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Summer Suits: How to Beat the Heat and Still Look Cool

June 28, 2023

Summer Suits: How to Beat the Heat and Still Look Cool

We wear suits year-round. There’s always an event to dress up for, whether it’s a fancy wedding, presentation at work, business meeting, or night at the theater. You might feel great in a suit during the winter, but that heavy wool suit won’t cut it in the summer unless you want to look like you just hopped out of the pool.

Jokes aside, you shouldn’t have to suffer through the heat and sweat in your suit. There are a number of ways to keep your cool this summer, which we’ll cover in this guide.

Consider the Lining

3 Piece Mens Summer Suit in Pink

Suit jackets are lined with extra fabric to add structure and keep an extra layer between the jacket and your skin. There are four types of lining:

  • Unlined: The least structured and most casual option with no lining.
  • Quarter-lined: A small amount of lining throughout the shoulders offers some structure but will maintain a somewhat casual appearance.
  • Half-lined: Lined through the chest and shoulders, this option is breathable and somewhat structured.
  • Fully-lined: With lining throughout the jacket, you get a defined shape but there’s little breathability

The best choice for summer events is a half-lined suit jacket. It provides some breathability for your torso, especially on your back. Meanwhile, it still offers structure across the shoulders and chest, where it matters most.

Choose Natural, Lightweight Fabrics

Mens Gray Sumer Suit

Natural fabrics like cotton, linen, and even wool help to regulate your body temperature in hot weather. The key here is getting a lightweight, open weave. Ideally, the suit should be under 270 grams per meter of fabric. The weave matters, too. Hopsack and worsted wool weaves will keep you cooler, while anything that’s mercerized or bonded will retain heat.

How can you tell? Hold up the suit to the light. If you can see the light shining through the suit, the fabric has an open weave. Wool with this light weave is often advertised as “tropical wool.” It offers excellent performance because of the nature of the wool fibers. They’re crimped and creased, which allows for a looser weave and natural airflow.

Fiber aside, there are a few types of fabrics to keep in mind as you shop. The first is Solaro, which you can identify by its tonal horizontal stripe pattern. The next is seersucker, which is extremely lightweight with a ribbed and crinkled look. Next is cotton gabardine, which is a type of twill with a diagonal cord. Tweed offers a more rough woven appearance. Tweed is often spun with wool, so if you choose the right weight (or just look for tropical wool), you’ll be left feeling cool. Lastly, you can also look for light flannels. Unlike winter flannels, this fabric has a looser weave to keep you cool.

It’s best to avoid synthetic fabrics, like polyester, nylon, and acetate. The fibers in these materials lack the air pockets of natural fibers. Once the heat gets in, they trap it and block airflow. Your body will have no choice but to sweat to regulate your temperature.

Finally, be sure to consider the fabric of your liner. Choosing a liner made of silk or bemberg will keep you cool, while polyester or other artificial fibers will trap heat in.

Avoid Darker Suits

Men's White Summer Suit

You’ve likely heard that black clothing attracts heat. This is true: materials that are darker colors, and especially black, absorb the sun’s rays, which makes you feel hotter. Meanwhile, lighter colors can reflect the rays. That means suits that are off-white, tan, light grey, or light blue will keep you cooler.

Still, darker colors are typically seen as more formal. So, if you have a highly formal event, you may need to go with something closer to black.

Check Your Fit

Men's Lightweight Navy Blue Suite

The fit of your suit will also play a role in how much heat you trap. A tighter, more modern fit will keep the fabric close to your body. That means less airflow and more heat. Meanwhile, looser fitting suits will allow a breeze.

The good news is that looser fitting suits are having a comeback thanks to Harry Styles and the 90’s style resurgence. Still, that’s not to say you should wear a baggy, sloppy suit. You still want the suit to fit - it just doesn’t need to be skin-tight. Choosing a more classically tailored suit over a European fit will keep you cool and on-trend.

Choose a Cool Shirt

Men's Light Blue Cool Summer Dress Shirt

Just like the material of your jacket, your shirt’s fabric matters, too. Again, natural fabric is best so go for a cotton or linen shirt. These materials will allow for natural airflow, keeping you far cooler than if you chose a shirt made of synthetic fibers.

There are performance dress shirts available, too, which promise to prevent wrinkling or sweating. It’s generally best to err on the side of caution, as these shirts will undoubtedly contain synthetic fibers. Check the reviews to see whether they’re worth it.

Don’t forget the undershirt. While wearing another layer in the heat might be the last thing you want to do, a good quality undershirt can absorb your sweat. That keeps the moisture off of your body, keeping you feeling dry and comfortable. Meanwhile, it also stops you from sweating through your dress shirt so that you still look cool.

Don’t Forget to Accessorize

Men's Dress Loafers


The finishing touches on your look can also contribute to your comfort levels. While a wingtip dress shoe might look sleek, its full-foot construction will keep you hot. Instead, choose a more low-coverage shoe, like a loafer. Even better, if your event is on the casual side, go for a trendy sneaker that provides more breathability than leather.

A hat is another great addition to your suit. It will offer both your face and scalp some much-needed shade. We recommend the Panama hat, which has a light straw construction and a wide brim.

There you have it - everything you need to stay looking and feeling cool this summer.

Ready to stock up on summer suits? Check out the latest at Franky Fashion online.


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