For those in search of perpetual elegance, the threat of excessive summer heat can seem daunting. However, instead of surrendering to hot temperatures there are ways to embrace tailoring in every climate. We have taken the advice from tailors in Napoli and Hong Kong about fabrics for summer.
Of course, the first things that come to mind for summer style are sunglasses, tailoring with T-shirts, polos or open shirt and loafers without socks. These are all great tips, but to achieve sartorial elegance year round, one must go deeper.
Let's start with linen.
Image credits @theanthology
When we asked Neapolitan tailoring legend Luca Rubinacci about which fabrics inspire him during the hot summers in south of Italy, he had no doubts.
“My favourite summer fabric is linen. Not because of its light weight, many of the linens I use are quite heavy, but because of the shades of colours and the way its wrinkles make a suit imperfectly perfect.”
Linen is the king of summer fabrics, not only because it keeps cool, but also because of its stylish qualities. It absorbs dye very well and is thus available in many deep colours. It also has a way of wrinkling that gives a nonchalant look to anyone confident enough to ignore this “imperfection”.
Linen is good for summer because it is breathable. It has a dry feel when you touch it and allows cooler air to pass through the fabric. Furthermore, it is slightly stiffer than wool and drapes differently. Linen will not follow your body as closely, but will instead billow softly away form your body, keeping you cool.
Lastly, linen is an excellent material because it is strong and can be grown sustainably.
The linen plant can be grown in many climates around the world and therefore has the potential to be grown locally close to its final users. It also has the excellent trait of becoming softer as you wash it and is biodegradable when it reaches its end of use.
Image credits @luca_rubinacci
Whether you are looking for your next navy blazer or tobacco pleated trousers, linen is the best choice for summer.
The other seasonal fabric to beat the heat is seersucker.
The fabric is an absolute summer classic, most often seen in its blue and white striped version. It is a cotton fabric woven in a way to give texture by alternating the tightness of the weave. This creates a relaxed look, much like the linen, that is perfect for summer tailoring that doesn’t look overdressed or uncomfortable.
Once again, the reason why the fabric handles heat well has to do with air. Because the fabric is textured in an interfering wave pattern, with highs and lows, there is space for air to keep the body cool. This is why the fabric has earned its good reputation for summer tailoring.
Image credits @theanthology
The Hong Kong based bespoke tailoring brand “The Anthology” are not strangers to high temperatures, but focus on the history of seersucker for summer garments. Not only do they use the classic blue and white striped seersucker, but also rare monochromatic fabrics to keep the texture while gaining style options. However, they make it clear that their choice of seersucker for summer is primarily about style.
“We like tailoring in seersucker not because of its spectacular properties on ventilation or crease resistance — nothing on the matter of functionality. However, it plays a major role for our summer palette due to its strong cultural influence, last but not least, its phenomenal visual excitement!”
While fabric is not the only factor to seasonal clothes, it is very important. For summer you can also keep in mind that unlined tailoring and more un-constructed jackets, like a safari or a teba jacket, are also great for a relaxed cool look.
Whether you go to your favourite stores to look for linen clothes or if you ask your tailor to set a few meters of seersucker aside for you, it is a great start for a stylish summer.