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The Best Men’s Linen Suits & Tailoring for Summer Occasions in 2024

FEATURE: LONG READ
Words by Tony Wilkes

When archaeologists discovered Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922, they found inside, among other things, linen. Whether the pharaoh was partial to a linen suit for his summer occasions is open to conjecture, but the fact remains: linen is one of the oldest and best-loved fabrics around. Whether you’re attending a garden party, Wimbledon or a destination wedding, here’s why a linen suit should be your sartorial wingman this season – and how to wear one.

The Benefits of Linen

In his 1964 classic ABC of Men’s Fashion, designer Hardy Amies wrote of linen: ‘There is nothing more comfortable or more pleasant to see’. Entirely natural and relatively sustainable, linen is spun from flax – a plant fibre – which requires fewer resources to grow than cotton and has no need for harmful pesticides. It is extremely long-wearing, and (when you do wear it out) will biodegrade. But linen’s main advantages arise in summer. If you’ve RSVP’d to a wedding or are currently planning your own, the likelihood is you’ll be battling heat. According to Forbes, the destination wedding industry is expected to grow to around £62 billion by 2027 – and a wedding calls for suits. But how to wear one without breaking a sweat?

“Linen is thermo-regulatory, capable of absorbing humidity, and allows for natural comfort,” explains Sease founder Franco Loro Piana. In other words, it’s the fabric to keep you cool. Naysayers may argue that such lightness and breathability lead to its one single fault: wrinkling. But that is also its charm. Linen tailoring conjures a certain nonchalant sophistication: sprezzatura the Italians call it. Perhaps that’s why many of the strongest brands in this area hail from Italy.

The Case for a Linen Suit

Much was forecast about the decline of shirts and ties. Between us, gents, they aren’t going anywhere. If you’re attending any smart summer occasion, a full suit is still the order of the day. By nature linen feels relaxed and informal, but worn as a suit it will look polished and sophisticated. Hot weather calls for lighter hues: cream, light blue, pale salmon. These don’t just please the eye, they’ll also deflect the sun’s rays to keep you cool.

When it comes to accessories, the natural footwear partner to linen is surely the loafer. Smart yet relaxed, classic penny styles in leather or suede are fail-safe, especially in contrast dark brown or matching pale tones. A nice idea is to match your shoes to your belt: Brunello Cucinelli’s woven leather loafers, for instance, pair well with Zegna braiding for a touch of texture. And to complete the story? A pair of classic, understated sunglasses by way of Gucci or Oliver Peoples. When they’re not shielding your eyes, they’ll look dapper in your chest pocket.

Male model wears beige Canali suit and navy tie standing in sunny location

Canali suit, Paul Smith shirt, Eton tie, Gucci sunglasses, Brunello Cucinelli shoes

Video of male model wearing beige Canali suit and navy tie standing in sunny location
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It’s Fine to Mix and Match

Tailoring in various forms has appeared across the board at menswear brands this season. The proposition is compellingly fresh – a new man, a new mood, a new look – spurred on by the demand from a younger generation who have never experienced strict corporate dress codes. Today, much tailoring arrives with laid-back ease.

The sensibility calls for a new way of styling. At Zegna, Alessandro Sartori proclaims that traditional suiting has shifted to coordinated modular garments – those that mix and match. His softly elegant ‘new suits’ are paired with casual staples elevated to the level of tailoring: tank tops, bowling shirts and the spring staple ‘shacket’ blended into one seamless whole. Try pairing your blazer with casual chinos or belted trousers, and finish with new loafer-sneaker hybrids (like Canali’s) or neat leather sandals – ideal for garden parties or alfresco dinners.

Man wearing salmon pink blazer and mismatched dark tailored trousers
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As well as exclusive tailoring events, you’ll find all-year-round bespoke suiting services from TOM FORD, Zegna, Giorgio Armani, Saman Amel and more in Menswear on the Second Floor. Contact our dedicated team to find out more and book your appointment.

 

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Summer Occasions

Off to an event? Or, perhaps you’re hosting one yourself. Consider this hub your best friend for the coming months.

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