It’s a cruel irony that the best chances to suit and boot up come when the weather makes shrugging on a suit utterly unappealing. Wedding season sees men lose comprehension of how heat works, as they slip on padded jackets, waistcoats, even tweed, without thinking about how their sweat-slicked face will look in the post-ceremony photos.
Our continental cousins have the jump on us when it comes to dressing sharp in the heat. Understandably, considering how much more practice they get. But the most potent weapon in their summer armoury is a fabric Brits have donned since the dark ages.
Linen offers the sun-drenched man all manner of benefits. It’s riddled with tiny holes, which means air circulates freely, so you keep your cool while all around you are losing theirs. Not only that, it can absorb an inordinate amount of water without showing it, so no tell-tale sweat marks when you’re suffering through hours of self-written vows.
On a more sartorial note, its nubby texture – courtesy of the thicker fibres that linen is woven from – gives outfits depth. But these same fibres also mean that linen wrinkles like grapes in the sun. It’s why linen suits can leave you looking like you didn’t get home last night, but a linen blazer lends an air of raffish insouciance.
To make the most of linen’s warm-weather savvy, you want a blazer that’s unlined. Sticking silk inside means the shell stays cool while you bake, and padding adds a stiffness that’s out-of-step with the fabric’s laid-back aesthetic. A slightly shorter cut works with anything from chinos to – if you’re feeling bold – tailored shorts, especially if you opt for neutral shades.
9 Of The Best Linen Blazers
Suitsupply Jort Blue Herringbone Jacket
If you really can’t stomach creases, look for blends. Here, linen keeps you from stifling, but silk adds stiffness so you stay unrumpled as well.
Available at Suitsupply, priced £399.
Aspesi Unstructured Linen Blazer
Three buttons, no padding, and patch pockets make this blazer a crash course in sprezzatura. Wear with a white shirt and as much nonchalance as you can muster.
Available at Mr Porter, priced £245.
Vito Skinny Linen Blazer
Linen means you can keep up that figure-hugging, frontman thing, even when the sun’s blazing.
Available at ASOS, priced £130.
J.Crew Ludlow Cotton-Linen Blazer
J.Crew’s Ludlow block has become near-iconic, since it’s figure-flattering cut seems to suit any physique. This summer version was designed to “look like a blazer, but feel like a T-shirt.” So now you’ve no excuse not to dress up.
Available at J.Crew, priced £168.
Paul Smith Silver Linen Blazer
Linen isn’t often a gladrags fabric. So kudos to Paul Smith for this glimmering take, that means you can party all night without perspiring.
Available at Ssense, priced £680.
Brunello Cucinelli Herringbone Linen Blazer
Brunello Cucinelli is a byword for Italian panache. And it’s streamlined linen blazer means you’ll always be the coolest person at the hottest occasions.
Available at MATCHESFASHION.COM, priced £1,380.
Banana Republic Khaki Cotton/Linen Blazer
The safari jacket is trending this season. Banana Republic crossbred it with a blazer, for a jacket that will stay in style that much longer.
Available at Banana Republic, priced £175.
Reiss Caesar B Linen-Blend Jacket
The joy of linen is that even the otherwise stifling extra fabric on a double-breasted blazer becomes free and breezy.
Available at Reiss, priced £245.
Ted Baker Onetwos Linen Jacket
A linen blazer should be almost entirely unlined. But it’s nice if the little that you do want, around the shoulders and under the collar, offers an eye-catching print.
Available at Ted Baker, priced £259.