One might argue that the primary purpose of a suit is to amplify the personality of the wearer.
If you are bold, you will feel more comfortable in a bold suit. If you are conservative, and quite, you will perhaps prefer a suit that lets you make an impression without making too much noise. If you are jubilant, your suit should be having just as much fun as you are. If you are serious, the suit should be deadlier so.
But no individual is so simple as to have one mood, and one mood alone. Perhaps you’ll be feeling only slightly mirthful today. Perhaps a patterned blazer over something muted, and still. A diverse and mature wardrobe is there to help you feel the way you feel.
This is doubly true for seasonal styles.
Not only do you need to account for heat when the months are hot, but your mood will alter too. Admit it. It always does.
And the mad devilry of a well-chosen suit is that it can help you keep your cool while amplifying that waking-world joie de vivre. All at the same time.
This is no accident. The key is certainly in the phrase “well-chosen.”
The art of designing and crafting a perfect suit is thoroughly complicated. But for simplicity’s sake, it starts with the fabric. And some fabrics are better suited than others for the warm days ahead.
Here are just a few of our favorites.
Cotton is both ubiquitous and multi-talented, used in close to 75% of clothing worldwide, and woven into a huge variety of styles and patterns.
Tightly woven, thick cotton fabric is often used in winter wear … but cotton is typically considered a spring and summer suiting fabric for its breathability and handling of moisture. While seersucker is a popular cotton variant (more on that later) the traditional “cotton suit” is likely either gaberdine or poplin–smooth, durable, and slightly prone to wrinkling.
As these yield a muted, traditional look without bottling-in the heat like some traditional wools do, no wardrobe should be considered complete until a few smart cotton suits hang within it.
Linen is the oldest textile in the world, predating the ancient Egyptians and remaining a versatile mainstay for 36,000 years.
Made from flax fibers in a porous weave and gloriously rumpled, linen is perhaps the ideal warm-weather suiting fabric. It’s synonymous with Gatsby, well-regarded, and vanquishes moisture.
While linen is often found in off-white or light pastel hues, there’s something to be said for a daring, vibrantly colored jacket or trousers … and linen holds the dye exceptionally well.
But it’s the character of the cloth that matters most. The wrinkles are not problematic…they’re the whole point of the affair.
Summer, after all, is nothing if not carefree.
The puckered lines of seersucker fabrics are, in part, a result of complex slack-tension weaving. As such, it’s much more difficult and costly to produce than standard cotton suiting fabrics.
But the extra nuance has purpose and function. Those puckers keep roughly half of the already-breezy cotton away from one’s skin, allowing for even better airflow.
This deft cooling prowess has made seersucker a wardrobe staple in warmer climes, and a steadfast icon of slow southern style.
While it most commonly sports those iconic white and blue lines (the word “seersucker” comes from the Persian word for “milk and sugar”), modern seersucker is available in a wider swath of colors and patterns.
Seersucker travels well, doesn’t need to be ironed, and makes one hell of a statement. That’s all one could want from a fine summer suit.
It would be unfair to leave wool out of the discussion, when it comes to summer suiting. While wool for the most part has a reputation for coziness, the proper weave and weight can do wonders for breathability.
And if that’s still too cold-weather for you, at least consider the wool/silk/linen blend.
Taking the best features from each raw material, many a brilliant fabric mill has perfected the art of blended fabrics.
While much of the credit for a suit’s seasonal aptitude will come from the outer fabric itself, the construction and lining is just as important.
Of course, one could opt for a completely unlined jacket … and there’s nothing terribly wrong with that.
But to give the kind of structure that makes a suit a suit, more is required than linen and thread.
Fortunately there are lining materials that help maintain a high level of breathability. To be precise: cupra.
Also known as artificial silk, cupra has the sheen, texture, weight, and handle of true silk … but as a by-product of cotton, it breathes much more like the latter.
The keyword here is: natural.
Stretch fabrics abound, and many if not most of them are unfriendly synthetics. To make a two-way stretch fabric from 100% worsted wool is not easy, but there are weaving techniques that certainly make it possible. And some of the world’s best mills (such as Dormeuil with their Exel collection) have pursued those techniques with their teeth bared and their ears flat.
Why is this a summer fabric?
It’s a matter of both comfort, and wear. These fabrics breathe, but they also let you stay active, without constricting. And since there are no synthetics involved, there’s no breaking-down and degredation in that summer heat.
So you can breathe too.
While the above options certainly comprise the lion’s share of spring and summer suiting options, a full and comprehensive list would be positively expansive. A skilled personal clothier can help narrow the field a bit, and recommend exactly the right fabrics for your needs, mood, and, of course, personality. As always, we invite you in to the shop to learn more.
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