A “Summer Suit” in Three-Piece? Yes.
We have it on good authority that summer will eventually arrive this year. Hard to believe given the current state of weather affairs, but trust us.
For us at Maison Leporem, one of the surest signs that summer is fast approaching is receiving multiple phone calls from gentlemen across Montreal asking for an appointment to make a “summer suit”. What exactly does a summer suit mean? I’m glad you asked. Read on.
The human species, I’ve observed, lives for summer (in our part of the world, at least). It’s truly the most wonderful time of the year. The weather is nice, the terraces are vibrant, and the mood is jolly. However, the biggest attractions of summer for most are the events – weddings, graduation ceremonies, etc. Almost everyone has one big event they’re attending this summer (if you don’t, get out and make some friends). Such events often require a suit, and not just any suit. As these events involve reuniting with many family and friends, and have been anticipated for many months, the gentlemen want to wear a suit that truly makes them stand out.
Hence, when our clients ask for a summer suit, they’re simply referring to the suit they intend to wear to their big event(s) of the summer.
Now that we’ve solved that mystery, let’s get to the crux of this article. Here’s three reasons a 3-piece is a great idea for a summer suit.
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I know, this sounds counterintuitive. How can adding a waistcoat/vest to your outfit increase comfort in the heat of summer? The answer to that is three-fold (pun intended) - First, the gentleman must always button his jacket when standing or walking, except when wearing a 3-piece. Being able to look smart and abide by the rules while keeping your jacket open adds to the comfort factor of a three-piece suit. Second, another easy way to remain looking smart and increasing your comfort level in the heat of summer is taking off the jacket and rolling up your sleeves. There is not a more rakish sight than a gentleman wearing a waistcoat with his sleeves rolled up. You can always pull this manoeuvre mid-way through the day/night whilst maintaining your cool. Third, the three-piece suit gives you the liberty to go “sans tie” without looking too casual. The formality of the three-piece counterbalances the casualness of having no tie. Leave the first 2 buttons of your shirt unbuttoned, and you will look and feel like an international man of mystery, and less hot (temperature-wise) than if you had the tie on.
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An important factor to consider in making any suit is versatility. This is especially so with a summer suit, as there tends to be more opportunities to dress up during the summer months. The three-piece confers great benefits in the realm of versatility. Aside from wearing all three-pieces together, you can use them as separates. The jacket can be worn as a sports coat, with a dress shirt, t-shirt, polo or henley, and paired with jeans, chinos, or lightweight wool pants. The vest can be one without the jacket, and with pants in a different fabric. The pants of course, can be worn alone (without vest or jacket) with a polo shirt, and loafers or sneakers. And of course, for less grand occasions, you can always give the vest a rest and just wear the jacket and pants as a standard two-piece suit.
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Elegance & Timelessness
The elegance and timelessness of a properly executed three-piece suit cannot be overstated. If you want to stand out for the right reasons, a well-fitting three-piece suit is definitely the way to go. Instead of trying to convince you further with words, I’d rather prove my point with these pictures of Sean Connery circa 1964 (as James Bond in Goldfinger):
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Now that you've read and seen the argument for a three-piece summer suit, here are some extra tips to optimize the results, and ultimately, the use you'll get out of it.
Opt for a lightweight fabric. Linen, cotton, solaro and even lightweight wool are great options. Ideally you want a fabric that is in the range of 230g/m or less.
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Opt for a fabric in a lighter colour. I’m sure you’ve heard that dark colours absorb heat, and lighter colours reflect heat. In addition, lighter colours are more summer-appropriate and less formal (hence, more relaxed).
Make the jacket as deconstructed as possible. Design details like natural shoulders (that is, without shoulder pads) and partial lining (if you’re opting for linen or cotton fabrics) give a more relaxed look and feel to the jacket - just what you want on a scorching summer day. This also makes the jacket more suitable to be worn casually as a sports coat.
For an extra touch of panache, a pocket square often adds just the right amount of colour, thus perfectly balancing the rest of the look.
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The rest of the outfit should remain understated. You can top it off with a classic timepiece or any other type of wristwear.
Lastly, fit is king. Prioritize the fit over everything, as we’ve told you repeatedly in past editorials (see here). Wearing an ill-fitting three-piece suit says two things about you - you are trying too hard and failing equally hard. That’s not what you want your summer suit to say about you.
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