Spring is a month of constant changing weathers, from rain comes shine and from calm comes wind. Thus it’s imperative that you pick the best material for your spring and summer suiting, to help you keep cool, dry and stylish. The two most common materials people go for is linen either pure or blended or a cheaper synthetic material.
Linen is made from fibres of the flax plant and has been a staple of men’s summer wardrobe for generations. A linen suit is the epitome of casual, comfortable suiting; no other material comes close to the thick, crisp and textured feel that linen provides it wearers.
Why should I pick linen?
Linen suits are known for their light build and moisture resistance, making them the perfect suit for warm humid climates such as the tropics, or for a walk in the sun.
Regardless of your attire all men perspire in hot humid climates, unfortunately it’s a natural response. Therefore it comes as a great benefit that Linen garments are generally machine washable (check the label/with your tailor) in cold water, saving you a small fortune in dry cleaning fees over the life of the suit.
There is a substantial range of colours that Linen can be dyed giving a wider variety of colours that suits can be made into. This host of colours combined with linen’s ease at absorbing and wicking away moisture provides the perfect fabric that should form the base of any summer wardrobe you put together.
Problems with Linen?
Linen will, wrinkle easily, crease heavily and look generally messy if it is not cared for properly. This gives each linen garment a unique feel; sadly it can also make you a satirical joke if you do not take steps to remedy these problems. Such as choosing a Linen fabric with a Silk percentage, around 40% silk will reduce the wrinkling effect. This will not affect the look of Suit.
Due to being the fabric of choice for hot countries, you would think that linen wouldn’t have any disadvantages linked to the sun. Unfortunately this would be wrong, ironically linen struggles to hold its colour when exposed to direct sunlight. Some would say this adds to the character of your suit, where others would simply point out it’s an annoyance.
Lastly, just like the cotton suit linen can look very out of place in an office, linen does not always emit a professional look, truth be told its probably as far from professional as you can get, resulting in few places the modern gentleman can realistically wear linen. If you can try to opt for darker coloured linens such as a dark navy or midnight blue as they look smarter and the colour hides the wrinkles better.
With Primark and H&M becoming household names, low cost clothing is sweeping the nation; everyone is joining the throwaway culture that currently exists in the clothing market. The average person looks not at ‘quality but at quantity’, the need to have a million different wardrobe pieces has driven our desire to consume to never before seen levels of greed and overconsumption. Thus with large numbers of people looking for large quantities of clothing for cheap prices there has been a surge in the amount of cheaper synthetic summer suits available.
Rant aside, this makes the economical building of an affordable summer wardrobe easier.
Why should I pick Synthetics?
Synthetic suits such as 100% polyester suits have sprung up and become a staple in everyday life. These suit are cheap to buy, are very much in fashion at the moment. A few synthetics such as Microfibres can be useful in choosing a summer suit, these allow due to their construction allow the material to be breathable.
A blended suit can be an alternative to the budget shopper. This style of suit can be made out of a combination of natural and synthetic fibres, such as 70% wool, 30% polyester. They come in a huge range of varieties, meaning that building a starting summer wardrobe can get a great look of natural without the price tag.
It may sound like there is never a time to buy a synthetic or blended suit, let me surprise you then by pointing out when it may be better to buy a blended suit instead of a pure natural suit.
Cotton and linen suits crease and wrinkle considerably. These natural fibres can be combined with synthetic fibres to get the best of both worlds. Obviously the overall look is not as superior to pure natural suits, but if you want a low cost summer suit/jacket that is easier to maintain than a pure linen jacket, therefore a blended synthetic fabric may be exactly what you are looking for!
Problems with Synthetics?
While there are a few advantages to natural fibre suits, the main reason men buy a synthetic suit is the price. So what are the drawbacks that you are accepting in the pursuit of saving some money?
The greatest drawback of some synthetics is their lack of breathability. This is not because of construction, but more to do with the overall molecular structure. These denser materials generally are moisture resistant, which traps your sweat, next to your body causing you to get hotter as your body is unable to cool itself. For the ecologically conscious suit buyer it is important to point out that most synthetic fabrics are not as sustainable due to a manufacturing process that is heavily reliant on fossil fuels and chemicals.
The biggest elephant in the room you must take into account when considering synthetics as a suiting fabric, is the sheen of polyester suits. The sheen, refers to the glossy effect that cheap suits have when they catch light, it is like a fog horn going off declaring you are wearing a cheap suit.
Thus, in conclusion, I would say as always its best to invest in one or two great linen suits and care for them properly rather than a constant stream of synthetic suits. However its dependent on your budget, obviously not everyone can afford to buy a second suit for the spring and summer months.
Think Mix – Linen combined with Silk reduces the wrinkle effect
No Linen on Linen – Linen Shirts with Linen jackets do not give contrast in texture but also can look totally crumpled
Wash & Press – one of the joys of Linen is that you can wash it at home – though remember to press it well.
#3PG’s Linen Looks
Formal Classic – a 3-piece light blue linen suit, with black shoes, white dress shirt and a dark navy tie.
Smart Casual Classic – blue linen suit jacket and white dress shirt, combine it with a light cream pair of linen or cotton trousers with a brown belt and brogues.
Modern Miami Vice – White single breasted, 3 piece linen suit, light blue dress shirt, dark blue tie and Pocket Square with brown and white brogues
Great Gatsby– Light Pink coloured single breasted 2 piece linen suit, white dress shirt, brown and gold striped tie and pocket square combined with white and black correspondent shoes.
Classic Foreign Office– Beige single breasted 3-button 2-piece suit, white dress shirt, ‘old school’ tie (usually striped in a dark colour plus 2 others).
James Bond’s Tropical– Light mottled grey single breasted 2 piece suit, white dress shirt open at the neck, brown belt and brown suede shoes.
The Wedding – Light blue single breasted 3 piece suit, white dress shirt, dark blue patterned tie and Pocket Square and black shoes. Top it off with a blue and white flower buttonhole.
By Sam Adam Smith #3PG a cool summer gentleman