The classic linen suit exudes effortless class and style and, with summer just around the corner, now’s the time to pick yours up and start turning heads. Whether it be at cook-outs, summer weddings, or even days at the office, linen is the perfect fabric: it’s comfortable, lightweight and cool and, unlike dressier suit types, has a playful, easy-going quality which is sure to convey a look of casual confidence and charm.
Darker colors – olive-greens or light browns, for example – are very much in style right now and, aside from being a little more practical than lighter shades in that they don’t show dirt, grease and creases so much, they have a vaguely regal and unmistakable British gentlemanly vibe to them.
Darker linen suits are best complimented by light colored shirts: white is your safest option but, if you want to be a bit more adventurous, why not try a pale blue or – if it’s an olive-green suit you’re wearing – perhaps a very pale mustard suit to perfect that British summertime look?
Around your neck, you’ll want a tie with a bit of character to bring the look to life, especially when donning a darker colored linen suit. A simple striped or spotted pastel tie can achieve this; another good way to add texture to your outfit is to opt for a woolen tie – these are coming back in a big way.
Linen suits are all about subtlety and simplicity and this should be reflected in the way you accessorize. Brown-rimmed Ray-Ban-style sunglasses – or gold-rimmed aviators if you want to really make an entrance – are a strong choice, coupled with a simple black or brown leather-strapped analogue wristwatch to perfect the vintage 60s look: think Don Draper, Mad Men – the California episodes.
On your feet, you’ll want simple designs – driving loafers or maybe even espadrilles – preferably with no laces, unless of course you opt for a nice pair of leather or suede boat-shoes, which have been a summer style staple for the last few years and show no sign of wavering.
Best to avoid socks altogether when sporting linen however, if you’re worried about your feet rubbing (or stinking up your shoes!), stick on a pair of invisible socks – the funny ballet shoe-looking things (don’t worry, they’ll remain out of sight!).
Body-type & Fit
Linen suits require a fairly tight fit; get one too loose and it’ll end up looking boxy and becoming overly creased (overly meaning beyond just imperfectly relaxed to the point of being plain old scruffy – not a good look). For the trousers, the hem should be a little higher than normal in order to reveal just a touch of ankle to achieve that modern summertime look (and of course to keep you nice and cool whilst enjoying the sunshine).
In terms of body-types, linen suits look best on slim builds – short or tall, they suit both. Men of a larger build would do well to stick to the darker shades (olive-green, for example) as they are slimming and do not show creases as much as lighter shades.