How to pull off the nonchalant elegance of the casual summer suit

How to pull off the nonchalant elegance of the casual summer suit

July 6th, 2020

Why you need to wear your suits casually

Casual summer suit seated with slides

In the midst of an unusual summer where you may or may not be living most of your days in loungewear, it’s time to rethink the rules of fashion. We’re at a strange intersection of comfort and style, feeling a need to dress up while at the same time getting used to a more relaxed wardrobe. 

If you’ve been cooped up at home, make an effort to dress up once in a while, even if it means just heading to the grocery store looking fresh AF. That’s where the French-inspired nonchalance of the casual summer suit comes in. 

Understated, uncomplicated, and just a little unexpected, this super-casual approach to the suit is something we’ve been seeing on many fashion arbiters this summer, and we’re leaning into it. Read on to learn how to wear it well. 

How to wear a casual suit

Step 1: Choose the right suit

Choosing the right summer suit

This isn’t a look to try with your formal wedding suit. It has to lend itself to casual styling, so choosing the right suit is key. Here are some things to look for:

  • Two-button suit with a notch-lapel and a soft shoulder
  • An unlined jacket with or without patch pockets
  • Cotton, silk, or linen blend fabric, which creates a more natural, casual drape
  • A relaxed-fitting suit rather than a slim fit

A soft suit like this will not only work well with this look, but you’ll also be able to split it up and get more outfits out of it. 

Step 2: Layer in the right casual elements

Casual summer suit with overcoat

Although this look conveys nonchalance, it does take some effort and thought. The pieces you wear with it need to be casual but not sloppy. No band tees or golf polos here. 

  • Mix in easygoing but refined fabrics like linen, seersucker, or Japanese cotton. 
  • Choose a shirt with a band collar or camp collar instead of a spread collar
  • Try a layered-look tee, chambray shirt, or even lightweight knitwear
  • Leave the shirt untucked
  • Choose an easygoing belt like a woven leather option instead of a dress belt
  • Add in other accessories like layered leather bracelets or a casual watch

If you choose a shirt with buttons, leave the top two to three buttons undone as well as the bottom button. You can wear a t-shirt underneath if the undone buttons expose more skin than you’re comfortable with. 

Step 3: Choose the right footwear

Brunello cucinelli suede slides with summer suit

Our two favourite shoe choices with this look are white sneakers and suede or leather slides, but you could do fresh New Balance kicks too. No socks allowed. 

Cuff the bottom of the trousers or opt for a shorter hem for a slightly cropped look, which is essential for wearing trousers with casual footwear.

Your shoes have to be clean and in good condition. You don’t want to look like you just ran out of the house without time to consider your shoe choice. 

Step 4: Get Creative

Pocket square and cotton shirt with suit

With the right pieces, the look comes together pretty naturally. Start to mix and match and see what combinations work for you. 

Wear the jacket with chinos or jeans and a chambray shirt. Wear the trousers with an untucked linen shirt layered over a tee. Throw a chore jacket or other easygoing spring outerwear over top of the suit. 

Step 5: Own It

Casual summer suit attitude

As is the case with all fashion, attitude really is everything. You simply cannot pull this look off if you’re nervous about wearing it, so embrace it. Wear it to BBQs, for patio drinks, or even to get groceries if that’s the biggest outing in your calendar. 


We want to see how you’re wearing your summer suit, so tag us on Instagram to show us your looks.

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