How to choose a linen suit that’ll keep you feeling cool and looking smart

A lightweight summer suit is a must for every gentleman's wardrobe. Campell Carey of Huntsman offers his tips on how to get one that's just right for your needs.

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: the linen suit.

Follow these links to catch up on the previous guides to wearing Black Tiechoosing a gentleman’s overcoat, the classic tweed sports coat and the business suit.

Summer suits are perfect for the fine weather of this time of year, whether you’re heading to a garden party, one of the great flower shows or heading down to watch the tennis at Wimbledon.

Campell Carey, head cutter at Huntsman, has these tips on how to get one that’s just right for you.

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What cloth to choose

For a summer suit, linen is both lightweight and breathable. However, it is susceptible to creasing, so there are alternatives.

A cloth that has an open weave will make the garment breathable. A lightweight, high twist cloth offers the best of both worlds, allowing for comfort in the heat, with crease resistance.

The colour

Don’t be afraid of going too light in colour – it might seem a bit much while you’re looking at cloth indoors, but it’ll make total sense as soon as you’re out in the sunshine. A Prince of Wales check will still look great, but if there’s a part of you that hankers after cream linen then don’t be afraid to go for it.

Huntsman linen suit

You still need a lining

To improve the experience of wearing a summer suit, think about having it half lined, or ‘buggy lined’. This means the inside of the jacket is only half lined, making it lighter without losing the fit.

Matching the weight of cloth to that of your shirt also helps; a voile, or lightweight shirt can help in any heat.

Single-or double-breasted?

I’d always go for a single-breasted for a summer suit. A double-breasted jacket has an additional two layers of cloth and canvas on the front –  not what you want in the heat.

Huntsman linen suit

The question of trousers

For summer trousers, pleats are best since they’re looser and cool. The cut is slightly fuller in the leg, allowing more breathability.

With such a light cloth, there’s one other thing to note: the trousers will need weights at the bottom of the leg so that they keep their shape.

How about accessories?

Think garden party: a cravat will work well, as will a Panama hat or a boater. And don’t forget your linen pocket square.