Keep Your Suits For Summer — Just Split Them Up

For more than a year now, it seems everyone (including SHARP) has been banging the drum that suits and more formal dressing are making a much celebrated return. While that may read like we’re about to walk that back, we’re not; but we do have one little addendum to add for this summer. 

Assuming you’re not going to, say, a wedding, you should consider splitting up your suits. Or, if you really want to be a purist, you can opt for a range of sport coats and trousers — separates that can be mixed and matched more easily. Before we get into the why, let’s dig into some technical details. In the simplest terms, a suit is a matching ensemble made from the same fabric. A sport coat, on the other hand, is designed to be worn without matching trousers. Yes, it’s possible to split up a suit and pair the jacket with a different set of bottoms, but sport coats exist for literally that single purpose. 

While you can pair your sport coats with all sorts of trousers, we’re inclined to suggest wearing them with jeans this spring and summer, inspired by some of our favourite looks from around a decade ago, when the #menswear era was at its peak — arguably the last time tailored clothing was enjoying this much popularity. Why jeans? Even as more and more men are rediscovering the beauty of more tailored clothing, most offices and venues have made an effort to not make formal clothing, well, a formality. Pairing a nice cashmere blend sport coat with an Oxford cloth shirt and a pair of jeans is a great way to strike the balance between wanting to wear something tailored while also not wanting to show everybody up. 

Plus it arguably looks better.

Yes, suits look incredible, we agree. But, as we noted, a suit is designed to look good together. It limits, though doesn’t preclude, individual expression in a way; and while it’s not impossible, it’s pretty hard to look bad in a suit. It makes it less about you and more about the suit.

suit jackets hanging on a rack at Atelier Munro

A sport coat and jeans, meanwhile, has a certain panache. It’s less formulaic. It implies a certain amount of freestyling – thinking outside the confines of the traditional wardrobe, imbuing each look with both the confidence required to dress down tailoring and the gravitas that comes with dressing up something more casual. It looks refined without trying too hard or being too stuffy. Or, in short, it looks like you look good because you know what you’re doing.

Jeans, in their many washes and myriad styles, are the perfect foil to sport coats both simple and daring, pairing with a range of footwear — from simple tennis sneakers and suede chukkas to leather derbies. When you know how to put it all together, few things will look better than a well-cut sport coat and handsome jeans. In that vein, here are our suggestions to get the most of your summer style.

Fendi Blue Wool Blazer

Fendi Blue Wool Blazer
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A double-breasted navy sport jacket is a timeless classic. It’s a versatile option that can easily be paired with a pair of lighter jeans. Worn unfastened, it feels even more laid-back than a single-breasted number, but somehow, it’s also more elegant. ($3,100)

Harold Houndstooth Sport Jacket

Houndstooth Virgin Wool, Silk & Linen Sport Jacket
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One of the most fun parts about pairing sport jackets with jeans is that you can have a bit of fun with the fabric and opt for something with a bit more colour or pattern than you normally would. This Harold option features a light-coloured houndstooth that’s perfect for summer evenings. ($1,095)

BOSS Camel Collection Heston Sport Jacket

BOSS Camel Collection Heston Sport Jacket
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In a similar vein, a lighter colour is a great choice for summer. This BOSS jacket can be paired with jeans both light and dark depending on the look you’re going for. Dress it all the way up with a pair of hard-soled derbies or keep it clubhouse casual with crisp tennis sneakers. ($1,595)

Samuelsohn Mélange Sport Jacket

Melange Wool Silk Linen Sport Jacket
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A well-cut, Canadian-made suit in a lovely shade that seems almost designed to accented a pair of blue jeans. This might not be the type of jacket you wear every day, but it’s exactly the type of jacket that you’ll reach for when you want to look great without looking too formal. ($1,595)

A.P.C. Petit New Standard Jeans

APC Jeans
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Okay, that’s enough sport jackets, now on to the jeans. There are only so many different types of jeans one needs. We’re partial to a mid-wash when it comes to the denim we’re going to be wearing with tailored jackets. It gives the jeans enough of a lived in feel that contributes to the understated feel we’re going for. A.P.C is among the world’s most famous denim purveyors and the Petit New Standard is one of the reasons why. ($360)

Church’s Grafton 173 Brogues

Grafton 173
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Perhaps it’s a nostalgia for the aforementioned heydays of #menswear, but there’s something about jeans, a light sport coat and a pair of well-worn brogues that just feels right. The beautiful thing about a pair of Church’s shoes is that they’ll last you a lifetime. They’ll look — and feel — better the more you wear them and will look great with almost anything, so plan on wearing them a lot, not just with our handpicked outfit of the summer. (1,070 €)

Drake’s Crosby Moc Toe Chukka

Crosby Moc-Toe Chukka Boot Brown Suede
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The quick sell: if they’re good enough for James Bond, they’re good enough for you. Worn by Daniel Craig in No Time to Die, Drake’s Crosby Moc Toe Chukka is, like all things Drake’s, infused with an easy elegance. Brown suede chukkas look incredible with jeans — they’re not too casual and not too formal, too, so you can hit the perfect note, no matter what the occasion calls for. ($575)