The onset of spring triggers something in the male mindset – whereas females are more than happy to top up their wardrobes with weekly trends, men are somewhat lacklustre in updating their looks. However, be it the longer evenings or the rise in temperature, something happens around this time of year that makes the male psyche suddenly realise that they’ve been hiding a variety of sins underneath the same coat for several months now.
Perhaps it’s the fact that suddenly everyone seems to be getting married this time of year, or that the suit you’ve been wearing all winter to the office is starting to feel dull, jaded, and heavy (or even starting to whiff a bit). Maybe it’s all the lighter shades that are in the shops, but something is telling you that it’s time to invest in another quality piece of tailoring to get you through the season.
So, where do you start? What exactly are the key attributes to summer tailoring? The first notion that springs to some people’s minds is to look at linen – it’s light, summery, cool to touch etc. But unfortunately this is the UK, and you can only justify this for 2 weeks of the year. Did the shop assistant fail to mention that it creases as soon as you try it on? That it is totally unsuitable for the commute to work and you’ll look like you’ve slept in a skip at 9am? Did they say that linen stretches, and that with 30 minutes your knees and elbows will have bagged? Didn’t think so!! The golden rule is that linen tailoring should be preserved for business trips to Delhi or the wardrobe department of Bergerac.
Everyone knows that you can’t go wrong with a classic wool suit, and summer is no exception. Opt for lighter colours – icy greys, shiny silvers, even a hint of beige can work wonders. These will reflect the heat away from you and still leave you looking cool and crisp. Carefully gauge the weight of your suit – well seasoned retailers will automatically put the heavier, darker tailoring back in the store room for Autumn 2011 and have lighter, flimsier suits on the shop floor – don’t be put off by how they look on the hanger! It might appear a bit limp, but never judge a jacket until you try it on and evaluate the cut on your own physique! One clever tip is to look for little labels that tell you about the yarns used – “Super 120s”, “Super 150s”; “Super 180s” all indicate the fineness of the yarns woven. The higher the number, the finer the yarn and therefore the lighter the suit and the more elegant the drape (the Italians are particularly fond of highlighting this).
The pinstripe has had its day I’m afraid, so invest in a good plain weave, shark tooth, or contemporary micro-structure to keep it understated. If you mustst century tailoring. attempt the linen look try and keep the linen composition of the cloth below 25%, or why not try looking for something with some mohair content? Its shiny, cool-touch, performs so much better (just don’t get caught in the rain!) and is ultimately more modern for 21
One more thing to look out for are “buggy lined” jackets – tailors will remove a lot of the bulk in a jacket for summer (lighter canvases and fusible are used for compliment the finer cloths) and this also applies to the lining. Why fully line a jacket in the heat? Only half line it to let the wool breath and the air flow get to the wearer. This makes for a definite higher level of interest inside – seams are pressed open and piped, pocket bags concealed, and facings tweaked – each time you try it on you’ll find another interesting touch!!
Silhouette is the key consideration though – the cut of a suit ultimately determines how it looks on you, so continue to opt for slim trousers, neat waists, high armholes, and oversized shoulders. To appear ultimately modern a shorter jacket should be considered in button 1 or button 2 fastenings, and why not go the whole hog and add peak lapels? The wideness of these will make your waist look even narrower as they sweep down to button just above your navel.
A key trend for Spring Summer 2011 is the pocket square – you simply can’t avoid it! How you interpret it is entirely up to you – roughly tuck a hanky into your breast pocket to appear bohemian or a crisp folded line parallel to the breast pocket for sharp sophistication. Whatever you decide, go against the rules and clash the colour with your tie (if you’re wearing one!). If it’s good enough for Boss, D&G, and even The Kooples, then it’s good enough for me…………..
By Keith Huston
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