It’s that time of the year Gents. Spring has knocked on our door and walked in, giant strides and all. And summer is now around the corner. As far back as we can remember, extra-long days of sun have triggered nothing but greater serotonin levels. Abundance of sun, sports, beaches, and gorgeous women in bikinis will be in full flow. But hey, not everything associated with summer has to be related to a lack of clothing. If only we were as informed as our gender counterparts regarding dressing up and seasonality, we would be able to use our sense of style with considerable aplomb come summertime. We don’t have to reserve the best our wardrobes have to offer for the fall and winter, where layering becomes popular. If we know what to look for, spring and summer deserve adequate wardrobe space as well! So whether you’re looking to dress for the Kentucky Derby, a friend’s summer beach wedding or just looking to strut your stuff, below are some options you can explore as the days get longer and the nights shorter.
Linen is a fabric made from fibers obtained from inside the woody stem of the flax plant. The word ‘linen’ comes from the Greek ‘linon’ or Latin ‘linum’ meaning the thread of flax. The fabric is made of a coarse weave and a nubbed surface. Linen fibers are much stronger and lustrous than cotton, but wrinkle easier.
What makes linen so attractive is that in addition to its lightweight properties, linen as a fabric is very cool and absorbent. Linen’s wicking properties are far superior to many other fabrics, wicking away up to 20% more moisture than most fabrics do. Hence, you can see why it would be an ideal fabric choice for a summer time suit!
Another fabric that tends to deal extremely well with summer conditions is Madras Cotton. Madras Cotton is loosely woven of shorter staple (fiber length), highly durable cotton from Madras, India. The fabric is often vegetable dyed in plaids, stripes and checks. The result is a lightweight, breathable fabric that bursts with different color schemes.
Combining Linen with Madras
So why am I going on about different fabric properties? Don’t worry, this is not just a ramble. There is a method to this madness! Madras cotton ties and linen suits have become an extremely popular summer combination over the last several years. With linen suits providing the perfect canvas for your summer strutting sessions, and madras cottons providing a burst of summery colors, we have a winning combination!
For most men, cotton seems to be a default choice during the summer. However, with a vast selection of cotton on the world market, it is imperative that you have a discerning eye when choosing your summer fabric. Ideally, you want to go for an open weave, one that lets in air more easily during the summer months. If you cannot see through the fabric when holding it against the light in the summer, it is not well suited for warmer weather.
Another choice that is gaining popularity, and has been so in the South for a while, is the Seersucker suit. The term seersucker hails from India, where it was known as “Shir –o – shaker” which in Persian translates into “Milk and Sugar”, which most likely represented the contrasting textures of the fabric: milk for the smooth, and sugar for the crinkle. Seersucker is a lightweight, crinkled striped summer fabric of puckered cotton. The crinkled stripes let air into the fabric to help you keep cool. While usually utilized within the framework of a suit, seersucker can also be worn as a sport jacket or a shirt.
The fabric typically comes in the form of blue stripes on white, but can also be found in cream or beige. The fabric’s lightweight cotton properties make it ideal for summer and allows for some fabulous color schemes! Given that seersucker suits are light in color, your best bet is usually for a lighter pastel colored or white colored shirt. Tie patterns can work great, as long as they are not too busy. Similar to wearing a linen suit, a madras cotton tie can really bring a seersucker suit to life, as can animal motif print ties that the likes of Vineyard Vines are known for!
So there you have it! Between linen, cotton and seersucker, and a little madras cotton or motif prints thrown in for your tie selection, you should have a winning combination that is both light on your body and exudes confidence, color and character all at once.
As always, comments and suggestions are welcome!