What is a morning suit? What should it look like? Where should you wear it? And do you definitely need a top hat? Dario Carnera of Savile Row tailors Huntsman explains all.

Over the course of 2018, Country Life is releasing a series of style guides, in conjunction with Huntsman, detailing the proper way to dress for a modern gentleman. This is the fifth part: morning dress. Dario Carnera, Huntsman’s Head Cutter, gives his advice about the only suit to wear for weddings and at the races.

What exactly is morning dress?

Morning dress is essentially formal day wear; generally a black feather weave morning coat with a contrast colour vest, usually in a pastel shade or a buff or dove grey, paired with a formal trouser, which is known as a cashmere stripe.

What types of morning suit are there?

There are two main morning suit designs to choose from: the traditional black, with a cashmere stripe trouser; and for summer, you can also wear an all-grey morning suit. If you go for grey, all three pieces need to be the same colour, usually in a shark’s tooth fabric.

Huntsman morning suit

What material should a morning suit be made from?

A morning coat is generally made from a black feather weave fabric. Feather weave is a very small herringbone; the reason for this is that it has light reflective qualities, and will keep you cool to a certain degree. A linen vest underneath helps, but you’re never going to be too cool in a morning suit!

For an added style feature on your morning vest, add slips. These lie just inside the edge of the vest, and it’s a nice way of framing the shirt and tie.

Huntsman morning suit

What are ‘cashmere stripe’ trousers?

Cashmere stripe trousers aren’t actually made from cashmere; this is simply the name of the stripe pattern. There are no set rules when buying a cashmere stripe trouser, and there are many different designs. My personal preference is for a strong contrast between black and grey, without too wide a stripe.

Do I have to wear a top hat?

Yes, if you’re wearing a morning suit outdoors. This should be fitted properly at a hatter, who will steam and shape the hat to your head.

Can women wear morning suits?

They can now, thanks to one of my favourite-ever Huntsman morning suits. It was one we created last year, the first bespoke morning suit created for a woman – and it marked the first time a woman has worn morning dress to Ascot, something which was very well received. It was important for Huntsman to showcase this innovation, and I am very proud of our involvement.

Huntsman morning suit