Man up: How to tailor suits for hot weather

Updated on September 11 2017

They say that a good suit should fit like your second skin. Indeed, one inescapable facet of formal menswear is that the clothes have very little leeway when it comes to fit.

Nowhere is this cardinal rule seen more than in the art of suit tailoring where every inch makes a mile of difference. Sure it takes a little more time than getting it off the rack but you get a suit that’s fashioned to the contours of your silhouette. Even so, there’s one benefit that many of us have overlooked: the ability to tailor suits for hot weather.

Besides aesthetic measurements like shoulder width, length and whether your prefer a slim or relaxed fit, the construction and fabric of your choice is a matter of practically. It directly affects your level of comfort — a point not to ignore especially if you’re wearing the ensemble the entire day.

While the bulk of suiting is geared towards the climes of the Northern hemisphere, fear not for those of us wanting to look sharp without suffocating in the heat do have options.

From unlined jackets to fabric choice and even colour, the next time you head to the tailor, arm yourself with this handy guide on how to tailor suits for hot weather. After all, if that suit should fit like your second skin, then it better feel like it too.

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Pick the single breasted blazer over double breasted

Double breasted blazers have been in vogue in recent years albeit with slimmer, sharper silhouettes. Unfortunately for us who live near the equator, it’s also the warmer option. Instead, go for a single breasted blazer for one simple reason: You’re allowed to keep it unbuttoned. The double breasted blazer in contrast, is an ensemble where buttoning up is mandatory — not doing so would only leave you looking sloppy.

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Choose thinner fabric types

Wool, tweed and even cashmere are plush options but if you intend on pounding the pavement in a suit constructed out of these fabrics, forget them. They’re great if you’re wearing your suit in winter, or at least staying indoors in this part of the world but its thickness and heat-trapping capabilities will only lead to you sweating through the day. Instead, go for lighter, more breathable fabrics like cotton, linen and even silk. These options have a wider weave, which means that the spacing in between each tiny thread is that much wider, allowing more air to pass through.

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Keep it unlined

Part of what makes a blazer so bulky is what’s inside: the canvassing and the lining. The canvassing is a structural element that gives the jacket its shape while the lining is the smooth thin layer that protects your skin from the scratchiness of suiting fabrics. To keep it suitable for our climate, consider asking your tailor to make a jacket without both. The fewer layers you have on, the better. Yes, this removes the structured conservatism of the corporate world and leans into the arena of the sport jacket but keeping it in safe colours (namely black) would serve you well.

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Choose lighter colours

Remember the common adage where dark colours trap heat? It’s no different with suits. While black is a staple in every man’s wardrobe, it’s also one that absorbs light energy the most. Choose light colours, especially if you’re tailoring a suit for leisurewear. Those looking for safer corporate options can go for grey and navy blue if your work social situation allows.