A Summer of Suits

A Summer of Suits

Summer tailoring is almost an entire menswear genre of itself, distinctly separate from the tailoring that we tend to wear the rest of the year.  Soft linen fabrics, unstructured silhouettes, colours that aren't navy or charcoal - summer tailoring has an altogether more relaxed appeal, like an extension of our casualwear wardrobes, only with lapels.

Tailoring has long existed on the formal end of the menswear spectrum - at least in most people's minds - but it hasn't actually always been the case. The British were some of the first to take the classic blazer silhouette and mix it with sportswear. Think of the rowing blazers of the mid 19th century - these were used as warm-up jackets by Oxbridge oarsmen, who then had the sheer audacity to wear them to social events too! And thus a trend was formed. From there, the blazer's relationship with sportswear became lifelong, with players of those most noble of sports - cricket and tennis - choosing to don the softly tailored (and sometimes knitted) blazer atop their respective whites.

 Fairway Jacket Causton Taupe

Fairway Jacket
Causton Taupe

Claremont Trousers Causton Taupe

Claremont Trousers
Causton Taupe

New York Special Shirt Norton Blue

New York Special
Shirt Norton Blue

But if the British invented sports lux way back when, the concept did not permeate into everyday suiting. The British have traditionally approached tailoring like it's a suit of armour, all structure, power and bravado, but for the Italians modern tailoring means something else entirely: unstructured sophistication that is less about 'smart' and more about casual sophistication. They even invented a word for it: 'Sprezzatura' - which first appeared in Baldassare Castiglione's 1528 The Book of the Courtier, where it is defined by as "a certain nonchalance, so as to conceal all art and make whatever one does or says appear to be without effort and almost without any thought about it."

Theobald Jacket
Bove Navy

Fishtail Trousers Bove Navy

Fishtail Trousers
Bove Navy

Conduit T-Shirt Hawley Pink

Conduit T-Shirt
Hawley Pink

Our suits are designed to be worn in a relaxed way that doesn't presuppose a classic shirt and tie, but are in fact better suited to a more laid-back approach with shirts, polos, and tees. Linen and cotton blends in neutral tones are ideal for summer events, because they're lightweight, breathable, and have a subtle textural finish that evades any notion of formality. And yet you still have the traditional suit silhouette with a notch or peak lapel to make you feel elegant and sophisticated.

 Theobald Jacket Oakes Brown

Theobald Jacket
Oakes Brown

Fishtail Trousers Oakes Brown

Fishtail Trousers
Oakes Brown

Havana Short Sleeve Shirt Bishop Pink

Havana Short Sleeve
Shirt Bishop Pink


For casual summer events, it's this equilibrium between smart and casual that almost always strikes the right note. A sartorial basis with casual tweaks, be it with a collarless shirt or pair of suede loafers , offers a much more easy-going interpretation of smart, and feels altogether more modern.

We've always approached suits and separates with a relaxed nonchalance, preferring the soft drape of an unstructured blazer and the contemporary finish of a cropped trouser. Tailoring for us is about casual elegance and versatility. Just because a blazer conforms to the traditional shape and cut, doesn't mean you can't wear it with a t-shirt or polo and a pair of rolled up drawstring trousers.

 Wyndhams Jacket Bove Sky Blue

Wyndhams Jacket
Bove Sky Blue

Drawstring Trousers Bove Sky Blue

Drawstring Trousers
Bove Sky Blue

Havana Short Sleeve Shirt Bridford White

Havana Short Sleeve
Shirt Bridford White

Perhaps the reason why the Italian sartorialists have stolen a march on us is simply the weather. Predictably warm days for the best part of the year does help somewhat when it comes to dressing down tailoring. Suits fabrics become lighter, with less and less structure, and separates really come into their own, allowing you to integrate a multitude of different linen and cotton options on both halves of your body. At Oliver Spencer, we design all of our tailoring with this in mind. Even our suits often have more than one style of matching trouser, whether it's a drawstring, judo, or fishtail style. But the beauty of the tailoring collection is in the way you can mix and match the jackets and trouser styles.

 Double-Breasted Jacket Arnold Navy

Double-Breasted Jacket
Arnold Navy

Belted Trousers Arnold Navy

Belted Trousers
Arnold Navy

Havana Short Sleeve Shirt Norton Blue

Havana Short Sleeve
Shirt Norton Blue


This summer, we're thinking about the blazer as a smart-casual layer to wear with polos, tees, and shirts with a soft roll in the collar (the type you'd wear on a weekend, not to the office.) We're also thinking a lot about incorporating different textures into our tailored looks, which is why we've created suits in both organic cotton and a beautifully soft and slubby Irish linen. Both are extremely tactile and thus give your look that something else, especially if you're sticking to a muted tonal palette without much colour contrast.

Also don't be afraid to throw some curveballs into your tailoring this summer with the addition of shorts instead of trousers. Womenswear has stolen a march on the men by being so much more flexible and experimental in the way they have appropriated traditionally male tailoring tropes. There's no reason why you can't add a pair of linen shorts to a jacket to create a slightly bohemian tailored look. Ultimately, tailoring isn't there to hide behind. It's not that suit of armour anymore. It's a far more fluid and dextrous genre of menswear and that's why we continue to love making it.

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