No matter how hot it gets, a good portion of the year’s premier social events will be held in the summer. During these long and sweltering months, there’s no shortage of occasions for which you’ll be expected to wear a suit—even if you’d rather wear swim trunks. Whether you’re attending a garden wedding in Fort Worth, a film premiere in Austin, or a charity event in Houston, be prepared with a suit that’ll keep you as cool as possible while still providing the refined look the situation requires.
When choosing the best lightweight suits for every hot weather event on your social calendar, consider these three elements: light and breathable fabrics, seasonally-appropriate colors that reflect sunlight, and bespoke designs that elevate the standard suit construction into a breezier and more comfortable fit.
Knowing Your Lightweight Fabrics
When dressing for the warmer months, your primary consideration should be fabric. No matter how comfortable and flattering your favorite wool blazer might be, you wouldn’t want to wear it on a cruise to the Caribbean. Polyester blends that feel light to the touch also creep onto racks this time of year, leading some buyers to believe they might perfect for summer. While polyester-based fabrics may be well suited for activewear, polyester suits tend to be less breathable and durable than those made from natural materials; natural fabrics are actually more breathable than artificial ones. To keep cool, reach for lightweight, natural fabrics like linen, seersucker, and cotton.
Whether you’re dressed from head-to-toe in linen or prefer a more casual cotton jersey, pay careful attention to fabric labels to make sure you’re getting the best quality and maximum benefit from whichever fabric you choose. When shopping for hot weather suiting fabrics, consider the following:
- Fabric weight is measured in grams per square meter (g/m). Choose a fabric with a weight at or below 250g/m in a natural fiber like cotton or linen.
- Look for 100% linen or cotton, or as close as you can find.
- Descriptive phrases like “moisture-wicking,” “cooling,” “lightweight,” and “summer weight” are good indicators of breathable, summer-appropriate fabrics.
Temperatures Rise, Colors Relax
If you walk down South Congress in Austin this time of year, you won’t see a single guy in dark jeans and a black v-neck. Dark colors absorb sunlight, which is a major reason why pale shades are so popular during the spring and summer months. Our Stylists usually suggest clients looking to upgrade their summer wardrobes choose suiting fabrics in light colors. Cream is a top choice for light-colored suit jackets and trousers, but you could also get away with mixing a mushroom-colored jacket with lighter trousers, or vice versa. A light blue suit in 100% linen would offer plenty of breathability with a bit more color.
If you’re concerned that desaturated colors lack excitement, your choice of shirt can add a pop of visual interest to your hot weather wardrobe. Break up neutral suiting with a lightweight button-down shirt in orange, lilac, or pink linen. You may also wish to play around with understated patterns during the warmer months. For a modern look, consider a red-and-white striped shirt in Giza cotton, or a Sea Island cotton shirt in a pale blue check pattern.
Your Hot Weather Priorities: Cut and Fit
In the summer months, custom designers rethink the classic construction of the three major suit pieces—jacket, shirt, and trousers—to make each element more comfortable in high temperatures. If you’re the groom at a beach wedding in the Bahamas, for instance, you may not want a close-fitted suit with a tight-collared shirt. Instead, all three items would be fitted looser and with plenty of room for movement. Keep in mind, however, that a more breathable garment should still always fit well.
As an alternative to a full suit, in which your trousers would be cut from the same linen or cotton fabric as your jacket, you might want to consider a suit made from three separate fabric pieces, cut to allow for breathability and comfort in hot weather:
The warm weather trouser
Choose 100% cotton seersucker trousers in white or opt for a classic cotton chino trouser in a lighter shade of navy, tan, or grey. Chinos fit looser than traditional flat front trousers, which means they’ll be significantly more comfortable under the sun. Choose a pair without cuffs for a lighter feel.
The summer shirt
When you’re trying to stay cool, you may not want a slim-fitting shirt with full cuffs and a sharp collar. Instead, go for a garment with a looser cut, a rounded hem that may be worn loose or tucked, cuffs that can be easily rolled up to the elbows, and a simple collar that doesn’t require buttoning. You could even choose a short-sleeved linen shirt for additional breathability.
The suit jacket
The best part about outdoor summer weddings in Texas is that no one will expect you to arrive in a full suit with jacket and tie. However, if you’re determined—or required—to don a jacket or blazer, look for a deconstructed one with an unlined interior and minimal or no shoulder padding. Traditional Neapolitan tailoring leaves you looking elegant in a jacket that feels more like a second shirt.
Finding the Best Lightweight Suits for Summer
Whether you wear a blue seersucker suit with a white linen shirt, a cotton blazer and chinos, or a deconstructed linen jacket, you’ll be far more comfortable and prepared for hot weather when you take fabric, color, and cut into consideration. The only difficulty now lies in finding these items in the cut and color that suit you best—and that’s why we recommend indulging in modern bespoke tailoring. With the aid of knowledgeable and professional stylists, you’ll be able to choose your own fabric, color, cut, and fit, and end up with a lightweight suit that can carry you through the hottest summertime events.
With showrooms located in cities throughout the United States, including Houston, Dallas, and Austin, the Knot Standard team is equipped to help residents of the Lone Star state and beyond remain elegant and stylish even on the hottest days. Schedule an appointment with one of our dedicated stylists today. Together, we’ll help you craft a wardrobe suitable for every event on your summer agenda.