“Too flimsy. Where is that great crisp cloth that they used to make suits from?” A new client asked me that question earlier this spring. He is a young guy on the rise in our nation’s capitol, and he, like most of us, works in the a/c.
We couldn’t agree more with his assessment. Tropical wools, linens and cottons are wonderfully cool summer alternatives, but they wrinkle and crease. They’re supposed to. At Leviner Wood, we understand that you like to look crisp all the business day long.
But what makes a suit cool, comfortable and keeps it crisp during our warmer months? The same qualities that you look for in your cool weather suits: weight, finish and construction.
To tell you the truth, the difference between an 8 oz. wool and a 10 oz. wool won’t be readily apparent in our climate controlled environments. Well that’s not strictly true. The 10 oz. will resist creasing more easily. Firm cloth = less creasing. Tweed, springs to mind. But not for summer, of course.
The weave also makes a difference with open weaves creasing and holding the wrinkles more easily. A plain weave will crease, but “recovers” faster. The larger surface area and more compact construction of a flannel (compared to a worsted) makes it even more crease resistant. But even we have trouble recommending the traditional white flannel summer suit for business purposes. Besides, summer in England, or even New England, where they were once popular choices, is significantly different from summer in the Middle-Atlantic States.
So, what are we looking for then? Ideally, a high twist fabric, made from 10 oz. wool, that’s still lightweight enough to make you think cooler. Anything in the Super 120’s to Super 150’s range will feel great and keep you looking sharp. Some fabric mills (Scabal, with their Supertronic fabric, for example) produce high tech materials that are all wool, but twisted and spun to offer excellent crease resistance, a good drape and make up into a cooler garment. Lighter colors also reflect some heat and light, keeping your thermostat in check.
Take those fabrics and let us make them up into a very lightly constructed (even an unconstructed garment like the Arietta). Eliminating or minimizing the heavier canvassing and padding of the winter suits will keep things airier and lighter to wear. The heavier cloth will compensate for the lack of construction keeping the garment shape and you looking crisp and cool. Think 1/4 or 1/2 lined coats and trousers.
For those of you who travel a lot, a twill suit, minimally constructed is your best friend. So is the steamy bathroom to hang the suit in at your destination. Who knew that with all the humidity around these days that your suit could benefit from a bit more? To really keep going all day, we recommend that you do not drive or fly with your suit coat on and that you hang it up on a good shaped hanger (like those that come with our Sovereign grade suits) with some breathing room around it when not in use. Alternating your suits so that each is allowed to rest for a day between wearings is the 11th Commandment.