Just when you thought the summer had been cancelled, it now looks very much back on, which means many of those wedding invitations still stand. Whether it’s a wedding you need to attend or any other smart social event this summer, you can’t turn up in ‘lockdown louche’ - no, your tailoring needs to be on point.
Summer tailoring is less about uniformity and more about comfort and breaking the rules, or at the very least bending them a bit. There’s nothing worse than being at an event on a hot summer’s day, and literally dying of heat exhaustion under your fully-canvassed pinstriped three-piece. You want to keep your woollen yarns at the back of your wardrobe and opt for soft and lightweight cotton, linen and seersucker instead. We love working with these fabrics because of the particularly natural and loose way they drape, making them perfect for warm conditions. They also have a natural crumple to them which adds to the texture and dilutes any formality normally associated with suiting.
At Oliver Spencer, we specialise in the very antithesis of the ‘work suit’, following a more casual tailoring blueprint. Hence we don’t canvas or half canvas our jackets. In fact, we completely remove all of the traditional padding and structure so that you’re left with the most natural of drapes. Needless to say, with the bulk removed, the jackets are extremely lightweight and easy to wear. They also don’t have that stiffness you get from the classic English-style blazer and can be easily styled with a tee, polo shirt, camp-collar shirt or even fine-gauge knitwear.
It would be wise to take a 'sprezzatura'-shaped leaf out of the Italians’ book, or more specifically, Baldassare Castiglione's 1528 tome The Book of the Courtier, wherein he defines the term 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”. Basically, look good without seeming a try-hard. This can be accomplished quite easily with the aforementioned cotton and linen fabrics (our Brookes jackets are a great example of a classic tailored silhouette that has been unstructured so as to appear more relaxed), but also with your choice of shirt. Avoid the stiff, tall, classic spread collar and go for something with a softer roll to it, such as our organic cotton Clerkenwell Tab shirts. They still hold a tie really well if the occasion calls for it, but they're best worn open for a more laidback look. A Grandad collar shirt is also a great option if you prefer to avoid a structured collar but don't want to go down the t-shirt and tailoring route.
The versatility of our tailoring is further enhanced by the fact that we create a variety of different trouser styles to accompany the jacket, some less formal than others. For example, we produce a classic pleated trouser that is cut higher on the waist for that 50s look on the one hand, while on the other we also create judo trousers that come slightly cropped and feature a patch pocket on the left thigh for a much more casual look. Depending on the occasion, you could style the former with a classic button-down Oxford and tie or the latter with a more relaxed camp-collar short-sleeved shirt. Our fishtail trousers are a happy go-between, with a subtle taper from the thigh to enhance and elongate your silhouette.
Your colour palette doesn’t have to be all summer pastels and Miami Vice, but they certainly don’t hurt. If you’re a little shy when it comes to bolder hues, then think sand, cream, that end of the spectrum. Don’t discount the resourcefulness of navy either. It might be safe, but safe can easily be tweaked to chic with the addition of a nice shirt and some great loafers (if you haven’t seen Paraboot’s latest styles, click here. Very nice indeed).
So that’s you’re tailoring sorted then. Now all you have to consider is how not to make an absolute spectacle of yourself on the post-dinner dance floor. Easier said than done.
Summer Tailoring for Every Event