Stephan asks: I’m attending a few weddings this summer (one in Stockholm, the other in Windsor [Canada]), and am looking for some pointers on a solid summer suit. Both weddings are outdoor affairs (“garden party”-esque). Is a beige-coloured suit pretty safe for these sorts of affairs? I’m also looking for something I can wear back at the office.
Outdoors in summer, you’ll want to wear something that wears cool – that means lightweight wool, linen or cotton. Fine weights of wool in tropical weaves can actually be among the coolest fabrics, but they also tend to be expensive. If you’re the kind of guy who can afford to have a suit made, ask your tailor about frescoes.
If you’re looking to get out of this thing cheap, cotton or linen is the way to go. J. Crew has a lovely linen suit for about $400. Linen’s a little classier than cotton, but if cotton’s your preference, L.L. Bean Signature’s offering is under $200 at the moment. I haven’t been in an H&M store lately, but they’ve usually got something similar in that price range, and Target often has a decent cotton suit offering as well.
There is one further option: seersucker. If you happen to live in the South, where it’s less affectation, more way of life, it can keep you cool and comfortable. If you live in a place where it may seem odd, you should consider the possibility that it will make you the center of attention – weddings should always be focused on the bride.
Remember that cotton and linen suits are much more casual than their wool counterparts. Perfect for an outdoor daytime event, but a little less suitable for an office. If you’re going the office route, I’d recommend going with a color like navy, rather than khaki, for your suit. That should make it sober enough for most casual-leaning business wear offices.