Serving as a pillar for the formal segment building the modern man’s wardrobe, a summer suit is both a necessity and a pretense for men to look their absolute best in spite of the heat. A summer suit is also known to reveal a lot about personal style and self-confidence, that’s why purchasing such an important item off-the-rack is a pretty complicated task, despite its apparent simplicity. Aside from a few essential know-hows, you have to remember that no matter the price, in the end it all comes down to fit.
Reimagined in lightweight fabrics, trim fits and lighter hues, the summer suit becomes key to a curated wardrobe. Next time you plan on shopping for an off-the-rack suit, all you have to do is keep in mind these 10 rules we introduce you to in the following guide. Find them after the break.
For more about men’s suiting be sure to also follow that link.
Seeing how fabric would be the first thing to pick out for a tailor-made suit, it doesn’t seem at all odd to follow the same principle when you’re choosing an off-the-rack suit. For summer, the material should be light enough to feel cool, but not too frail.
The most popular and versatile suit fabric remains wool as it holds the exceptional ability to keep you cool in the summer, while always looking sharp. Wool breathes well, holds its shape and resists wrinkling in daily wear. Other recommended options would include silk, tropical wool, linen, or poplin. In terms of colors do opt for lighter hues such as sand, gray and pale blue, but know that you can’t go wrong with a navy suit, or a printed one either.
Once you decided upon a fabric and managed to actually pick out a suit off the rack, the next thing to check is how the shoulders fit. The jacket’s shoulders should fit your shoulders rather than squeeze too tightly, stick up, or stick out. The shoulder line should be straight (not bumpy), preventing a lousy fit in the chest area and possibly the upper back.
Your collar should hug the back of your neck without buckling or pulling on your shirt, which should stick out an inch from the back of your collar. Avoid collar gaps (a gap between your jacket’s lapels and your shirt’s collar) because they tend to look bad. What you want is for the line of your jacket’s neck to follow the line of your shirt collar around your neck.
For a perfect fit, the jacket’s sleeves should end where your hand meets your wrist, all this while you’re letting your arms hang on your sides. Your shirt sleeves should stick out another half an inch to quarter inch.
Single-breasted suits, as opposed to double-breasted ones represent the more common option in a man’s summer wardrobe. This means the suit features a single row of buttons down the front. Following the same principle, a two-button jacket represents the answer to a classier look. However, the top button of a two-button (or the middle button of a three-button) row should fall at, or above the navel.
With your jacket buttoned up, you should be able to still slip your hand between your chest and your buttons for a fit that is tight, but that offers enough room for you to move.
Generally, the suit’s jacket should be long enough to cover your pants zipper and your rear, while sitting flat on your back. Make sure the jacket isn’t crinkling, nor pulling.
Judging by what’s trending on the runway, double vents in the back are a more modern and fashionable approach to a summer suit. Vents are the flaps of cloth located below the waist, at the back. They should cover your entire rear end and they should never be separated unless you’re bending or sitting down. Otherwise they should lay flat against your backside, particularly as you’re standing straight. This look is known to also flatter the larger figures.
If your pants are flat front, make sure they fit perfectly in the waist. This will translate to a nice straight fit down to the break on your shoe. Also, you should be able to insert one finger into the waist of your pants while wearing them and still feel perfectly comfortable.
The break refers to the crease formed where the pants hit the top of the shoe. Here is where you should opt for a medium break as it will bring the back of the pant leg about halfway down the heel of your shoe. However, for more of a fashionable look, the pant hem should hit right at the top of your shoe, or a little bit higher, exposing a little bit of ankle.
Pleats, cuffs, rise.
The modern take on men’s trousers is based upon a flat-front for an overall polished and sleek appearance. If you aim to feel more comfortable though, opt for a subtler interpretation of pleat front pants.
Suit pants should almost always have cuffs, at least that’s what one of the unspoken rules of tailoring states. Cuffs will help your pants hang properly, although they do tend to look best on taller men.
The length from the crotch to the waistband is called the rise. The summer pants suit’s excellent fit at the waist should help you avoid extremes such as the high-rise pants, or the low-rise trousers. They’re both a definite no.