White suit – a casual option for summer

Posted by Atte Rytkönen on 31.5.2016 in General

Navy blue suit is a classic. Dark gray suit goes for business. Brown suit is good for casual business occasions. But what about white suit? Can other men than Leisure Suit Larry wear a white suit?

I remember when I was fifteen or sixteen years old and saw David Beckham wearing a white suit. At that time he was one of my style idols. So I wanted to have one for myself. In fact I think I even bought one. Pure white single-breasted linen suit from H&M. It was nothing fancy, a basic suit with fused construction, padded shoulders and flap pockets. But it fit me nicely. If I remember correctly it lasted about couple of years. Since that I haven’t had a white suit. Recently however I’ve been thinking that maybe I should get one.

Lino Ielluzzi wearing double-breasted white suit - the Sartorialist dinner
Italian style icon Lino Ielluzzi wearing a white double-breasted suit with white shirt and blue tie.

Why to buy a white suit?

Most guys who need to use suit on a daily basis already have that one navy or grey business suit. I have recommended myself that at least three first suits of every guy should be in darker shades of blue / grey. Dark shades are also preferable as they are more formal and more versatile options than lighter tones. In addition to those first more formal suits that should be dark blue or gray made of solid light weight wool, you may want to consider something else to bring variation to your selection. The choices vary from different patterns to multiple color choices.

Most of my articles and writings nowadays handle high-quality, perfectly fitting, staple business suits. Or accessories related to business wear. However it is good to remember also the other side of the spectrum; investing in affordable decent quality options can keep your wardrobe fresh, unexpected, and most importantly, fun. It is important to have those workhorse staples covered. But after that you should consider investing in suits and sport coats that are a little more casual for all those occasions that you’re not punching the clock. After all, suits don’t have to be synonymous with business.

And if you are looking for a casual summer suit, white suit featuring lightweight unstructured jacket and nicely fitted trousers can be an option worth considering.

White double breasted suit with light blue shirt and brown tie
This is one of the best interpretations of a white suit I have seen. Simple color combination and balanced matching of details and textures.

How to combine – what to wear with your white suit

First of all it is good to remember that there are white suits. And then there are white suits. With white trousers and jackets I recommend to opt for off-white shade instead of pure white. Unfortunately it is not easy to find an off-white or cream suit. But if you happen to find one that’s all you need for a casual and relaxed summer suit. Especially in lightweight fabrics such as cotton/silk blend or linen. The off-white color is in fact synonymous with warm spring and summer.

In terms of shirts best colors to combine your white suit with are light blue for more dressed-up occasions and denim blue for more casual attires. Different kind of striped shirts, white with blue striped for example are also a good option. And it is not wrong to pair your suit with white shirt. But in that case remember to wear a tie that brings enough contrast to your outfit. In general I would suggest to wear plain colored ties in shades of blue or brown. White suit even though it is plain, is still quite striking choice. Therefore I recommend to keep the rest of the outfit quite restrained.

What shoes to wear with your white summer suit? That depends on the situation. Brown suede tassel loafers are a staple choice. With them you can not really go wrong. Double or single monks can also be a good option. I personally would avoid wearing calf leather oxfords as they are way more formal choice than your suit. If you wearing a denim shirt without a tie with your suit, classic canvas sneakers can be just the right choice to complement the attire.

Finally, the right kind of white suit can actually be quite versatile. Usually it can easily be worn also as separates. Pair the jacket for example with some slightly distressed denim and and chambray popover shirt. Or take the trousers and wear them with striped button-up shirt and navy blue blazer. What you have is a classic summer set.

As mentioned above, appropriate white suits are not that easy to find. Bespoke or made-to-measure are always an option, but if you want to find a suit with a reasonable budget, check out this off-white cotton-linen suit by Suitsupply.

How would you combine a white suit?

White double breasted suit with hat
I would personally loose the hat. Otherwise a really good example how a cream white suit can be a perfect choice for summer.
Off white silk suit with denim shirt
White silk-wool mixture suit combined with denim. Casual but chic.

Pics via The Sartorialist and pinterest.