How to stay cool in a suit when it's summer

Maintaining your professional image in the face of soaring temperatures is difficult in suits that are heavier than a drought-resistant sheep. Combine that with shirts that turn your upper body into a steam room and it's bound to be a hot, wet summer.

With some simple steps you can summer proof your suit wardrobe and spend your day thinking about business instead of pit stains.


Put heavy tweeds, cashmere and wool suits into storage and steer your summer selections towards linens, cottons (including cotton-linen mixes) and for the sartorially courageous seersucker.

Superfine merino from labels like Zegna and M.J. Bale are actually perfect for Aussie summers - the fibres are highly breathable, naturally deodorising and help circulate heat away from the body.

Seersucker goes that extra step with its puckered texture stopping your jacket and trousers from clinging uncomfortably to your body when the mercury rises above 30 degrees.

Lining by halves

Just as you wouldn't judge a book by its cover (except for 50 Shades of Grey, truly awful) don't let a summer-looking suit in pale grey or powder blue persuade you to make a purchase without turning it inside out.

While the exterior may be from a summer-weight fabric, it could be fully-lined in non-breathable, insulating material.

Look for suits with half-lining where the jacket is lined across the upper half of the back and down the sides, leaving the lower part unlined.

Unlined jackets are also an option, especially with linen and seersucker options.


Without the structure of lining and weighty padding, be prepared to do the hard yards in the change rooms to find the most flattering fit or turn to a trusty tailor for support.

Show some ankle

There's no need to follow the lead of US designer Thom Browne and take your trousers mid-calf, although it's not a look I hate. But just adding an extra turn up to your trousers in the warmer months can help you keep your cool.

This works best with tapered trousers – try it with a wide-leg pair and people will think that you're wearing your mother's culottes.

Try  Swedish label COS for looser fitting trousers that are already cropped to the perfect length.

Go wide

Tailored skinny trousers remain a favourite for men maintaining a committed relationship with the squat machine at the gym but sausage-casing suits are sweat traps.

Look for trousers that are relaxed around the thigh and gently taper towards the ankle. You will still achieve a flattering silhouette without looking like a sweaty fashion throwback.

Colour your world

While you can stick to the navy standard of your imagination has taken an early holiday, there are plenty more colours that can withstand the summer sun and are suited to linens and cottons.

Khakis, sands and bones are summer staples, working beautifully with white or blue shirts. They score extra points for versatility with jackets pairing well with jeans for after work drinks and by now you definitely know how to wear khaki pants.

Pale blues and lights greys can also withstand the pressure of the boardroom and a sunny commute to the office.