Here comes summer – the perfect time to thank an industry that understands the importance of looking and feeling our best regardless of the heat. I'm talking about summer suits and this year's awesome selection of these lightweight, lifesaving beauties!
Summer suits are nothing new, but this year's fashion offers more styles and colors than ever before. Gone are the days of the Seersucker suit being a guy's only option to staying cool when temperatures rise. Not that anything's wrong with the old standard, but even it has been brought up to speed to reflect today's modern, active lifestyle.
Fabric; it's all about the fabric. Lightweight and breathable are the goal when shopping for a warm weather suit. Suits weighing 7-9 ounces are ideal; however those ranging up to 12 ounces are feasible, as well, and can be worn year round. Old classic fabrics and newer blends offer styles that meet summertime requirements; assuring there's a suit for everyone.
Cotton: This classic material is still a popular suit choice, and can be found in various colors and styles that range from casual to dressy. Seersucker and poplin suits fall into this category, as do all-cotton khakis. 100% cotton suits, as comfortable as they are, do wrinkle, which should be taken into consideration, particularly when buying a dress suit. Those looking to avoid this typical characteristic should consider cotton blends made with Lycra or Spandex, which offer greater wrinkle control and flexibility.
Linen: Another natural fabric, linen is very lightweight and breathable. It does, however, wrinkle and stain easily. Considered a stronger fabric than cotton, it still does not wear as well as other fabrics. Linen is often associated with more casual suits and jackets because of its "tropical" look. Soft and smooth, linen is a great choice that can be dressed up or down depending on how it's accessorized.
Wool: Summer wool suits offer the same sensational qualities heavier wool suits do, minus the weight. Wool suits in the 10-12 ounce range are referred to as "three season" suits, since they're versatile enough to be worn spring through autumn. Depending on location, these wool suits can also be worn year round. For summer use only, look for "tropical" wool, which is extremely light and airy, yet dressy. Fresco is a type of tropical wool whose weave is loose, breathable, and recognized for summer comfort. It is prone to wrinkling, since it's so lightweight.
Wool/Silk Blends: This fabric marries two perfect materials, resulting in both comfort and elegance. Definitely a dressier suit, this blend is perfect for weddings and other special occasions, but is not limited to them. Silk not only adds a shine to the fabric; it enables the suit to drape and hang in a very flattering and sophisticated manner.
Silk: It gets no more elegant, and (based on quality) expensive than silk. Silk suits can be worn year round, due to silk's adaptability to temperature. The strongest of all natural fibers, silk keeps us cool in the summer and warm in the winter. It absorbs moisture and allows skin to breathe so well, it's referred to as a "second skin", which is why it's often used in jacket and trouser linings. Silk's natural sheen adds to its appeal, but limits its use. Not an everyday suit for most men, it is, however, a great suit for those special times: weddings, important office meetings, the theater, etc.
Microfibers: This synthetic fabric, similar to polyester, has some great qualities. It's lightweight, breathes, washes up easily, repels water, resists wrinkles, retains its shape, and is inexpensive. The downside is the price tag matches its quality. These suits are considered low-end; however, that's not to say there's not a time and place for one.
Warm weather is the perfect time to get creative with suits and accessories. The dark, solemn colors of winter can be put to bed, while lighter colors: white, beige, pale gray, cream, light blue, and tan take center stage. Subtle patterns, like the windowpane and Seersucker stripe, are popular choices that look great at the office or dinner party. Brighten things up with shirts and ties that make 'em grab their sunglasses. It's summer and time to play!
And because it's summer, opt for single-breasted suit jackets, which keep us cooler than double-breasted styles; making sure they have a liner, preferably silk, for added comfort.
For the ultimate warm weather indulgence, enhance your wardrobe and image with at least one summer suit. Regardless of the fabric, style, or color, a lightweight suit is worth its weight in gold during the dog days of summer!
by Aaron Marino