form-fitting comfort.
There is also a unique sense of functionality associated with the modern stretch suit. Some men observe that wool can be a rather stiff fabric. This aspect has been offset due to the presence of elastane. These suits can repel water and are resistant to wrinkling. Men will never have to worry about those pesky creases while giving a speech in front of a large audience.
Stretch suits also tend to boast shorter sleeves and trousers. This is a great way to “break up” n intended look. Shorter lengths can also accentuate shoes, watches, cufflinks and ties. If you are in need for a cool and body-complimenting design, the modern stretch suit is certainly worth a closer examination.
Another wool suit variant can be seen in the increasingly popular fresco suit. Fresco is an Italian term which is loosely translated as “fresh”. Fresh is exactly how you will feel if you select this option. The secret the the comfort of these suits is derived from how the wool has been woven. Multiple twisted strands have been combined in an open pattern. This provides an excellent sense of breathability.
Another worthwhile aspect of fresco suits is that they are able to offer a crisp and formal appearance. The relative thickness of the wool is resistant to creasing (as mentioned in regards to the stretched suits above) and it is also very durable. This combination is excellent if you plan on travelling or if you require sharp edges as opposed to the tight-fitting aspects of a stretch suit.
The only recommendation if you decide upon a fresco suit is to make certain that you wear equally airy undergarments. Otherwise, the sweat-evaporating benefits of wool will be rendered useless.
Chambray is also known as “cambric” in some circles. This is actually another form of wool. The main benefit of this fabric is that its weave helps to provide a glossy finish to the suit itself. You may have noticed this when observing chambray suits under strong lighting or during a particularly stunning sunset. This slight shine cannot be achieved by other fabrics.
Once again, chambray is a very comfortable material to wear during the dog days of summer. It is quite airy and breathable; keeping you cool while you shine like a champion. We should finally note that chambray is a fabric quite similar to denim in terms of its strength and durability. This is an important concern if you have been looking for longevity in a suit.
Seersucker is a thin and yet coarse fabric constructed primarily from cotton. This strange name traces its roots to the ancient Persian language. The words “sheer” and “shakar” can be translated as meaning “milk” and “sugar” in English. Seersucker was likely derived due to the appearance “milky” stripes combined with the coarseness of sugar grains.
Seersucker was a very popular option in the southern portion of the United States during the 19th century. Although seemingly out of the fashion spotlight for decades, this style is now making headlines within the world of male style. The fabric is lightweight and due to a rather coarse appearance, wrinkles tend not to be a concern.
These suits can be ideal for a day out on the boat with friends or when you require to look sharp during a semi-formal dinner engagement. However, seersucker is not a material considered appropriate for extremely formal gatherings. It may be better to choose the other options mentioned previously within this section.
The cut of a suit can make all of the difference in the world between making a lasting impression and failing to attract the attention that you desire. It is often the smallest design features that can make a truly massive difference. So, let’s take a look at the top suit cuts that will enjoy popularity during the coming months.
The American Cut
This traditional cut was popularised by university students during the 1920s. Straight lines, a loose fit and superior levels of comfort define this style. While an American cut may not be the best option if you plan on spending hours in the sun enjoying a cold pint or two, it can be well “suited” if you are required to endure hours of work within the office.
The Italian Cut
Made popular by such fashion icons as Giorgio Armani, Italian cuts are notably slimmer than their American counterparts. Tighter lines and a higher lapel cut are two major features which define this option. Understated pockets with no exterior flaps are able to provide a slimming appeal. Finally, Italian suits are known to use lighter fabrics. This is an obvious concern during the warmer months when the sun is high overhead.
The One-Button Cut
One-button cuts harken back to the relaxed confidence associated with James Bond. Less buttons boast a more tapered appeal and are great choices for men with wide shoulders and a relatively small waistline. One-button cuts may not be ideal for important business meetings, but they are perfectly appropriate during cocktail parties or a retirement celebration under the stars.
The British Cut
Many consider British cuts to reflect the highest standard of excellence and professionalism. These suits are therefore excellent options for formal events and situations when a lasting impression can make all of the difference in the world. Many experts feel that the British cut lies somewhere in between the American and Italian variants. It is not as slim as an Italian cut and yet, it offers sharper levels of definition than American variants. Higher arm holes and full trousers further define this option.
The Sleek Cut
Another option for the modern summer suit can be seen in the sleek cut. An excellent way to envision this is through the characters portrayed in the television series “Mad Men”. This design was particularly popular during the 1950s and 1960s. Once again, such a trend is making a comeback. While not as slim as the stretchy suit, its tapered frame and narrow waist can exude confidence and a professional appeal.
The Shorts Suit
Comedians such as Will Ferrell have been known to wear suits with shorts on occasion. Although this was thought to be a funny gag at one time, shorts are now becoming popular. This can be a bit of a tough look to pull off and men who do not flaunt large calf muscles may be better adopting full-length trousers. Still, shorts are a great way to grab attention and some even feel that this one-of-a-kind choice will help to define the best-dressed man at any gathering.
Tying Your Look Together
What good would a summer suit be without the choice of a well-placed tie? Traditionally, the best ties have been constructed from silk. While this is still a great choice, other options include twill fabrics or even wool. As should be expected, slimmer ties are to be worn with suits that reflect a streamlined cut. Thick ties are best combined with American or British cuts.
Colour is also very important. Solid tones hint at strength and a boldness of character. During the summer, pastels should once again be employed in combination with the hue of the suit itself. Patterns have also taken precedence. Regimental patterns and cross-hatched effects can help to pull together the entire wardrobe.
Knots should be relatively loose. Tight knots can hint at a bit of rigidity; the last look that you want to portray when the temperatures outside are rising. Lighter fabrics are also great at preventing you from sweating profusely. Let us never forget that the wearer primarily releases sweat from his head, armpits and neck!
Accessories to Complete the Package
Summer suits can always be complimented by choosing the right types of accessories. Ironically enough, the average man actually knows very little in regards to which accessories should be worn and why each is so very important. The top four additions to any well-chosen suit include:
- Pocket squares
- Tie clips
Let’s now look at each of the options in a bit more detail.
There is perhaps nothing more appealing than man who knows how to wear a watch. When performing simple actions such as shaking hands or (of course) checking the time, a watch can speak volumes in terms of its owner. Gold, silver and platinum are all high-quality options. However, stainless steel is another economical choice for those who are on a limited budget.
Male watches tend to be thicker and bolder than their female counterparts and it is always wise to capitalise on such a feature. Those who are concerned about the radiance of solid gold clashing with the colours of the suit should opt for muted hues such as rose gold or white gold.
These diminutive items can certainly accentuate any suit. Quality cufflinks are handcrafted and this made-to-order benefit can help to display the personality of the wearer. For example, avid gamers can choose a replica controller while those involved with the world of finance could select pound signs. The possibilities are nearly endless and a striking pair of cufflinks is a very powerful investment.
There are some men who choose a different pair of cufflinks for every one of their summer suits. Solid metals can be employed although adding a splash of colour is always a welcome option.
One of the great aspects of a pocket square is that it is most likely the simplest (and least expensive means) to add a bit of a splash to your summer suit. Much in the same way as a tie, there are countless shades, styles, sizes and designs to choose from. The best method for embracing style is to coordinate the predominant hue of the tie with the pocket square.
Another option is to use the same colours displayed by the dress shirt. Whites and off-white flavours are common alternatives here. Regardless of the need of the wearer, the simple pocket square is a must-have accessory for formal summer attire.
Tie clips are the final piece of this fashion-oriented puzzle. Much like cufflinks, these metallic objects tend to draw the attention of others and they can even be used as excellent conversation pieces. Also known as “bars”, these clips help to hold down a tie during windy days. They are therefore just as functional as they are aesthetically pleasing.
It is uncommon for tie clips to be colourised. They are instead provided in solid metals such as gold, silver, platinum or an amalgam of other materials. However, it is normally possible to personalise a clip with a design such as a monogram or a company logo. To avoid detracting from other accessories, it is best to choose a relatively thin clip.
The Bottom Line
Summer is only weeks away and there is no time better than the present to choose a striking and attractive suit. Of course, not everyone can afford a tailor-made wardrobe or a variant offered by a world-famous designer. The main point here is that the worth of the garment is not nearly as important as how it appears to others. These tips are meant to provide the modern man with the insight and clarity needed to make the best choices.
Whether choosing an American cut, a pastel tone or a solid bronze tie, the wearer should ultimately aim to select what materials and designs allow him to feel the most comfortable. Of course, the need for summer wedding suits will naturally differ from the requirements for a garment when heading off to a pub with some close friends. This guide is meant to serve as a template and with a bit of preparation, that perfect ensemble is indeed much closer than you had ever thought possible!