Black Suits Back, Alright!

Experimental threads and new cuts make black suits cooler in summer.

When you think of buying a summer suit, the color black doesn’t immediately come to mind. “Black used to be reserved for funerals, formal evening wear, or perhaps a board meeting,” says Dan Rookwood, the U.S. editor of shopping site Mr Porter, where black tailoring from brands such as Ami and Boglioli is throwing the darkest of fabrics into a new light.

Boglioli slim-fit unstructured wool-hopsack blazer, $1,095, mrporter.com; 3x1 jeans $285; 3x1.us; Orley shirt, $295; orley.us; AM Club scarf, $220, amclub.co; Want Les Essentiels briefcase, $1,295, wantlesessentiels.com; John Lobb loafers $1,175, johnlobb.com

Fashion editor: Shibon Kennedy; Photograph by Jeff Allen for Bloomberg Businessweek; Grooming: Rebecca Garcia

The idea popped up last summer, when Club Monaco made a handsome all-black seersucker suit, but it’s grown from there. The fabrics and details of the new options tend to be even more experimental: Theory is making a black summer suit with stretchy elastane called the New Suit for its nascent “technical” line; Stampd, a streetwear brand, sells a blazer with an angular notched lapel. Many makers choose linen, merino wool, or a summer-weight blend, materials that lend themselves to unstructured jackets, looser pants, and the overall casual silhouette that’s back in style—think ’80s Armani, but less billowy. Usually, the jackets are unlined, which makes them lighter weight—and comfortable—in hot weather.

Saturdays Surf NYC, a label as chill as its name, makes its double-breasted black blazer and matching pleated pants in a linen-cotton blend that feels island-ready even on the sweatiest city day. “Because of the rise of streetwear, guys are wearing more black,” says Morgan Collett, the brand’s co-founder. He sells his suit as separates for men who like to mix it up, splitting the jacket and pants into different looks, say, or throwing on both with a pair of white sneakers and a band T-shirt. When I wore Boglioli’s unlined hopsack blazer to my office, it went well with a pair of black jeans, Vans slip-ons, and a white oxford. No one asked whose funeral I was attending, but colleagues did want to know where I was headed after work; apparently, the outfit screamed “dinner reservation.” That’s no bad thing. As Rookwood puts it: “It’s worked very well as a uniform for Tom Ford for years.”

A band collar shirt is ideal for summer. Pair dark tailoring with a shirt that’s light-colored—or a graphic tee if you’re in a rakish mood. Wear black jeans—or light blue ones—on days when you’re not feeling a full suit. Italian men have been mixing black and blue for decades. Your turn!

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