If you have a job that requires some professional polish (or a significant other whose nearest and dearest are tying the knot), chances are, you’re going to need to wear a nice suit this summer. Kitting up for the warm weather means lighter fabrics, a looser approach to styling and, if you play your cards right, a chance to look like you’re always coming from (or going to) some place that’s way cooler.
The most important thing to keep in mind, fit wise, is that everything you wear in the summer should be cut a little more generously than your fall/winter pieces. Like always, super-tight anything is a no no. Remember, just because the heat feels tropical doesn’t mean that anyone wants to see your coconuts.
With an eye towards easy breathing fabrics and styling techniques every dude can finesse, here are our pointers for nailing warm weather suiting like a pro. Hot stuff, indeed.
SUCK IT UP
Nothing says summer cool like a rakish seersucker suit. Not only does seersucker look best when it’s a bit crumpled and lived in (which makes it perfect for packing), the puckered, textured style of the fabric allows it to sit just above the skin, acting like a built-in circulation system. If you have any summer weddings on the calendar, we recommend this fetching version from J.Crew. The dark colors make it formal enough for a fancy event, but the inherently leisurely nature of seersucker means you can also rock it with a t-shirt and sneakers after the event is over and be the king of the city.
LOOK FOR A PATTERN, THEN ADD ANOTHER
One thing all suiting swaglords share is an ability to mix and match patterns with style and ease. The good news is, so long as you choose contrasting patterns, like a checked shirt with a striped tie, or a textured chambray shirt with a polka-dot tie, you can easily nail this sartorial magic trick. As a bonus tip, have fun playing with pattern sizes, as well as shapes. For example, a microcheck gingham (not gangnam)-style shirt looks awesome with a preppy horizontally striped knit tie.
GET IN THE TONAL ZONE
Too lazy to experiment with different patterns? We’ve got you covered. When in doubt, you can always go tonal. Wearing different shades of the same color (blue is best) adds lots of subtle background flavor to a dressy look without rocking the boat too hard. As a very simple rule of thumb, your suit jacket and your tie, or your shirt and your tie, should have the highest amount of contrast. One should be light and one should a bit darker. So, if you were to rock a solid navy blue suit, you could pair that with a slightly textured light blue shirt and a bold patterned blue tie. Chances are, you probably already own a lot of these items already so think of going tonal as a great opportunity to go shopping in your own closet.
GO (LIGHT) GREY
Suiting is all about subtlety, but that doesn’t mean it has to be snoozy. Even within styles that could read a little conservative in the summer, like a classic grey suit, there are always ways to inject some flavor into your look. By playing around with texture and color, your grey suit can go from basic to balling and still be totally comfortable and work-appropriate. Need proof? Check out this awesome handmade number from Brooklyn Tailors in dove (aka light) grey. Not only does the weave of the fabric create a more open, groovy look, the color is perfect for any and all occasions where you need your clothing to convey as much swagger as your big pitch.
GET LOUD, IN A QUIET WAY
I wouldn’t be doing my job if I wasn’t encouraging you dudes to expand your sartorial horizons. So, I’m going to encourage you to rock a fully patterned suit. Yes, they can be a lot of look, but that’s kinda the point. One trick to mellowing out the peacock vibes is to go with something that can be admired from across the table (greys, blues), but not seen from across the street (any other colors). For a great example of how to pull off this winning look without breaking the bank, peep this grey on grey floral-inspired number from Topman. A snazzy Miami Vice-inspired suit like this just begs to be worn on a boat, so hit that open water and get wavy, young man!