Most men feel their tailored clothing is oppressive and stifling in the heat of the summer, and depending on the make, their probably right. Much ink has been spilled on the death of the men’s store and the rise of fast fashion to supplant it. Once when a man had a mind to purchase a new suit or sport jacket, he’d visit his neighborhood tailor, select a cloth that would do the job, and let the tailor go to work on him. Now, most guys have to find a derelict corner of a department store, push through racks and racks of jackets and trousers, guessing as to which size fits (often based on vanity sizing, which is another post in itself), with no help from a knowledgeable salesman, and they walk out with an ill-fitting suit built with bad cloth that doesn’t breathe and doesn’t fit. A well-made and well-tailored suit should make its wearer feel invincible, not uncomfortable!
The key to making the right call on tailoring is to visit a proper men’s store and seek our advice, knowing for what occasion it will be worn, and to have it tailored. The salesman will want to know if you’re attending a wedding, travelling for business, or just adding to the work wardrobe. Suits and sport coats are investments because good wool and lining isn’t cheap, and those who know how to work the fabrics into elegant jackets and trousers charge for their expertise. We recommend purchasing the very best you can afford and wearing it as often as possible, even if that’s only once or twice a year. If your suit appears in public just a few times, that means every occasion that calls for it is special. Your suit should look like an extension of your personality and not something browbeaten onto you. Luckily, Chelsea Menswear has received beautiful, elegant options to fill the niche.
The fun of summer dressing is celebrating the newly returned colors into our surroundings, whether that’s bright skies and blazing waters or the pastels and fluorescents of budding flora. If you’re inclined to revel in the bolder hues of spring and summer, go for a revelatory sport coat. Otherwise, stick to the classics in suiting and search for lightweight worsteds to beat the heat. While an electric blue suit might be a fantastic look for a party, whispers of “he wore that suit again, doesn’t he own anything else?” are not what you want floating around. Greys and blues offer a strong starting point to accessorize with all manner of shirts, neckties, and pocket squares to capture the colors of spring. The darker the clothing, the more formal it appears, but try to stay away from something that looks more at home on an undertaker or a member of the clergy. Black ends up being too serious, too puritanical for most occasions, and you should never attempt to sneak a black suit into an event where tuxedos are worn. Appropriate ties are in short supply for such an ominous hue, and too many look garish and compete against the dark color, especially during the long days and short nights of spring and summer.
Rather try a dark charcoal or navy suit, as there’s depth of weave and pattern to delve and a rainbow of colors to match with it. Beyond the classic white shirts await rosy pinks, brilliant blues, and creamy yellows to compliment. Black and brown calfskin both cut an elegant figure beneath the cuff, and navy and brown combined are particularly pleasing to the eye. Honestly, it’s more difficult to find a shirt and tie combination that won’t work with a good-looking navy or charcoal suit. We have a few from Montreal, Quebec’s Jack Victor that feature a blazing blue windowpane to offer a suggestion of color to those unsure of how to proceed. The Super 100s Italian-woven worsteds are hefty enough to stand to the rigors of repeated wear while still offering unparalleled breathability. Striking the balance between tradition and novelty is tricky, but emphasizing how the garment fits above all else is our strong suit, helped by the jacket’s natural shoulder and deep side vents.
Sometimes a full suit is a bit too much formality, and a good sport jacket is just the remedy. Lightness is paramount in warm weather clothing, but a problem with summer clothes is the lack of heft able to be woven into the cloth, which gives a richness, depth, and texture that many (especially me) love in cold-weather dressing. Luckily, quick-growing bamboo can be processed into lightweight viscose, and can be dyed to dazzling colors and woven to imitate the deep textures of much heavier cloth. Hart Schaffner Marx has produced a celebratory sport coat in a rich sky blue, sprinkled with lines of silver and accented with a mint green windowpane check. Dress it up with suitably summery colors, from petal pinks to sherbet oranges for neckwear, light grey trousers, and some sporty loafers, or amplify its casual airs with a polo or even a well-cut tee shirt.
I love light grey suits, especially as it heats up, as they’re elegant options both it the workplace and at social events. Paired with a white shirt, it’s office-ready, but it blossoms with a light blue, and pastel accessories sing to celebrate the season. Jack Victor produced a beautiful example for us in unbelievably luxurious Super 150s worsted wool. The cloth features a surprisingly adventurous mélange of whites and greys in the plaid pattern. Its natural shoulder looks herculean without sacrificing comfort at the waist, and the gentle taper at the leg gives the whole suit a slimming appearance while emphasizing height. I love a deep, two-inch cuff breaking to just kiss the top of the shoe, and this suit looks killer with oxfords, wingtips, or loafers. Some more forward-leaning than I could finish it off with a clean pair of sneakers for a truly contemporary look—I like classic leather-soled footwear so much, I take any excuse to break them out.
Rely on us to supply you with the best advice for dressing this upcoming season, and don’t hesitate to ring us up or send us an email if you need an expert. Shop online or schedule an appointment for an in-store visit to make you look your best, especially on-camera while working at home.