Heavyweight denim and standard wool suits can see you through fall, winter, and the early days of spring without too much difficulty. But once summer approaches and the temps start to warm, it’s time to put them aside in favor of breezier alternatives.
Pick up a few pieces made out of these fabrics to supplement your three-season wardrobe. That way, you’ll stay sharp without suffering from heat stroke.
Linen can be pricey, since the threads can easily break while weaving, and because the flax plant it’s derived from requires careful attention. On the plus side, its light weight and breathability make linen a great summer option. You can find shirts, pants, suits, and blazers woven from the stuff to cool down your buttoned-up outfits. It wrinkles easily, but that slightly relaxed vibe is part of the appeal. Here's how to wear it the right way.
Thin vertical yarns are plainly woven with thicker horizontal yarns, usually in a lightweight cotton. Shirts made out of the fabric are especially lightweight and feel cool and crisp in warm weather. It breathes well and unlike linen, is wrinkle-resistant, so it’s a good choice if you’re regularly suiting up in the summer and want to stay formal.
If you don’t mind the bold look and preppy vibe, seersucker suiting is a much lighter alternative to heavy wool. Cotton is slowly woven with a unique tension setting, resulting in a puckered fabric that doesn’t require careful ironing, but doesn’t look overtly wrinkled like linen often does. It’s almost always striped with white and pastel blue, but other colors and prints are out there, too.
Like seersucker, madras has a hugely preppy vibe that isn’t for the faint of heart. The bright plaid or patchwork designs are woven from lightweight cotton that’s similar to the normal stuff, but thinner and fit for summer. It takes a lot of courage to wear it, but if you keep the rest of your outfit understated, it’ll give off a strong summery vibe while keeping you relatively cool.
A soft and light weave that uses a colored (usually blue) vertical thread and white horizontal thread, which gives it a look similar to your favorite jeans, but a feel that’s breezy and breathable. That means that shirts made from the stuff are good replacements for your denim ones once the weather starts to get too warm. It’s also got a unique finish that leaves the fabric with a glossy feel and very slight sheen.
Tropical Weight Wool
This stuff uses two-ply plainly woven worsted wool. That’s the technical makeup, anyway, but all you really need to know is that suits made from it are lightweight and breathe easily, unlike your standard three-season ones. It is still wool, though, so you can invest in one or two in versatile, dark shades to wear in the summer and look just the same as you do the rest of the year. Only difference is that you’ll be a lot more comfortable.