A simple blue, brown or tobacco linen suit is a classic piece in men's wardrobe. You could even call it a summer wardrobe staple. This summer I decided to add this classic to my own rotation. And well, the brown linen suit has already been my most worn suit for the season.
The fabrics you want to have in your everyday wardrobe when the temperature rises should be breathable and comfortable. And naturally natural fibers are better than anything else in the hot seasons. And when you talk about breathable fabrics, linen is in top of that list. Therefore it is also one of the most popular choices for summer tailoring.
In general linen suits especially in earthy, subdued colors are a great idea for summer. In my opinion they are not as versatile as cotton suits but they're still cool and comfortable. You just need to be careful of one thing: looking too dowdy. As linen is a fabric that will rumple and stretch out very quickly, the cut and fit of your linen suit is (again) everything.
Do you need a linen suit?
What one need is always a relative question. I managed quite a long time without a linen suit. I had one or two years ago but then I let them go. And for quite a while I thought about getting one but did not pull the trigger. Until this summer. As I needed (read wanted) a new summer suit, I thought I could give linen a try. I have some pieces in fabric that is made of wool, linen and silk and that is in my opinion one of the best summer fabrics. It gives you the lightness of linen but it still keeps it nicely in shape. However, now it was time for some linen.
To put it shortly, linen as a fabric is spun from fibres from flax plants. The name actually derives from the Latin name for the plant, 'Linum'. To make the fabric, hand-harvested flax stalks go through several stages on their way to becoming the finished linen product. And this is why especially the best linen fabrics can run high in price. But I would still say that the price is worth it. As said, a simple brown or tobacco linen suit is a classic piece. You could even call it a summer wardrobe staple.
Breathability and ease
The summer in Finland has been extraordinary hot. For many it has been to hot to wear any suit, jacket or trousers. One of the best aspects of linen is the breathability. As linen has a considerably lower thread count than other fabrics such as cotton, it is therefore extremely breathable. The nature of the material means that it is light and comfortable. And it has a high moisture absorbency. Therefore it is a perfect choice for the warmer weather months of the year. Even when the temperature raises above 30 degrees.
Linen is also one of the oldest suiting fabrics and it was favored all over the ancient world for its unique cooling properties. But nowadays linen has become a more refined and comes in many different color options. Linen also got an evident texture and holds dyes in a unique way. This gives the fabric a strong and distinct personality.
Also, even though linen might not be as versatile choice as cotton, linen suits are still more versatile than you might think. Linen suits are quite easy to wear as separates and the fabric can give off entirely different vibes depending on what you pair it with. Linen in general has quite a casual feel in it. But still experimenting with different shirts and ties, or even skipping the tie altogether, can take your look from casual to smart in moments.
Holland and Sherry brown linen fabric - The suit by Herrainpukimo
When I was making up my mind about the upcoming commission for the suit, I decided to go with Herrainpukimo as I had three suits from them in my wardrobe already. And especially with the last two of them I have got the measurements nailed pretty much perfectly. The trousers in fact fit me better than any other trousers in my wardrobe. So ordering the suit was pretty easy. We basically only changed two things compared to my earlier suits. First of all I wanted to go for patch pockets again. Mainly because I wanted the suit jacket to be as casual as possible. The second change was the width of the lapels. Whereas the earlier jackets have had lapels with 9cm width, we this time decided to add 1cm. So the lapels are even wider than before. And I quite like the result.
The fabric is made by Holland&Sherry and it is in fact very nice. The linen is quite crispy, yet it has broken in pretty nicely with some wear. The shade of brown is somewhere in between dark brown and chocolate brown. Easy to pair with different shades of brown and blue as well as with different shades of white. Just as I wanted.
The brown linen suit - suit up with a tie
In terms of dressing up for business I think that the same rules apply to linen than to cotton suits and sport coats. A linen suit is a good and appropriate choice for casual business occasions during summer season. Or good pieces to wear at the office. But especially if you are under a strict dress code, I wouldn't wear linen for the most formal business occasions. For a hot summer day a linen suit is definitely a better option than going without a suit at all. If you need to be dressed up.
Linen suit is a great option for summer weddings
I wrote earlier about dressing up for wedding parties. And for casual summer parties, linen suit is actually a great choice. I have worn mine in many occasions this summer and been very satisfied with it. A navy blue, off-white or brown linen suit is actually a piece that will make you stand up in the crowd just in the right way. And even though it is a more casual choice than lightweight wool suits for example, you can always pair it with a tie. After all it is a suit.
As you can see in the pics, blue and different shades of brown are as usual easy options when you choose a tie to pair with the suit. The brown shantung tie or a navy blue grenadine tie have been my go-to choices this summer with this particular suit. If you want to add a pattern to your outfit, a linen tie with some floral pattern would be an ideal match.
Brown linen suit trousers with sport coat
I am not that good wearing suits as separates. I usually go for the full suit look. And then I have sport coats and odd trousers. But this suit I have actually worn quite a lot already as separates. The trousers with sport coats like you see here. Or with just casual polo shirts, which has in fact been one of my favorite combinations this summer.
One of the most important aspects when you wear suit trousers with odd jackets is naturally the fit and cut of the trousers. And that those two things are in pair with the jacket you wear them with. I like my trousers with higher waist. This way they are in my opinion also easier to wear with odd jackets. The high waist combined with a casual jacket as the linen safari inspired jacket you see in pictures creates a nice and balanced silhouette. And then you can choose whether you want to go for that three buttons of the shirt open look or not.
Brown linen suit jacket with odd trousers
I have noticed that for me it is usually easier to wear the suit trousers with sport coats or just with a shirt. This might be because many of my suit jackets have for example roped shoulders which in my opinion don't work that well in sport coats. But the jacket of this suit is also appropriate to wear on its own. And here is one example of that. The brown linen suit jacket with a simple white DLA oxford shirt and light gray lighweight wool trousers.
The trousers are actually also part of a suit. In fact part of my favorite suit, an mtm-piece by Vaatturiliike Sauma. You can read more about that suit from my earlier posts here or here. This is once again very simple combination. Three colors altogether and no patterns. Even the textures of the fabrics are quite restrained. But still I feel that the outfit is interesting - not boring in any way.
Sum up - give linen a try
As already said, brown linen suit is a good option for anyone looking for variation to his summer wardrobe. And you can also easily use it as separates. If you don't want to go for a full suit look - replace the trousers with a pair of lightweight denim, drop the tie and you have a perfect casual Saturday brunch outfit. Just remember that once again a suit like this should fit softly and be as breathable as possible.
Finally, more than any other fabric, linen loves to crease and crumble. But don't be afraid of that. Instead embrace those very characteristic wrinkles. After all linen looks best when it's beautifully rumpled. But always iron and press your linen garments before wearing them. That way you get a bit more formal and refined look. As you go through the day you can see some wrinkles on your outfit for sure. But that's just a feature, not a fault. And well, when it's sunny and extremely hot outside, no one notices the wrinkles. But people will definitely notice how unbothered by heat you look in your linen suit.
Pictures by Malin Sandberg.