How to choose a summer jacket

Yellow seersucker jacket from Samuel Windsor

The best warm weather jackets and blazers
Image: Yellow seersucker jacket from Samuel Windsor

The best dressed men are those who stand out by perfectly fitting in. They’re the guys who, no matter the occasion, are always dressed appropriately in clothes we call ‘contemporary classic’. Even when the weather is hot and sticky.

If you’re looking to achieve the same effortless sartorial elegance, here’s everything you need to know about choosing the right jacket or blazer this summer.

Suit jackets

Tonic gray suit from Samuel Windsor

Your suit jacket should only be worn with your suit
Image: Formal suits from Samuel Windsor

A well cut suit jacket looks fabulous with your suit trousers. As an expensive purchase, it’s understandable that you want to get the most from it, but pairing your suit jacket with anything other than your suit trousers gets a resounding ‘no’ from us.

That’s because suits are usually made from worsted wool. This fine weave fabric has a certain sheen which just doesn’t go well with denim or even chino pants. Please leave your suit jacket in the closet – if you need a jacket or blazer, there are plenty of others to choose from.

Men’s tweed jackets

Summer-weight tweed Ripon jacket from Samuel Windsor

Tweed is not just for winter
Image: Summer-weight tweed Ripon jacket from Samuel Windsor

The original Harris tweed comes from the remote island of Harris in the Scottish Outer Hebrides where it was originally made as work wear for the locals. It was discovered by the Prince of Wales (later to become King Edward VIII of Great Britain) who loved to wear tweed when he visited the royal estates in Scotland. As a firm favorite of the UK and US press, the Prince helped tweed gain wide appeal.

Tweed remains one of the most versatile fabrics known to man. Whenever you’re really not sure which jacket you should reach for, this is almost certainly the right one. A tweed jacket goes with chinos, moleskins, denim, cords, flannel, wool – in fact anything except your suit pants which belong with your suit.

You can wear a tweed jacket when you go out for dinner; you can wear it to your sports club. Tweed looks great when you’re heading to your favorite coffee shop, bar or bistro. Wear a tweed jacket to a smart casual wedding, wear it to Rotary. This jacket really does cover most bases and most seasons too, with summer-weight tweed a perfect choice for the warmer months.

Men’s Oxford jackets

Men’s gray Oxford jacket from Samuel Windsor

Made from 100% cotton, this jacket is perfect for warm weather
Image: Men’s gray Oxford jacket from Samuel Windsor

An Oxford jacket is a great spring-summer option for offices that don’t insist you wear a suit. It’s also a great choice for smart casual wear. Choose this cotton jacket in a pale, neutral color and pair it with chinos that offer some contrast – say, a lilac jacket and navy pants.

This cotton jacket is suitable for al fresco dining, for summer garden parties, church or social club events, and for work as long as your office has a smart casual dress policy. Choose loafers to go with this jacket combination.

Men’s seersucker jackets

mens seersucker jacket in coral from Samuel Windsor

Seersucker keeps you cool when it’s hot and sticky
Image: Seersucker jacket in coral from Samuel Windsor

Originally from Persia, and arriving in America via British India, the seersucker jacket is a must for every smartly-dressed American. In fact, when the mercury climbs, seersucker should be your first choice – not only does it look great, the unique texture of the fabric helps increase the flow of air over your skin, helping to keep you cool on searingly hot days.

Seersucker suits those who love the classic style of the archetypal southern gentleman. If that’s you, pair the jacket with a crisp white shirt and some chinos. Those who like the preppy look could choose pants that offer a little more contrast – a navy seersucker jacket looks fantastic with khaki pants and a pair of loafers or boat shoes.

Men’s twill jackets

Navy twill jacket from Samuel Windsor

Style and structure with a British flavor
Image: Navy twill jacket from Samuel Windsor

A twill jacket offers something a little more British in its style cues. Back in the days of the old British Empire, twill, which features a unique diagonal weave, was standard issue for military personnel and colonial administrators alike.

These days, the tailoring of these jackets continues to be British, and as such, offers structure in the shoulders, tapering through the waist, plus the double vents which were originally intended to make military jackets look more flattering when worn by soldiers on horseback.

Contemporary twill jackets are cotton jackets with color options taken from a modern palette. They’re good for work, and at play, but are probably slightly more formal than an Oxford or seersucker jacket. They’re practical too – twill is a tighter weave so you get more threads packed into the fabric making it a great choice for outdoor events where a cool breeze could spoil your afternoon.

Men’s linen jackets

Mens Effortlessly cool and stylish linen is mixed with cotton to prevent wrinkles Image: Langton linen-mix blazer

Effortlessly cool and stylish linen is mixed with cotton to prevent wrinkles
Image: Langton linen-mix blazer

Another firm favorite for warm weather, a linen jacket helps keep you cool like no other fabric. That’s for two reasons. First, linen has amazing wicking properties – linen wicks moisture away from your skin better than any other natural fabric. And second, linen has a looser weave than other fabrics, leaving plenty of room for air to circulate.

Linen also looks great. You can wear it as a suit or as separates for weddings, graduations and summer parties, or simply as part of your everyday warm weather wardrobe. Pair it with summer-weight chinos, or contrasting linen pants. The drawback with linen is its tendency to crease – if you don’t like that look, go for a linen-cotton mix which keeps its shape better.

Now that you’re ready to choose the right jacket for every occasion, that smartly dressed chap everyone admires and many secretly envy – will be you!

Posted in Men's Style Guides.

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