10 of the best summer-friendly suits to stay cool and stylish

There's little as dispiriting as being pressed up against someone's armpit on a packed train on a summer's day. The commute, looking sharp in the office, wearing anything that isn't swimming trunks in the depths of an Australian summer is no easy feat. But it's not impossible. 

What's more, from the cooler takes on the suit seen during men's fashion week earlier this year, including denim versions at Jacquemus and Jil Sander, and Timothée Chalamet re-writing the style rules with 'fits such as the incredible silk Haider Ackermann suit worn at the Venice Film Festival, suits have changed. 

Try something new

Tom Simpson, head of menswear at THE ICONIC says summer is the perfect time to experiment with your style. Especially, he says, when it comes to the 9-5 wardrobe. 

He says the warmer months are the best time to play with lighter colours and softer shapes. 

"For summer fabric selects, choose a suit made from natural fibres that breathe and release heat efficiently, so you can feel (and look) cool at the same time. Think light cottons, seersucker, linen, cotton-linen mix or a tropical light-weight wool," he says, adding that he recommends looking to brands such as the Academy Brand for a linen blazer and Ben Sherman for a chambray jacket.

You could also try brands such as Venroy for cool linen separates. Meanwhile the ethically transparent American online brand Everlane have just launched a nice and nicely wallet-friendly, light Italian wool suit for about $444 all-up.

Simpson says the continuing influence of the '90s and early 2000s has seen suiting become a little more relaxed, with elasticised waistbands, cropped trousers and boxy blazers. For the more adventurous type Simpson suggests giving a summer short suit a try.

As for styling Simpson suggests pushing up the sleeve of a jacket, ditching the traditional dress shoe for a summery brogue or white sneaker (where appropriate) and breaking up a suit by swapping out a shirt for a tee. Try one of Jac & Jack's new organic tees which are made from 100 per cent organic cotton, either undyed and unbleached or dyed in environmentally friendly dye houses) which look and feel good. 

Pieces of suits

Patrick Johnson of P Johnson Tailors says comfort and versatility, while always important, is essential in the heat.


"You never look and feel great if you are too warm," he says. Plus as Johnson points out, in the summer months you're more likely to go from a lunch event into the evening so you need your suit to work hard.

Johnson believes a good quality linen suit in navy or beige is essential to get you through, plus a pair of white jeans (preferably Japanese denim so that they'll age well). Johnson says some fresh polo shirts are key too. 

"These are so handy when a jacket is too much (and too hot) and a shirt is too casual. I live in these all summer," he says. 

Patterns of style 

Chris Wilson, general manager menswear at David Jones, says the biggest trends in suiting for spring summer 20 has been about making things interesting. Think mixing textures, such as linen with wool, and patterns such as checks and stripes. He says cuts for jackets are still slim, with two button or double breasted jackets reigning, but trousers have become a little looser with single or double pleats and cuffs making a comeback.

As for surviving summer in a suit? Wilson says it's all about how you wear it.

"[L]ook for a suit that can take you everywhere, from desk to dinner and into the weekend by swapping out shirts but keeping the look refined. Soft shoulders and lighter colours in tailoring help achieve this. Choose high quality wools with stretch for comfort and durability, or linen mixes for breathability," he says.

Brands he suggests turning to this season include Joe Black for linen, as well as subtle checks and stripes, Ted Baker because he likes the colourful printed linings they're doing and new brand Eleventy which is doing suiting in a softer colour palette of greys and neutrals.

Perhaps you might even consider a denim suit. It's far from Canadian tux territory now.

Check out the gallery above to see some of the best suits to rock over the summer.