You don’t need us to tell you how unpredictable UK summers can be. Plan a wedding in August and, until the morning of the big day, you don’t know if you’re in for torrential rain or an absolute scorcher. It could be wet and miserable, or cloudy and nippy. It could also be hot, properly hot, piña colada around a Mediterranean swimming pool hot. And when things get that hot, just the thought of having to wear a suit is enough to make you sweat. But you needn’t let record-breaking temperatures kibosh your style; when the mercury rises, so too do the opportunities to get creative with your summer suiting choices. You just need to know what to look for.
The first thing you should consider is fabric. Perhaps the most important aspect of tailoring, your fabric choice will dictate how warm or cool you’ll be. For warmer months, you’re better off steering clear of heavier weaves like tweed or cashmere blends. “Our biggest advice for summer tailoring is fabric first – the main thing to look for is breathability and weight. We’d recommend a fabric such as linen, silk or wool mix,” advise the style experts at luxury fashion retailer Fenwick.
“Keep it cool and loose. Only use natural fibres such as wool, cotton, linen and mixtures of noble fibres like silk,” says Rob Charnock, CEO of Savile Row tailor and cloth merchant Dugdale Bros & Co. Plumping for these lighter, more breathable textiles will ensure you’re not left sweating through your suit by the time you reach the office, but if you’re concerned about wrinkling, there are still options to consider, such as wool or linen blends. “Wool in plain weave construction is cool to wear and holds a sharp line for tailoring while shedding unwanted wrinkles,” says Charnock.
The second consideration that must be made for summer suiting is cut. Sure, a sharp three-piece never fails to impress, but as temperatures rise, excess layering will not be your friend. “Choose a suit that is tailored and makes sure you look smart, but allows a little breathing room,” says Fenwick’s styling team. “In terms of shape, we’d suggest opting for single-breasted styles, which tend to be cooler and looser.” Alternatively, lean into relaxed summer vibes and go for something a little more trendy. “A looser-fitting silhouette is finding favour,” says Charnock, who recommends more voluminous pleated trousers and unlined, unstructured jackets when you want to feel as fresh as you look.
The third thing to think about when finding your perfect summer suit is colour. Though largely dependent on occasion, this is where you really get to have some fun. It should go without saying that dark colours – black, navy blue and charcoal grey – are best avoided at this time of year, but if work requires them, the Fenwick team advises reconsidering your fabric choice. For anything else go wild. “For events such as weddings or garden parties, run free with pastels and lighter colours, such as khaki and light grey, which will help reflect light and keep you cool.” Not so sure you can pull off a pastel pink number? “Garments constructed of more reserved blues, greys, tans and olives will work as long as they are melange,” Charnock adds.
With fabric, cut and colour all taken care of, the final thing to think about in terms of summer suiting are your styling choices. For footwear, a pair of sharp Oxfords will work perfectly for more formal occasions, while a pair of fresh white trainers make for a much more casual edge for your ensemble. Your choice of shirt is another excellent way of showcasing personal style and, while we’ll never turn our noses up at a sharp white shirt, summer offers you the opportunity to shake things up and get adventurous with an unexpected, coloured polo, or even a floral patterned number.
So, now you know what you’re looking for, here’s our pick of the best suits to supercharge your look this summer…