Often consigned to a category entitled ‘novelty suits’, the white suit has gotten a bad rap recently. On figures like Diddy it cuts an ostentatious, flashy figure; a symbol of wealth and excess; while on others like Tom Wolfe and Mark Twain, it demonstrates refinement, and the bygone age of the Southern Gentleman.
However, there are still some careful guidelines that need to be observed when adopting this look. We’ve assembled a few ground rules that will have you looking more dapper than dandy.
When You Can Wear a White Suit
Though the khaki suit has become the summer suit of choice, some men still wonder just how to work a white suit. Ostentatious and flashy, it’s the hallmark of either the wealthy rake or the Southern Gentleman. By emulating the latter and not the former, you can cut a stylish figure at the right moments with this suit.
The best rule here is that the suit must be worn in warm weather: specifically, only in weather above 22 degrees Celsius (72 Fahrenheit). Men living in warmer climates can get a lot of use out of a white suit, and this piece should definitely prove more useful for sticking out the heat than gray or khaki.
Summer parties in the open air, daytime weddings, and the Labor Day white party are all perfect times to rock the white suit. Basically, any time the mercury rises, a white suit is an appropriate choice that will look smart.
Paired with a white suit, your shirt instantly becomes amplified; so keep it pretty simple. Stay away from pure white, as white-on-white tends to come off as too formal (and almost never perfectly matches), creating what I call a Jesus effect if you stand directly in front of a bright light.
Stick with simple colors like white with simple pencil stripes, or a flat slate gray. Colors should be in light pastels that create a bright, cheerful summer effect. Consider a pale blue gingham check for more informal events. Since a white suit is already an attention-getting piece, you’ll want your shirt to be complimentary through its simplicity.
Often consigned to a category entitled ‘novelty suits’, the white suit has gotten a bad rap recently.
Don’t over think this. Some guys spend hours stressing over what shoes should go best with a white suit, but keep it simple. The shoe’s cut should be similar whatever you would wear alongside a regular suit, but in flattering summer colors, such as a light brown leather. This isn’t the time to bust out your heavy, dark dress shoes.
The more ambitious man can attempt some more fashion-forward choices like gray suede lace-ups or black Dior high tops. Just be wary of shoes that make the outfit look too formal, like patent leather lace-ups. It’s also important that one doesn’t wear socks if possible, not only does it bring the casual flair of the look to a whole new level, it’s another great way to stay cool, literally.
As the white suit is associated with summer heat, so you might be wise to consider omitting a tie altogether. If you’re feeling naked without your necktie however, go with simple, basic ties complimenting your shirt. If all else fails, black works (but keep dark colors thin & textured, since they will stand out).
- The White Suit: It’s a great summer choice when the weather turns hot.
- Shirts: Pale pastels, simple patterns, and avoid white-on-white.
- Shoes: The same shoes you would wear with a suit, in summer colors.
- Accessories: Less is more. Keep the suit’s casual nature in mind when consider pairings.
Still uncertain about the white suit? Need some more style suggestions? Use the comments box below to get in on the discussion!
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