Career Style: Spring Suiting
Mar 7, 2011
Over the next few months, the stores will be flooded with new suits in lighter colors and fabrics. There will be white suits, and tan suits, and grey suits, and navy suits. But what color and fabric should you buy? And what separates a good suit from a cheap suit?
Get in Line. If you buy a light-colored suit in a lighter fabric, it needs to be lined. Every summer, I see lots of women in unlined white suits and they look absolutely vulgar. A heavy, black wool suit can exist without a liner but a white, light grey or light tan suit absolutely cannot.
Wool vs. Cotton. Whenever I buy a suit, the first thing I look for is a fabric that feels nice to the touch. There is nothing that I hate more than a suit that feels plasticky or scratchy. I like a nice, soft fabric that has some weight to it.
Most of my suits are a year-round wool that is warm enough for winter and cool enough for summer. I’ve owned a few cotton suits in the past, but they don’t hold up quite as well and aren’t nearly as versatile.
Also, I never buy crepe suits. Crepe rarely feels nice. Crepe doesn’t breathe well, so it’s stuffy in the humidity. And crepe can look shiny, and shine is the enemy of good suiting.
Color-Coded. If you were going to buy just one suit for the summer, I would tell you to make it a navy suit. Navy is summer’s black. If you have a navy suit, your second choice should be grey and third should be white. Even though some folks see warm weather as a reason to buy a white suit, I would not buy one until I had navy and grey already.
You’ll notice that I didn’t mention khaki. The reason is that I don’t like tan suiting. To me, it doesn’t look as rich as grey or navy and it doesn’t look as summery as white. If you like brown, feel free to buy one, but it’s not for me.
Style and Shape. In my opinion, skirts are better for summer suiting than pants. And shorts are absolutely forbidden.
Skirt suits are lighter, breezier and more versatile during the summer months than pants. Can you imagine wearing pants on a 100-degree day? I think not. Plus, skirts allow you to show off your cute summer shoes.
Also, during the summer months, retailers start selling jackets in boxier or shorter cuts. Unless you already have a wardrobe of tailored-suiting, these should be avoided. Boxy and short jackets are not flattering on the majority of women, and they’re not nearly as versatile as their tailored counterparts.
Lastly, I recommend buy suits that are separates, not suits where the jacket cannot be removed. Why? Because when it gets hot, being able to remove the blazer is critical.