Archives: Our Collection

Your guide to the summer sport coat

stay cool in a suit

The warm weather has arrived. So much so, that I am writing this article as I lounge at the pool. It would be nice if every office had a pool, and along with it, the flexibility to jump in whenever you wanted to cool off. But if that’s not the case, there is something else you can do – you can keep your cool by dressing smarter with a summer sport coat.

You see, in the fall and winter you can get away with just about anything. Want to layer a heavy cotton dress shirt with a vest and wool suit? Sure, go for it! That conference room is probably set at 65 degrees so you’ll be just fine. But in the summer you have to shed some layers. That means no vests, fewer neck ties, and unbuttoned cuffs. And while I plan to go on and on in a subsequent post on easy ways to stay cool, there is one item that I want to focus on this week: The summer sport coat.

I can’t think of any other item of clothing that can have more of an impact on helping you stay cool than swapping out your heavy suit jacket for a lighter alternative.

And as you may guess, there is so much more than just the fabric that makes a summer jacket a seasonal favorite.

That being said, I bought myself a new summer jacket this year. I think you’re going to like it.

I wanted something versatile and comfortable. A summer sport coat that I could wear not only throughout the summer, but also in the fall. And one that would be appropriate for the daytime hours, but also double as a cocktail jacket.

So, please allow me to take you through my thought process on how I selected my summer-weight jacket.

Step 1 – Summer sport coat 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 jacket 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 summer sport coat 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.

By the way, here’s a handy Daily BE episode that compares the look and feel of two seemingly very similar fabrics:

Ryan’s pick: I chose something in a blue 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…

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 sport coat 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.

summer sport coat lining and construction

Step 3 – Style

Here’s the key thing to remember about the style of any summer jacket – 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 sport coat? 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.

2 buttons 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. However, my next sport coat will definitely be a single button (and peaked lapels!).

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 summer sport coat. 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.

Ryan’s pick: 2 buttons on the cuff. I wanted it to be clear that this was a sophisticated summer jacket. As if to say, “I’m all dressed up, but don’t take me too seriously.”

Step 4 – Details

Now is the time to have some fun. Summer sport coats mean that you can have a little more fun with the details than you would with a more conservative business suit.

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 buttonhole a different color. If memory serves, I was going to go with one blue and the other white. 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 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 sport coat, is that I choose a light blue color to refer to the fabric itself, 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.

Besom pockets

I chose besom pockets for their nice clean look on this particular summer sport coat. Even though this jacket is meant to be a casual summer coat, the besom pockets give it a sophisticated touch. I think it’s in great contrast to the textured linen/wool fabric. They are also slanted because angled jacket pockets are one of the tell-tale signs of bespoke menswear.

It’s worth noting that with these besom pockets, you’ll be wise to not use them. The reason being is that since they are of the besom design, if you start packing them with your car keys and your phone, they will eventually “open up” and then they won’t lay nice and flat like you want them to. So keep them stitched up and they will look great.

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.

summer sport coat

Wrap up

So, that covers the basics on how to choose 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 jackets. 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 (not all day long, fellas). 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 seasonal jacket. 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

Did you enjoy this article on the summer sport coat? Please consider sharing it with your friends and signing up for our twice-monthly newsletter.

The Bespoke Edge Signature Suit

wedding-suit

Many guys choose to have a bespoke suit made for them because they want that perfect fit. Tailored specifically to their body type, a bespoke suit is truly one of a kind. But one of the great things about choosing to go custom is having control over the details. Working button holes on the cuffs, custom linings, accent button holes, the list goes on and on. Naturally, we at The Bespoke Edge have had a little fun with our own suits and have decided to inaugurate a new suit. We’ve taken our favorite details and married them to an avant-garde suit style that will be sure to turn heads in the Denver area.

Here’s how it works:

  1. You choose the fit. Relaxed or tapered (or really slim!), the features outlined below will work for everyone.
  2. The fabric is also entirely up to your choosing.
  3. Construction can be full canvas, fused, whatever you like.

What follows below is really just us doing what we do best – designing for you a great looking suit.

Gentlemen, presenting the affectionately named Bespoke Edge Signature Suit:

  • Two button

A two button suit is your best bet these days. Specifically, we recommend a low two button cut. This features a higher arm hole and slightly lowered button stance. This will create a more flattering V-shape in the torso. And don’t button the bottom button!

  • Flat Front Pants

Remember when pleats were all the rage? I do. I also remember using my Walkman at about the same time. Today things are different. Pleats are out and flat front trousers are in. You’re not a grandpa yet, so save the pleats for down the road. Basically, the reasons pleats have gone the way of the dinosaur is that suits have slimmed down in the past ten years or so. With a slim suit comes neat and clean lines.

  • Vents

Here, we get a little opinionated. There are basically two choices on vents – single or side vents. Some will argue the very sharp look of double vents (one vent on either side of the suit jacket) and the British heritage, whereas a single vent down the middle is more Italian-leaning. Despite a heated internal debate here at BE, we’ve settled on the single vent for our signature suit.

  • Cuffs

If you follow us on Facebook you probably saw this coming a mile away – working button holes! Surgeon cuffs, as they were originally named, arose because doctors would routinely roll up their sleeves (yes, they wore suits to work) prior to surgery. Off-the-rack suits almost never have working button holes. This is because if you had to change the sleeve length, you’re out of luck. With bespoke, on the other hand, that’s not a problem. Therefore, it’s only appropriate that we feature working button holes on this suit. And three, not four. Why? Well, when was the last time you saw a suit with 3 buttons on the sleeve?

Working button holes

Never owned a suit with working buttons on the cuff? There is a certain luxury that comes with leaving the last button undone. Also, what a perfect place for an accented thread color on the button hole stitching – bright red perhaps?

  • Lapel

In a prior blog, I discussed the pros and cons of each lapel type – notched versus peaked. I argued that when shopping for your first suit, always go with a notched lapel versus peaked, purely because of the versatility afforded with this design.

Notched Lapel

  • Lining

When you shop for an off-the-rack suit you are stuck with whatever boring and completely uninteresting lining comes with the suit. Sure, you could find a skilled tailor to replace the lining, but the cost will be very high. It is far easier to have suit built for you and pick out a lining at the beginning. Here’s the lining we like:

Red lining

A little flash of color that is subtle enough for your Fort Collins office yet hints in the other direction when you go out for a drink.

The paisley pattern is very sophisticated and may sometimes be construed as formal, but the red hue carries a modern look.

Wrap up

And there you have it. We have picked out our favorite details that will take your suit to the next level. All you need now is a custom dress shirt to match!

Whether your office is in Fort Collins, Denver, Boulder or somewhere in between, you’ll be leveraging the most bang for your buck and have a stylish suit that is not only modern, but truly bespoke.

By Ryan Wagner

About Our Collection

Shirts-  From $125.00

With hundreds of unique fabrics to choose from you can create that one-of-a-kind shirt with impeccable detail.  Our shirt selection is a showcase of 100% Egyptian and Italian cottons that include 2-ply and super 120’s yarns.  We also offer the ultimate in seasonal weights with Sea Island cottons, cotton silk blends, and easy iron fabrics.

 

Suits-  From $795.00

From the finest woolen mills across the globe BE has collected a special group of imported fabrics for that distinguished gentleman.  Our collection core consists of Super 150’s Wool & Cashmere and luxurious blends of wool, cashmere, and silk.  Our uncrushable Super 130’s wool is also a perfect choice for that sophisticated suit or blazer in your wardrobe.   And for the purist fashion dresser we offer woolens by Valentino, an authentic made-in-Italy brand that is still produced exclusively in the Biella province.  These luxurious Super 150’s yarns are woven of the finest merino wool from New Zealand.

 

Trousers-  From $195.00

We at The Bespoke Edge are proud to offer some of the most distinctive piece goods made in the finest mills.  Our selection of durable, versatile wools for trousers begin with the classic gabardine woven in Super 150’s wool and cashmere.  Wool, cashmere, and silk blends are also available and the Premier Super 130’s woolens create a dressy finish.  Finally, for the sophisticated wardrobe our collection of merino wools from Valentino of Italy will not be matched.

 

Sport Coats & Blazers-  From $595.00

One of the key ingredients to creating that distinctive and useful wardrobe is the fabric you choose.  Our array of seasonal, pattern coat fabrics are all super fine Australian wools woven with subtle color combinations and elegant texture.  Our seasonal solid blazers are available in 100% camel hair and the more luxurious 100% cashmere.  We also offer a few classic colors in a premier wool and cashmere blend.  Of course, the all season blazer is a must in most men’s wardrobes so we feature a Super 150’s gabardine deluxe weave and other Super 130’s wools.  Any of BE’s elegant suit fabrics are also available to be made up as a blazer model.

 

Neckwear- From $85

One of the key focal points of that business wardrobe is the necktie.  That is why The Bespoke Edge features only hand sewn neckwear that will truly compliment our tailored clothing.  The ties that we offer are woven of 100% silk and have impeccable hand detail with rich color hues.  Dressy prints, foulards, polka-dots, paisleys, and elegant stripes are all available from our hand picked sources.  Even the bow tie has been making a comeback in recent years that includes
classic styles and other vintage re-makes.

 

Complements- From $20

To help you create that BE edge we offer an extensive selection of complements.  These all silk pocket squares, detailed tie bars, and sophisticated cufflinks are produced by high quality makers from across the US.  Upon request, we will also search for that special accessory that you have been looking for.  Our ultimate goal is to show you how to develop a stylish wardrobe with accents that set you apart from the rest.