How to build the perfect Scottsdale wedding suit

peaked lapel suit

At Bespoke Edge, it’s safe to say that we know our way around a wedding suit. And although the warm months of summer may be winding down here in the Denver area, our Arizona clients still have several months left of hot weather. Consequently, a lot of folks have been asking us how to build a wedding suit for a Scottsdale wedding.

I want to focus on the Phoenix and Scottsdale area because as we all know, when Phoenicians dress up, they do it very well.

So, with this post, I want to spend some time talking about how to build out the perfect wedding suit to wear in the desert. In my opinion, the perfect Scottsdale wedding suit is one that is both elegant, but cool and ventilated. It’s a fine line to walk, but let me show you how you do it.

Fabric

I’m going to suggest two options: wool or a wool/cashmere blend.

Now, right off the bat, you may be asking, “buy why not cotton or linen, aren’t those your typical choices for a summer sportcoat or suit?” Indeed, cotton or linen can be great summer picks for a jacket. I love the look of a slightly wrinkled linen suit, but here’s the thing, these fabrics are inherently casual. Their texture just isn’t going to be sophisticated enough for a wedding.

Even if you’re planning a casual barnyard-chic event, I still feel that a frumpy-looking cotton or linen suit won’t be dressed up enough.

That being said, let’s take a close look at my two picks.

First up, wool.

Wool is your go-to suit material. But there is wool and then there is wool. The latter can be very breathable (i.e. help keep you cool) and sophisticated at the same time. Furthermore, the right wool will have a very clean and crisp look.

scottsdale wedding

The other fabric pick that I feel is a strong candidate is a wool and cashmere blend. As you probably know, cashmere is a very luxurious and soft yarn. But you probably have a predisposition that it is strictly for keeping warm in cold weather.

Not so.

Trust me when I say that there are some amazing cashmere fabrics that appear to be as thin as linen with a breathability factor that rivals the more traditional fabrics. The reason I suggest a blend with wool is to give the finished fabric a little bit of an elegant sheen and to help with creating a real nice drape.

Construction

When it comes to construction, you have a choice to make.

If you want to keep your suit as breathable as possible, then you’ll want what’s called an “unconstructed” jacket. What this means is that the canvas that usually covers much of a suit is now gone. Therefore, you’re going to stay a lot cooler since there is one less layer involved.

However, this doesn’t mean that the shoulder is completely unpadded. There will still be padding there, but it will be noticeably thinner than what you may be used to wearing. Again, this reduction in material will help to keep you cool.

Taking this unstructured route is your best bet if you tend to get warm easily in your clothes, or if you expect to be out in the sun for any amount of time.

Alternatively, you can go the more traditional route and build your Scottsdale wedding suit with a full canvas. Sartorially speaking, this is the way to go. And this is what a bespoke suit is all about. Integrating an authentic horse hair canvas into your suit will make for an impressive drape, as well as a suit that will last for many years to come.

By the way, here’s a refresher on full canvas versus fused construction if you’d like to learn more.

Bottom line: If staying cool is a priority, then go unstructured. Otherwise, consider a full canvas construction for an amazing looking suit.

Special considerations

If your Scottsdale wedding is poised to be outside for any length of time, you’ll want to do everything you can to stay cool for photos and/or the ceremony. And one more special consideration is the jacket lining.

Sure, you could do away with it entirely, but I think that would be a mistake. In my opinion, nothing makes a jacket look more casual than having no lining whatsoever. However, a lining is rarely made of a very breathable fabric.

Instead, I think you should consider what’s called a “1/8 lining” or “butterfly” lining. This means that the lining is only around the upper back and around the arm hole. This way, that nice wool/cashmere fabric you fell in love with will have a little protection from sweat and it will also facilitate the jacket’s breathability factor.

butterfly-lining

And here are some of our available suit linings to get your creative juices flowing.

scottsdale suit lining

Wrap up

Dressing for an outdoor wedding in the desert doesn’t need to be complicated. Just remember the key points above and you’ll have no problem keeping your cool while looking sharp!

By Ryan Wagner

And remember, Scottsdale is our second home these days. Contact us today to find out when we’ll be there next and we’ll schedule an appointment with you.

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BE Guide: How to choose a fall sportcoat

great fall style with this sportcoat

As I write this, it certainly doesn’t feel much like fall. In fact, it’s 81 deg and the sun is shining. Summer isn’t over yet, thankfully. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t start thinking about your fall clothing needs. Specifically, how to choose a fall sportcoat.

And I admit, it feels a little premature writing about fall sportcoats with summer still in full swing, but I want to make sure you’re ready. By the end of September, you’ll be wishing you had your fall sportcoat hanging in your closet. With our 6 week lead time, now is the time to start planning.

If you’re thinking about treating yourself to a jacket, here’s what you need to know about how to choose a fall sportcoat.

Step 1: Casual or sophisticated?

This first step is the same no matter what item of clothing you’re in the market for. On one end of the spectrum is a casual and thick textured fabric and on the other end, a very fine and clean looking cloth. Somewhere in the middle is the sweet spot of versatility.

Let’s take a look at a couple of examples.

In the image below, we have some very textural fabrics. Without even holding a swatch of the fabric, you have an idea for what it’s going to feel like, don’t you? These are somewhat casual. They will also complement other textural fabrics nicely. For instance, a sportcoat made out of one of these fabrics will hold up nicely against a flannel dress shirt. Also, a very cozy scarf would be a perfect match, adhering to the rule that fabrics should get thicker the farther they are from your body.

fall sportcoat fabric

And on the other hand, we have Brett’s very sophisticated jacket from our Signature Line. It isn’t textural like the options above. Instead, it’s very dressed up with smooth, clean lines. And the blue plaid pattern is subtle yet much defined because of the fidelity of the fabric.

great fall style with this sportcoat

how to choose a fall sportcoat

So, what’s the difference in how you might wear these two jackets? With Brett’s jacket, he needs to be careful that if he pairs it with denim, that they are his best jeans, free of holes or fades, and no fuzz. But if he goes with a nice pair of slacks – even if he were to borrow them from his favorite suit – he’d be dressed nice enough for just about anything.

With the more casual sportcoat, you have a little more margin on the pants. You can wear something a little more rustic and rough around the edges, if you choose. Of course, this isn’t to say that you couldn’t dress it up with a crisp white shirt and pocket square.

Step 2: Construction

You may recall that with summer sportcoats, I advocated for an unstructured coat (i.e. without canvas) to help keep you cool.

With fall sportcoats, I think you have more wiggle room. If you want to keep the jacket lighter and more breathable, you can again have one made without a canvas construction. And when it gets a little too chilly, you can layer up with a sweater.

On the other hand, if you want the best looking drape possible in your coat, then you’ll want to build your fall sportcoat with a full canvas construction.

[Need a refresher on our suit construction – read this]

Step 3: Buttons

Your options are one, two and three buttons. But for a modern look, you’ll want to go with either one or two.

I recommend two, and here’s why: A fall sportcoat is inherently a bit functional. A one button coat is very trendy and errs on the side of a cocktail jacket. This can be a great look with the right fabric, but for an all-around versatile jacket, a two button will carry you through your daily meetings and all the way to date night with ease.

Step 4: Details

There are some notable details that really shine in a fall sportcoat.

First, the fabric beneath the lapel. You probably never even gave it much thought, did you? Here’s why I think it’s a fun thing to customize – because sportcoats are still coats, they keep you warm. And the transitional season of fall here in Colorado can bring with it relatively warm mornings and chilly evenings. So, when the wind kicks up and gives you a chill, pop the lapel and throw on a scarf and gloves. With the lapel up you have a chance to show the world that you thought of everything by choosing a color that refers back to the rest of the jacket, perhaps an accent button stitching.

Secondly, you can add a theater ticket pocket. What’s that, you ask? It’s the third pocket that you (sometimes) see on a suit jacket just above the typical side pockets. Historically, gentlemen would keep their, you guessed it, theater tickets inside that pocket. And since fall is the time of year when we start spending more time indoors and looking for things to do away from the cooling weather, I think a ticket pocket is a nice touch.

Wrap up

So, there you have it. The basics of how to choose a fall sportcoat. I hope this makes the process of building a bespoke jacket a little more approachable.

And as always, let us know if you have any questions, we’re always here to help!

Related reading

The perfect summer sportcoat

Your guide to the summer suit

What is full canvas construction?

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By Ryan Wagner

Our favorite summer pocket squares

floral summer pocket squares

Pocket squares are a lot of fun. There’s probably no better way to add a little personality to your wardrobe than by artfully stuffing a little color into your chest pocket. Ron and I recently curated a small selection of summer pocket squares that we feel embody summertime here in Colorado.

First, a little background: In the summertime, pocket squares become a little more casual and should be cotton or linen. Why cotton or linen? Because your summer suit will likely be cotton or linen, or a blend. You’ll want to keep these fabrics consistent throughout your wardrobe. A bright and elegant silk pocket square will come off looking “too dressed up” for your slightly wrinkled cotton suit.

Here’s what you need to know about our pocket squares at BE – in cotton, you can literally choose a pocket square from any one of our hundreds of fabrics. And that’s just what Ron and I did when we went through our swatch books looking for just the right summer fabrics.

Let’s take a look at what we found.

Exhibit A: the Poolside

This fabric is a refreshing blue with a subtle paisley/swirl pattern. It works well with whites, blues, and greys.

blue summer pocket square

summer-pocketsquare

Exhibit B: the Floral

Print designs are more versatile than you may think. With this fabric, the floral print evokes thoughts of a summer garden and it’s clear that the man wearing it doesn’t take himself too seriously. Pair this with your lighter jackets – tan, beige, etc. I recommend wearing this pocket square “fluffled” versus neatly folded. Make it resemble a flower!

floral summer pocket squares

Exhibit B: the Nautical

Even though we are land-locked here in the Denver area, that doesn’t mean we can’t still have a little sailing influence. Perhaps you once raced sailboats in California in your younger years. Or maybe today you take your stand-up paddleboard to the lake on the weekends. Regardless, this pocket square will bring out the sailor in all of us.

nautical summer pocket squares

Exhibit B: the Punk rocker sophisticate

This is a fun take on one of our favorite shirt fabrics, the skull and crossbones design.

But in a vibrant purple hue, this pocket square can easily be worn with a sharp looking suit for an evening out. However, you can still stuff it in your summer sportcoat pocket and look like a million bucks on any downtown Denver patio.

purple summer pocket squares

 

Wrap up

What’s your take on summer pocket squares? Perhaps you think pocket squares are meant only to be worn in the cooler months and with fancy suits? Not so! Summertime is the perfect time of year to explore some casual styling with some inventive squares like the ones Ron and I handpicked above.

And please don’t hesitate to write us with any questions, we’re always here to help: questions<at>bespokeedge.com.

By Ryan Wagner

Further reading

Now that you have a handle on summer pocket squares read our Summer Suit Guide and you’ll be all set!

Your guide to the summer suit

summer-pocketsquare

Summer presents a unique sartorial opportunity when it comes to suits. It’s easier than ever to stand apart from the crowd and look sharp in a summer suit. Why? Because most men either ditch the suit altogether or sweat up a storm.

Fortunately, summer suits can be a lot of fun. They tend to look a bit more casual, but they don’t have to. The fabric can be made of cotton, but it can also be linen, or a blend of the two. Even the right wool can be breathable and ventilated. But even with all these benefits, very few men have a “summer suit.” And I think that a big part of the problem is that most men don’t know how to go about building one.

So, I’m going to lead by example.

I just built what I think is an excellent specimen of a summer suit. The fabric, the hue, the details – everything just makes me think of summer.

I’m going to take you through my design process. I’m going to example what I did and why so when it comes time for you to build a suit, or shop for one, you’ll have a better idea of what you want.

Step 1 – Fabric Selection

First and foremost, you need to select a fabric that will breath.

For summer, you are going to want either linen, cotton, or some wool blend. Otherwise, you will invariably end up with a heavier coat. That won’t necessarily be a bad thing, because it will still be a great pick for the fall, you’ll just be sweating bullets for all the wrong reasons and find yourself waiting for the cooler weather to return.

Briefly, here’s what you need to know about summer suit fabrics:

Cotton: A cotton jacket, or a cotton suit for that matter, is a great pick for summer. As you are probably well aware, cotton breathes like a pro and is easy to clean. It will be a little thicker than a linen or wool blend (maybe), but it’s a solid pick.

Linen: I know what you’re thinking – “But linen wrinkles!” Yes, it does wrinkle, get over it. It won’t be that bad. After all, you can always steam it real quick before you put it on and you’ll look and feel like a million bucks because linen breathes better than any other fabric, in my opinion. You will definitely stay well ventilated in a linen jacket so it should come as no surprise that it’s a summer staple for most men.

Blends: Some fabrics will be a blend of linen and wool. This will cut down on the wrinkle factor and give the jacket a more “suit-like” look. This will make your jacket a little more versatile for say, evening events or cooler weather.

Ryan’s pick: I chose something in a “coastal grey” so that I could wear it with virtually anything. Regarding fabric, I went with a linen/wool blend. I got the versatility of a wool blend and the great textured look of a linen jacket. This was a good pick for me because I wanted a jacket that I could wear into the cooler months. Yes, it may be a little warmer in the summer than a pure linen would have been, but I had a plan for that…

summer-suit-pants

 

Step 2 – Construction

Something that not everyone knows is that suits have varying levels of construction. And by that I don’t mean quality (although indeed they do!), but that the canvas and lining can vary in their coverage of the jacket fabric.

Regarding summer jackets, you’re going to want to go with something that is “unconstructed.” What this means is that the canvas that usually covers much of a suit is now gone; you’re going to stay a lot cooler, after all, it’s one less layer that you’re wearing.

However, this doesn’t mean that the shoulder is completely unpadded. There will still be padding there, but it will be noticeably thinner than what you may be used to wearing. Again, this reduction in material will help to keep you cool.

Which brings us to the lining.

With most unconstructed jackets, the lining goes away entirely. However, here at BE, we use what’s called a “1/8 lining” or “butterfly” lining. This means that the lining is only around the upper back and around the arm hole because we want our jackets to still have a little protection from sweat, and also for aesthetic reasons. The resulting shape resembles a butterfly, hence the name.

 

 

Ryan’s pick: Unconstructed and with a butterfly lining (matched to the suit fabric, of course). I wanted to eliminate as much fabric as possible so that I would be comfortable sitting on a coffee shop patio in 80 degrees.

lining

Step 3 – Style

Here’s the key thing to remember about the style of any summer suit – it’s going to be inherently casual. For instance, with a fabric like linen or cotton, that means silk ties are out because the fabrics will clash in texture. Consequently, you’re going to want to carefully choose your style details. You’ll need to be mindful that the jacket is somewhat casual by default, but also realize that you can bend the rules a little.

Notched lapel versus peaked lapel

If you need a refresher on the differences between notched lapels and peaked lapels, take a look at one of my older articles on the topic, here. In summation of that article, notched lapels were versatile and commonplace, whereas peaked lapels were reserved for formal and/or bold occasions.

So what should you choose for your summer jacket? Well, a notched lapel is the obvious choice. It’s going to be casual and versatile. But what about peaked lapels? Is that to say that you can never wear a peaked lapel in a summer coat? No, of course not. But you just need to be mindful that it’s going to look a little flashier and be more challenging to pull off.

Ryan’s pick: Notched lapel. A peaked lapel was just too formal for me. If I had a cocktail perpetually in my hand, OK, peaked lapel it is. But for the occasions that I saw myself wearing this jacket in, a notched lapel just made much more sense.

summer-suit-jacket-full

 

2 button versus 1

Similar to the lapel choice you need to make, the number of buttons on your jacket will reflect its level of formality.

1 button: A single button jacket is more or less a cocktail jacket. It’s cool and sophisticated in all the right ways. And because of this, it’s also less versatile. Many of my meetings are at coffee shops and folks’ places of business and so I think a single button jacket may look a little out of place.

2 button: Your more versatile pick.

Ryan’s pick: 2 button for its versatility. And remember, never button the bottom button!

Vents

I suppose there is some truth behind having better ventilation with 2 side vents versus 1 center vent. But I usually err on the Italian side, and so I opted for the single center vent on this jacket. Just go with what feels comfortable to you.

How many cuff buttons?

Admittedly, this is a minor thought for some people. But for those of you that really want to take advantage of the power of bespoke, I encourage you to give some thought to how many buttons you have on your cuff. Four is standard, whereas anything less shows that you put some thought into your clothes. 

I opted for 3.

buttons

Step 4 – Details

Now is the time to have some fun. In my opinion, the best way to bring out a coastal, or pool-side style, is to use some blues and whites. And one of the best ways to do that is with the button holes.

Button hole accents

You’ll notice that I opted for a light blue accent on both the lapel button hole and the cuff button holes.

Regarding the cuff button holes, I was originally kicking around the idea of making each button hole a different color. If memory serves, I was going to go with one blue and the other in a sort of cream shade. But after thinking about it more, I couldn’t help but think that the multiple colors would end up being distracting, so I settled on just the coastal blue.

And on the topic of button hole accents in general – when building a jacket, be sure that the jacket can stand alone without any of the colorful accents. In other words, a great looking jacket should look awesome without anything else and it should look even better with the accents. It’s sometimes easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you “need a pop of color,” and then you end up with something that is downright distracting.

Also, bear in mind that colored accents should always refer to your wardrobe. What this means with the subject summer suit, is that I choose a light blue color to refer to the likely shade of shirt fabric that I would wear under the suit. And also knowing that I was likely going to wear a blue pocket square with this jacket more than any other color. Therefore, the accent stitching helps to integrate the whole look.

Flap pockets

I chose flap pockets for their slightly casual look. As opposed to besom pockets which have a very sophisticated presence. However, I still wanted my pockets made at an angle – a hallmark of a fine suit (it’s less expensive to manufacture pockets straight across than it is at an angle). I should note that you could still insert the flap into the pocket itself if you wanted to “fake a besom pocket” for an evening.

And remember, you have tons of pockets on the inside of your jacket. With the obvious exception of your chest pocket (hello, pocket squares!), your inside pockets are where you should be storing your things.

Wrap up

So, that’s what you need to know about choosing a summer sport coat. As you can see, there are some smart things you can do to ensure that your coat becomes your seasonal favorite. Just so long as you stick with a breathable fabric and you request the unconstructed option, you’ll stay nice and cool.

One note on how you wear these suits: Because it’s summertime and it’s hot outside, don’t forget that you wear your clothes, not the other way around. For instance, it’s perfectly acceptable these days to scrunch up your jacket sleeves for a short time. And when the thermometer climbs into the red, loosen up the buttons on your cuff to promote ventilation.

I hope this article helps to shed some light on how you can create your own summer suit. And if you’re still wearing the same suit year round and sweating your way through the summer, then hopefully now you are enlightened!

By Ryan Wagner

cool-breeze

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