A guide to summer suits

As the Dutch say: “The summer is standing in front of the door”. Summer is coming. But, how do you dress sharply for the office, a wedding or any other social event during the hot summer season? What should you look for in order  to appear stylish, professional and appropriate during the summer?

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What to look for in a summer suit

The most important features in a summer suit are the fabric and weave, the construction of the jacket and the color of the suit.

Summer suit fabrics

For summer suits there are a multiple of fabrics and weaves to choose from. The most popular fabrics for summer suits are linen, wool, mohair, cotton and silk. Ofcourse you can also opt for a blend of these fabrics.    

Linen

Linen is a classic material for summer and it is a very popular fabric for summer suits because it’s strong, durable and light weight. Linen has a visible weave and great natural texture. Unfortunately, it also wrinkles very easy. So if you will be wearing the suit to the office, it is better to use a linen blend that also contains cotton or wool. That way you have less wrinkling, but you keep the nice summer look of linen.

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Wool

There are a lot of light weight wools that are perfect for summer suits, like fresco or tropcial worsted wool.

 Fresco

The word fresco is derived from the word “affresco”, which translates to “fresh” and that’s exactly how a fresco suit will make you feel. This fabric consists of a multiple yarn, high-twisted wool with an open weave allowing the fabric to be very airy, yet quite durable. This fabric is designed specifically with summer in mind, and although the open weave allows for maximum air flow, the crisp feel and look of the fabric allows this suit to look extremely elegant and refined. Lightweight wools such as this work better than cotton or linen because they wick away – not absorb – sweat.

 Tropical worsted wool

This is an open weave worsted wool fabric. It is generally softer than fresco, but also not as breathable. Overall it is a good choice, but if you want increased airflow you will be better off with fresco.

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Mohair

Apart from eveningwear, mohair is also popular for hot climates. Unlike linen or cotton, it always looks crisp yet due to it’s light weight and open weave, it wears rather cool. Mohair fabric will remain practically wrinkle free and drape well. It is nearly impossible to get a mohair fabric to wrinkle! Mohair is very durable, dirt resistant and insulating. However, a 100% mohair suit would be very expensive and also uncomfortable to wear, due to its roughness. Mohair is therefore often blended with wool.

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Cotton

The cotton suit is one of the most versatile choices, as it allows you to have a refined yet casual look that is extremely summer-friendly. Cotton is stiffer than wool suiting, but it is also cooler.

Seersucker

Seersucker is a unique cotton fabric which is distinguised by its signature striped, crinkled surface and strategic puckering.

Chambray or cambric

Chambray is a lightweight cotton fabric that is slighty glossy, very comfortable and perfect for summer. The fabric is durable and sturdy, but simultaneously flows as you move and is soft to the touch.

Silk

No fabric is lighter in weight than silk. Silk is more luxurious to the touch than cotton, resists wrinkling better than linen and drapes with more fluidity than worsted wool. However, silk is less durable, doesn’t breath as well as linen and shows water or sweat marks. For those reasons you rarely see a 100% silk suit. Typically it’s blended with wool or cotton.

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Construction of the suit

The second thing to mind, regarding summer suits, is the jacket construction.  Generally speaking, the less fabric and lining, the cooler it will wear. Natural fibers like linen, cotton and wool breath, but this breathability is obstructed by the satin lining, making even light-weight jackets wear much warmer in the summer. For more airflow you should therefore opt for a half lined or an unstructured jacket.

Half lined

Half-lined jackets usually have lining across the upper half of the back and down the sides of the jacket, but not on the lower part of the back.

Unstructured

Some jackets are unlined/unstructured. In this case, the inside will be finished in the same material as the outside. Since a lining hides some seams, an unlined jacket typically requires more professional finishing, which increases the cost.

Color

The most important thing to keep in mind with the color of a summer suit is that dark colors will absorb heat, while light colors will reflect heat. Summer is perfect to introduce color, vibrancy and boldness into your wardrobe.

Epilogue

Whatever you are looking for in a summer suit, we will love to be of assistance to help you find the perfect fabric, fit and color(s) that will make you feel fantastic and ready for the summer season!  

Suiting Fabrics and Cloth: The Weaves and Patterns: Whipcord

Whipcord is very much like gabardine, but the yarn is bulkier and much more pronounced. It is very durable, rugged and stands hard usage and wear. In time, it shines a bit with wear. Some times the back is napped for warmth. It is called whipcord because it simulates the lash of a whip. Whipcord is often used for topcoats, uniform cloths, suitings, equestrian and other sportswear.

Whipcord fabric samples available at De Oost from the Holland & Sherry bunch Dakota - Whipcords, Cavalry Twills & Bedford Cord HS1495.

 1938's ad for Whipcord riding breeches / jodphur.

1938's ad for Whipcord riding breeches / jodphur.


The Technique

Whipcord is a hard-twisted, worsted twill fabric that has diagonal ribs so prominent that the twills stand up boldly in a kind of rolled effect, suggesting the plaited lash of a whip. Weight ranges from 12 to 20 ounces.  The twill is steep 63 degrees and goes from left to right (except for cotton).

Grey Whipcord Trousers.


The Effect

Like corduroy, whipcord is ribbed, but minus the fuzziness—and heaviness. Two-tone versions of a suit made with whipcord, project a subtle seersucker weave look without that 'Southern United States lawyer' or 'Ivy League bow-tie-guy' oppressiveness.

3-piece Olive Green Whipcord Suit with slanted pockets and notch lapels. Click here to see complete portfolio.

The Windowpane

The windowpane worsted has always featured low among the rank and file, while its standing with the well-starched set has never been higher. Rarely found hanging around average retail climes, the windowpane suit, when it did make one of its rare appearances on a selling floor, tended to overstay its welcome. As a result of its commercial disabilities, most men remain unfamiliar with the windowpane’s insider charisma.

For the initiated, the pattern’s individuality and popular neglect are two of its main attractions, the third being its salutary effect on the male figure. Longer in length than width, its upright rectangular formation subtly elongates, unlike the stripe, which works its magic in more conspicuous ways. Another plus is its facility for harmoniously combining with a second or third pattern. The windowpane’s open-box setting encourages far more varied pattern mixes than the glen plaid’s multilinear ground. However, the windowpane’s clearly demarcated outline gives manufactures even less margin for error in matching.

Whether in a charcoal flannel enlivened with a chalk-toned windowpane or a tropical worsted embellished with a colored overcheck, this erudite pattern is, like Caesar’s wife, above suspicion.