Suiting In The Summer

In reality, a man doesn’t need wardrobes and wardrobes full of clothing to be considered well dressed. In fact, with enough information and careful deliberation, most guys will be able to live a stylish lifestyle with as little as thirty pieces (more to come on this in the next few weeks). As long as you stick to classic, simple and versatile garments that fit you properly, they’ll never go out of style and will serve you faithfully for many years to come.

But what about the work horses of your wardrobe – those items that you wear day in, day out and are always with you on the front lines? These pieces are obviously going to be more susceptible to wear and tear and will require maintenance/replacing sooner than the rest of your collection. So why not look to extend their lifecycle by buying more than one variety or colour?

This is the advice often provided by men’s fashion and style publications: stock up on the items that fit you perfectly and you wear regularly, whether its Uniqlo Oxford cloth button-downs, Ralph Lauren polo shirts or Bass Weejun loafers. This not only offers you more styling possibilities, but it also gives your current go-to pieces some much-needed rest.

However, although this line of thinking is commonplace when it comes to staples such as tees and shirts, the humble suit is often very much an afterthought.

It’s understandable; most suiting is deemed expensive and not versatile enough for regular everyday wear. But when it comes to spring/summer, we firmly disagree – nothing is more seasonally-appropriate than a lightweight suit. And surely that navy worsted wool number that you’ve been wearing three out of five days a week these last few months is starting to have seen better days? Not only that, worsted wool in the summer? Sweaty times are ahead for you my friend.

Summer Weight Suits

With the above in mind, it’s time to give your autumn/winter formal wear collection a well-earned break. But if you’re going to invest in a summer suit or two, where do you start?

Well, as always, fit is king. The jacket needs to fit snug on your shoulders, the sleeves should show around half an inch of shirt cuff (adjust according to personal preference) and the body should follow the lines of your waist without restricting movement or airflow (extremely important when temperatures rise). A good general guide is that when the jacket is buttoned you can fit a fist between it and your chest.

The trousers should fit like everything else you put on your legs: slim but not skinny with a slight break at the bottom.

Next, consider the style of suit you are looking for. With any suit that is being worn specifically in warm weather, structure is not as important as comfort and breathability, so aim for jackets that have half/no lining and soft shoulders. Notch lapels are your most versatile option for going from business to leisure, while two buttons and double vents will finish it off in a timeless way. Patch pockets are another consideration if you want a more relaxed feel.

This type of suit can be easily dressed up for the office but just as easily dressed down at the weekends, be it with a tee, polo or denim shirt. They also work extremely well when split into separates, which is essential if you want your suit to last. For example, try switching your suit trousers for slim-cut chinos or your blazer for a bomber jacket when you want to give them a break.

Finally, what sort of colour and fabric should you be looking for? Well, here are FashionBeans‘ three favourite options for SS14…

Beige In Cotton

A preppy classic. This works just as well in the office paired with a crisp white dress shirt, navy polka dot tie and brown brogues as it does with a black polo shirt, boat shoes and panama hat at a rooftop bar.

In terms of colour, beige can mean anything from light stone all the way to darker shades of khaki, so just choose the hue that makes you feel most confident. The cotton construction will help keep you cool in the heat without sacrificing your clean lines or tailored silhouette.

Try wearing with a simple grey t-shirt and pair of white Jack Purcell’s on those ‘Wearing A Suit Because I Can’ days.

Lookbook Inspiration: Full Suit

Men's Beige Cotton Suits Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

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Lookbook Inspiration: Separates

Men's Beige Cotton Suit Separates Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

he by mango aw13sarar ss14gant ss14reiss ss14windsor ss12massimo dutti may 2014
Key Styles
  • J. Crew Ludlow Suit Jacket With Double Vent In Italian ChinoJ. Crew Ludlow Suit Jacket With Double Vent In Italian Chino
  • J. Crew Ludlow Suit Jacket In Italian Linen-cottonJ. Crew Ludlow Suit Jacket In Italian Linen-cotton
  • J. Crew Ludlow Suit Jacket In Italian Cotton PiqueJ. Crew Ludlow Suit Jacket In Italian Cotton Pique
  • Asos Slim Fit Suit Jacket In PoplinAsos Slim Fit Suit Jacket In Poplin
  • Next Dark Stone Cotton Slim Fit Suit: JacketNext Dark Stone Cotton Slim Fit Suit: Jacket
  • Reiss Miami B Patterned Two Button Blazer Stone 195Reiss Miami B Patterned Two Button Blazer Stone 195
  • Austin Reed Contemporary Fit Sand Cotton/linen JacketAustin Reed Contemporary Fit Sand Cotton/linen Jacket
  • He By Mango Linen Cotton-blend Suit BlazerHe By Mango Linen Cotton-blend Suit Blazer
  • Rake Single-breasted Cotton Suit BlazerRake Single-breasted Cotton Suit Blazer
Brown In Linen

Combining two criminally underused styles in the menswear game, a brown linen suit is pretty much summer gold as far as we’re concerned.

Not only does brown complement every skin tone, it also helps conceal the wrinkles that come hand-in-hand with linen. Not that you should be bothered by them, mind you – it’s just the nature of such a lightweight, cooling fabric. Besides, they add character and a natural charm to any look.

Pair this suit with shades of blue, pink, white, tan and grey. It looks great with black shoes but if you do want to use brown ones make sure they contrast against your trousers.

Lookbook Inspiration: Full Suit

Men's Brown Linen Suits Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

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Lookbook Inspiration: Separates

Men's Brown Linen Suit Separates Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

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Key Brand: Suitsupply

The brown linen suit is quite a rare item on the current market, but one brand has got you covered this season: Suitsupply.

A FashionBeans favourite, they have produced a wide range of beautifully cut suits in fabrics such as premium cotton, cashmere and tropical wool for summer 2014, with their Ormezzano pure linen versions being the highlight:

Suitsupple Brown Linen Men's Suits for SS14

Navy In Seersucker

If you don’t enjoy stepping outside of your comfort zone or are finding it hard to let go of your old navy wool suit, why not just make an upgrade?

Seersucker is ideal because its natural puckering keeps the material away from your skin, promoting airflow while creating a nice element of texture to your look.

Try to find a dark navy version that works just as well for formal occasions as it does in the evenings at a bar.

The great thing about this suit is that it’s so versatile – pair it with everything you own! Seriously, there’s nothing navy doesn’t go with, so go crazy.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Navy Seersucker Suit Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

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Key Style: J.Crew Ludlow Suit

One of the only brands to produce this style, J.Crew’s acclaimed Ludlow suit is now available in high quality Japanese seersucker.

Other key fabrications available from the brand for summer 2014 include Italian cotton, Irish linen and Japanese chambray:

Men's J.Crew Ludlow Suit in Navy Seersucker

Final Word

Although the three suit styles showcased today are still extremely rare, brands are starting to realise that the modern style-conscious male appreciates the importance of fabric. The likes of HE By Mango, J.Crew, Reiss and Massimo Dutti have produced a superb selection of warm-weather tailoring this year, which means with some digging you are sure to find the perfect summer suit for you.

So, give your old four-season versions some much-needed rest and consider adding one of these essential summer power suits to your collection this year.

But as always, we want to hear what you have to say on the matter. What is your current go-to summer suit? What tailoring have you added to your formal wardrobe recently? And how do you intend to wear it?

Let us know in the comments section…