Whether you’re looking for a casual suit for weddings, work or your next European adventure (bon voyage!), a casual suit can be the key to opening the most debonair of doors. Here’s the skinny on how to craft the right suit, from tip (of your collar) to toe.
A casual suit is where you can let your fabric fetish run wild—brighter or more interesting shades of wool, linen, silk, cotton or blends of the above... It’s all good!
Just have a think about when you might like to wear it and go from there. A linen suit is a superb item for summer weddings, parties or even casual workplaces (particularly as a means to elevating casual Friday) but won’t perform as well when the temperature drops. But hey, most parties are in summer right? And it’s always good to have something in the closet for a last minute Amalfi trip!
A wool suit in a more interesting pattern, texture or colour, whether a royal or light blue, something in the beige/tan/cream spectrum, or even something bolder still, is a good year round bet. But choosing very bold checks can be risky - you may find yourself running in to special event fatigue, where the showmanship of your suit is so recognisable everybody remembers it from the last major event. Pull the brakes ever so slightly and you’ll be able to use shirts and accessories to make it look like you’re wearing a different suit each time.
Controversially, we’re going to say that a casual suit is better with a notch lapel (like the above image). Whether that’s a wider notch or a skinnier notch (or something in the middle) you can decide based on preference, body shape and whether you want to draw attention to your shoulder width (wider lapel) or not (smaller lapel).
Buttons and pockets are two distinguishing characteristics of a casual suit. Have some fun with buttons and pick something a little more playful—unlike a business suit, it doesn’t have to be subtle. Whether that’s a lighter shade of brown or something bold like shell white, go bold (but maybe do some research on the #InstaMenswear #InStitchuStyle crowd before pulling the trigger, to see what works for your style of suit). Your jacket pockets should be the less formal patch pockets. These two subtle elements—patch pockets and casual contrasting buttons—are the two hallmarks of a casual suit. Generally, that means you can’t wear the suit in a formal workplace, but you can wear the jacket with chinos, separates or even jeans (perfect for workplace casual Fridays).
Not to throw a spanner in the works, but have you considered double breasted? If you’ve always wanted to dip your toe in the dark arts of double-breasted tailoring, but you’ve been fearful or what your colleagues/boss might say, your casual suit may be the perfect opportunity.
In terms of the suiting construction, a half-canvas structure will give you all the structure and form you need. If you’re going to be wearing the suit in warmer months, a lighter weight construction may even be useful.
It’s a casual suit, so why not have some fun with the details? Add some colourful lining, monogram initials on the inside, and cuff the trouser. Also, chuck in some side tabs so you can ditch the belt and maintain proper pant height regardless of your dance floor eagerness.