I often have conversations with clients on what is the right style for someone looking for a mens summer outfit. Not only the suit itself is a difficult one but what to wear it with when thinking accessories, shoes and shirts.
There are several things to consider in menswear, not rules as such (given freedom of expression is important) but more so guide points to bear in mind whilst selecting your summer look.
Therefore, I hereby present: the definitive guide to creating the perfect Summer Look and what to consider when choosing.
Texture and Cloth
The most important thing here is the weight and breathability of the fabric. We naturally gravitate towards linens and cottons for summer wear but I am I great advocate for a twisted wool. This cloth allows air to pass through freely ensuring the wearer doesn't get too warm. A twisted wool is typically ideal for travel due to its resilience, durability and crease resistance. It also creates a very sharp silhouette due to its structured make.
Linen by nature provides a look often associated with warmer climates, the downside to this for most Brits is the creasing element. We are a nation of people who tend to opt for a less creasy or dishevelled look. Fabric Mills Loro Piana, Cerutti and other Italian based weavers have created cloths that consist of compositions that incorperate linen, wool and silk so the look of linen can be achieved with the functionality of a wool.
Above all it, is important to get the weight right as It is this that will make or break the summer suit. Only then can complementary design features to complete the piece be most authentic. I will often opt for a half or completely unlined jacket in a softer construction. The noticeable features of a softer constructed jacket are an unstructured shoulder, lighter weight canvas and in some instances no canvas at all so to provide a more light and casual feel.
When the sun is out people’s self-imposed restrictions in colour choice ease off as we move away from the darker tones often associated with winter and move to the lighter and brighter colours. Stone, light grey, cream and beige are all very stylish and versatile tones that allow for the introduction of pastel colours to complement. However, the like of a navy linen or even black could be considered widely acceptable depending on the occasion.
I would generally recommend covering the basics initially allowing a further freedom of expression in the second third or fourth summer outfit. Select colour that works to your tastes, be brave but not too bold in brightness. Consider stone as a great starting point and build from there.
As with all suits a white shirt is perfectly acceptable but an easy option. I often refer to well put together outfits as intelligent tailoring because real thought and consideration has been put into creating this look.
Generally speaking; if the suit is light then so should the shirt be. There are some exceptions to this however, notably the denim shirt has made frequent appearances over the past few years as a tailored staple. With its ability to span a vast spectrum of blue hues and the individual character created through wear makes for an interesting alternative all be it significantly more casual then the classic shirt options.
For those with whom this may be a step too far but still seeking individual flair a change in colour and cuff style through made to measure offering will elevate your look.
Ties and handkerchiefs are a great way to bring in some personal style. Although for some the thought of wearing a tie through the summer is their idea of a nightmare, if the occasion calls for it then a knitted tie or perhaps a linen and silk option would be the perfect go to.
A pale suit will work well with an open collar shirt and a tastefully selected pocket square bringing together the outfit with some added colour. the beauty of the addition of a hanky is the way it can be worn; often the less perfectly folded the better but indeed practise is still required.
For me there is no other option than a loafer. A personal favourite being a suede penny loafer in most shades of brown. Avoid going to dark. Of late I find myself opting for textured or grained leathers. Exotic skins such as Ostrich make for a standout piece.
I would Always avoid oxford's, more formal broguing, derby's or anything black as it is just too formal.
Socks are a contentious subject for some, I myself enjoy going sockless but certainly wouldn't push it upon individuals that just don't feel comfortable without. In this instance select a sock that tones with your trousers or another part of your outfit such as the shirt or tie.
I would love to hear your thoughts on what makes the perfect summer suit. Get in touch to tell us more. As always, we are here for any tailoring requirements and at present have a fantastic spring summer collection as part of our made to measure programme!