As temperatures climb past the 70s, suit-wearing men are forced to continue a practice that's supposed to be reserved for colder climes: layering. Do they keep wearing their wool blazers, or shell out for a summer suit? The first option requires constant access to air conditioning. On the other hand, pink seersucker and other similar summer wear has a way of making you look like an extra on Brideshead Revisited.
Take heart. There is a middle ground, even if it's a thin one: dark cotton blazers. They're not overstretched being worn from Spring through Fall, but breathable enough that five minutes outside won't make you think, Gosh, what I wouldn't do for some moisture-wicking material right now.
As for price: unless a ready-to-wear cotton blazer is filled with diamonds, it shouldn't cost more than $700, often much less. Luckily that still leaves quite a selection:
- The cheapest option is a blazer from Marc by Marc Jacobs, which retails for $398. With the front patch pockets it's not particularly formal, but let's admit something: by August, it's more about survival than style.
- APC's "Wainscott" jacket ($470) can be paired with matching trousers to make a suit, but doesn't look orphaned when worn on its own. Another plus: APC's blazers tend to be built for someone with a broad build, which is a nice change from most of the waifish cuts available in this price range.
- But if you are slender of build, Acne Studio's "Wall Street" jacket ($520) can run with the bulls. It also can be paired with slacks to turn into a suit.
- Theory's curiously named "Rodolf W" jacket ($525) is probably the most office-ready of the bunch. Despite its light weight, it's trim, structured, and crisp--even for days of wilting heat.
- At $645, the most esoteric of the group happens to be the most expensive. 45 RPM's Cotton Linen Chino jacket isn't for the boardroom, given its rumpled finish. But it also doesn't look like you're pretending you've just rolled in from some Wiltshire castle.
James Tarmy reports on arts and culture for Bloomberg Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News.