For guys who want to look dapper during the summer months, it can be difficult to dress like a gent without breaking a sweat. For more than a hundred years, linen suits have served as the perfect warm weather alternative for both work and play. Though lightweight wool suits are often touted as a year-round alternative, linen continues to be the best bet when the humidity rises.
Linen suits first came to prominence in the late 19th century. During that era of men’s fashion, fabrics were considerably expensive. Designers were pushing modern suits to the public, but no one was buying.
On top of colossal price tags, suits made of tweed, flannel, and worsted were far too heavy to wear during the summer months. Linen stole the show as a cheaper and more comfortable option.
Among its many benefits, linen didn’t lose color as easily as other fabrics. And since it was derived from the flax plant, the fabric was both crisp and breathable.
When you envision linen suits, you might picture an image of the relaxed fit, drawstring variety that many men wear on summer vacation. But in order to pull off this style move, there are a few guidelines to ensure your linen suit is just as sharp as everything else in your closet.
1. Call In Backup For Formal Occasions
It’s likely that your summer will involve a wedding or two. For instances like these, a 100% linen suit can actually be your worst enemy. In its purest form, the fabric wrinkles very easily. After thirty minutes of sitting, your winning look will be sabotaged by dozens of creases. For best results, opt for a linen blend with a higher percentage of cotton or wool. The inclusion of sturdier fabrics will give your suit the structure it needs to fight off the wrinkles.
2. Consider Medium Shades For Your Linen Suit
Though we often see images of white or light khaki linen suits, the smartest way to pull off the suit is with medium or dark hues. Earth tones (like shades of brown and green), navy, and charcoal serve as traditional suit colors that help bring a sense of polish and refinement to the more casual suiting option. Thanks to a dash of color, you’ll get the best of both worlds: comfort and sophistication.
3. Lose Your Socks
One of the best parts of summer dressing is the bending of the rules. Loafers and slip-ons become your go-to, contemporary footwear choices in place of more traditional options like oxfords and wingtips. Though the linen suit is still dapper, it also serves as an opportunity to loosen up and relax. Rock your suit and loafers without socks to give off a stylish laidback vibe. And if the thought of going completely sockless isn’t comfortable for you, pick up a few pairs of no-show loafer socks.
4. Have Fun With Your Linen Suit Accessories
The sheer act of wearing a linen suit represents your willingness to take a risk with your summer style. But getting playful with your accessories is the true opportunity to show off your personality. Try out ties with bold patterns. Think bright stripes or floral. And don’t stop with your tie. Add a dash of color to your look with a lapel pin in white, pink, or teal. Even your pocket square can serve as the perfect way to tie together a strong accessory theme.
5. Follow The Usual Shirting Rules
Your linen suit is an opportunity to pull back from an otherwise conservative office or event dress code. But don’t mistake this chance to become a full-on rebel. When it comes to selecting your shirt, it’s best to pull inspiration from your everyday woven dress shirt collection. It’s definitely okay to play with brighter colors or subtle patterns (think check or plaid). But unless you’re headed to an event that has specifically relaxed the rules, avoid pairing your linen suit with a t-shirt.
Linen suiting opens up a world of possibility for dapper dressing in the summertime. But formal events and your workplace still require the sharpest style possible. With this handful of guidelines, you’re sure to be the best dressed (and most comfortable) guy in the room.