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. They're designed to be worn in a laidback way that doesn't presuppose the combination of a classic shirt and tie, but looks equally at home if you want to more formal. If a dress code isn't a problem, then we love pairing our unstructured suits with soft-collared polo shirts or tees for more of a chic resort vibe that you can wear with lo-fi sneakers, loafers, or sandals.

 
 
 
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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.

 
 
 
 

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."


 
 
 
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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.

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.


 
 
 
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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.

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.