A languid and warm night, a cut glass tumbler of aged whiskey, neat and a date with a beautiful lady set the tone for a relaxed and refined summer. Dressing the part requires subtle sophistication and intimate knowledge of the unique summer textures and fabrics.
Summer suits come in a variety of cuts, fabrics and patterns. Keep it simple, elegant and cultured with vogue slimmer cuts and straighter lines. Choose half-lined or unstructured jackets and follow these guidelines.
Lighter colors are a must. There is a reason why white is the king of summer fashion, but don’t be scared to try out shades of blue, yellow, pink, turquoise, beige or ivory.
Breathability requires finer threads and looser weaves from among natural fibers. Wool will be more airy than cotton, for instance, but you will still want to choose a very light ‘tropical’ wool fabric.
Lightweight, breathable fabrics
Linen (especially when blended with silk or cotton) is great for summer suits. The range of lighter colors like off white, ivory or powder blue also makes it a popular summer fabric. Choose blended linen with cotton or silk for fewer wrinkles and wear it with a “devil may care” attitude.
Several fabric mills, especially high quality ones like Holland & Sherry, Kerry Knoll, Dormeuil and Zenga offer tropical weight wools or woolen blends with silk or linen fabrics in a dazzling array of colors, textures and patterns. Fresco wools with a high twist and plain weave are also great for summer suits and travel well. Step out of your comfort zone and experiment with a sophisticated and refined summer look that you can wear to the office or a night on the town.
Cotton, cotton, cotton
Cotton is the king of summer fabrics and comes in a wide variety of weights, blends, weaves and textures. Basket weave – where two warp threads are interlaced with two or more weft threads to create a crisscross pattern for an open, breathable fabric.
Poplin is a plain smooth weave where the threads are crossed over and under each other. Though a tighter weave than seersucker, for instance, poplin is the quintessential men’s dress shirt fabric due to its ability to maintain a fresh, crisp look throughout the day. Lightweight and easy to wear, it is great for summer shirts.
Seersucker [http://blog.knotstandard.com/history-of-the-seersucker/] – A slack tension weave, is a widely popular summer fabric choice. The term seersucker originated in India, a Hindi derivation of the Persian compound ‘shirosakar’, literally ‘shir’ (milk) and ‘sakar’ (sugar), a likely reference to the dual texture of the fabric. The English then exported it to the West during the imperial era of the British East India Company along with cotton, tea, dye and other basic commodities. Seersucker fabric breathes naturally due to the unique puckering or crinkling of the fabric that holds it away from the body. The differing tensions of the warp threads remain after the weft is woven through, helping create the puckered signature seersucker look. The seersucker men’s suit is traditionally blue and white. The Knot Standard Classic Seersucker is made from 100% cotton and features a lightweight canvassing, half-lined interior and skinny notch lapel, making it perfect for those summer evening soirees.
Madras and twill
Madras, another weave originating in India, is a lightweight plain cotton fabric. It is typically made in a striped, plaid, or checked pattern.
Twill weave fabrics like herringbone, serge, birds eye or chino are more closely compacted and can limit breathability. They do, however, add a level of formality and sophistication for daytime office wear and often, due to their durability, practicality and versatility can be worn with lighter weight fabrics for summer suits, jackets and slacks.