When summer finally arrives, it’s time to switch out your wardrobe for lighter materials and brighter colours. While we have blogged previously on office-friendly summer attire for women, this post focuses solely on men’s summer attire.
For men in business formal environments, there is no substitute for the suit. But the material and colour of the suit can vary as the months warm up, and there is an even greater range of choices for outdoor or more casual functions. We also provide crisp and cool options for summer business casual attire and accessories.
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Suit Up for Summer
A dark wool suit can weigh you down as the temperatures climb. Alternative materials that function better in the summer but still make a fine, professional suit include:
- Chino: Because chino is made from 100% cotton, the material breathes better and is much lighter than wool. Chino suits are often a light brown or khaki colour, but a dark blue chino suit will add a level of formality.
- Seersucker: Also made from cotton, the seersucker suit is a classic look in the blazingly hot southern United States. But since Canadian temperatures also can climb at the peak of summer, seersucker might be a suit of choice in July. While seersucker suits traditionally are patterned with very light blue and white stripes, a dark navy seersucker suit again can make a summery suit more office-ready.
- Linen: As a very light and breathable material, a white linen suit is best for outdoor formal occasions, such as garden parties or weddings. The linen suit is not as appropriate for the boardroom, so keep it on reserve for celebratory functions.
Summer Shirts and Accessories
Paired with a suit for business formal or worn alone for business casual, find the best summer shirt that matches your personal style and office dress code – and summer accessories to go with it.
- Summer dress shirts: Though it depends on your office culture, business formal dress codes and most business casual dress codes recommend a long-sleeved dress shirt at any time of year. In the summer, crisp cotton dress shirts in white, pale blue, or mint green provide a breezy summer palette. Certain linen shirts may also look office-ready, but make sure you opt for a clean, tailored cut. In more casual environments, try a seasonal pattern like gingham or light check to mix it up.
- Ties and pocket squares: If you would rather stick with a solid colour shirt but still want a hint of a summer pattern, find a tie or pocket square in your pattern of choice. A tie in a pastel plaid, gingham, pale stripe, or lightly-coloured silk knit would all be sunny and suitable options.
Accessories: While most summer accessories (like sunglasses, baseball caps, and flip-flops) do not belong in the office, you can still subtly nod to summer with professional accessories. For example, switch out your black leather watchband for lighter brown or tan leather. A tie clip with a hint of gold can radiate a sunny glow. Or, get creative with cufflinks in a subtle nautical pattern or with a mother of pearl inlay.