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Wear heavier suits

8 August 2012


Talking to Parisian tailors this past week, it struck me how many clients push for lighter and lighter-weight cloths for their suits. In many ways, this can be misguided.

First, as Julien de Luca pointed in the recent piece on Camps de Luca, the structure of a bespoke suit can only be reduced so far. Having a lighter cloth doesn’t make much difference beyond a certain point, and risks being disproportional to the canvas and so on.

Second, you can wear far more clothes than you think. In warm weather it seems crazy to some people to wear a jacket and long socks, but you get used to it surprisingly quickly. Wool breathes extremely well, as the British Cool Wool campaign would tell you, or indeed makers of sportswear like Rapha. The socks should be cotton, though.

Indeed, it is not necessarily the most intelligent thing to remove all your clothes when it gets hot. The skin heats up quickly in direct sunlight and can be much cooler under the shade of a suit’s sleeve or trouser leg. There’s a reason that traditional Arabic dress is not shorts and a T-shirt.

Third, and possibly most important, heavier cloths look a lot better. They keep their shape, they drape better across your perfectly tailored form and they carry accessories more easily. Go for a 13oz suit, not an 11oz, for England most of the year round. Go for a heavier linen suit – the coolness is already in the cloth. And consider changing the weave to a hopsack or a fresco before you reduce the weight.

Wear better suits. Wear heavier suits.