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Before the pandemic threw a wrench in the works, tailoring was experiencing something of a renaissance. That’s not to say it ever went away—many dedicated haberdashers have continued to champion the suit, come hell or athleisure. But numerous brands that had gone all-in on sportswear, from haute names like Dior and Louis Vuitton to hypebeasts like Off-White, began to embrace a more classically elegant look. Then came sweats-a-palooza and, now, we find ourselves here: wanting to break out of the loungewear rut but not quite ready to start suiting up to the nines. How to wear tailoring now?
Designers, from the fashion set to traditional sartorialists, have answered with an array of soft, unstructured separates befitting the current mood. The key factors are construction (un-roped shoulders, minimal canvassing) and textiles (airy linens, fresco wools, silks, and cottons light enough to be shirting). These subtle tweaks yield traditionally decorous tailoring with ease—the kind of stuff that isn’t that far of a leap from the sweaters and casual jackets we had all been rocking in the lockdown days.
If you only invest in one piece of tailoring this summer, make it a lightweight, unstructured sport coat or suit jacket. Not only are these laidback toppers ideal for the current dress code, but they’re also a perennial warm-weather staple. In other words, they’ll help you get back on the sartorial wagon now and keep you looking sharp for years to come. Here are 10 of the best to buy now.
Giorgio Armani Tonal Jacquard Sport Coat
Giorgio Armani is the king of soft suiting—when he first started cutting suits that wore like pajamas, back in the ’80s, it was a daring new proposition. Now, several decades later, the style is going strong, evidenced by this roomy sport coat in a beautifully draped silk jacquard. Treat it as you would a chore coat and wear it casually—bonus points for layering with a T-shirt a la Miami Vice.
Officine Générale Armie Unstructured Lyocell, Linen and Cotton-Blend Twill Suit Jacket
Linen, lyocell, and cotton: The trifecta of warm-weather materials, all which can be found in this suit jacket from Officine Générale. The style is unstructured and light; consider it your go-to blue topper until fall comes back around.
Caruso Aida Double-Breasted Blazer
One of the more structured jackets in this lineup, Caruso’s Aida blazer balances soft with sharp. The fabric is linen, for added textural interest and overall lightness, and it’s cut with a clean, timeless single-breasted silhouette. The brown color palette is versatile but would look especially good with tan trousers and a printed shirt.
Todd Snyder Houndstooth Linen Madison Sports Coat
Warmer weather needn’t mean leaving all the rich textures of fall and winter garb behind. This jacket could be mistaken for tweed from afar, thanks to its houndstooth pattern. But the lightweight linen makes it just the thing for smartening up a polo and jeans this spring.
Faherty Movement Coolmax Blazer
Synthetic generally isn’t a selling point in menswear, but it’s hard to top the performance-minded practicality of this Coolmax fabric—it’s engineered to be breathable and moisture-wicking, keeping you fresh on the swampiest summer days. Even if it’s techy, this sport coat is classic enough to pass muster at any Cape Cod cookout.
Barena Piero Slim-Fit Cotton-Blend Canvas Blazer
Breezy is an understatement when discussing this cotton-linen jacket. The soft shoulders and unlined silhouette celebrate the textile in all its unfussy glory. It’s the perfect kind of jacket for travel—it’ll only look better as it gets a more rumpled character.
Suitsupply Sand Havana Blazer
Lightweight cotton is one of the most easily wearable suiting textiles. This soft cream fabric is woven in Italy with a smooth finish and fashioned into a smart double-breasted silhouette with rounded (or, as the Neapolitans say, a pignata) patch pockets.
Isaia Capri Two-Button Wool & Silk Sport Coat
Speaking of Neapolitans, lightweight jackets are a specialty of the southern city’s tailors. Here, Isaia lends classic two-button an Italian accent with high notch lapels and an elegantly defined shoulder. Just add a linen shirt and trousers and you’re ready to hit a swanky summer shindig.
J.Crew Ludlow Slim-Fit unstructured seersucker Suit Jacket
J.Crew’s iconic Ludlow comes in many fabrics and colorways: brown wool, navy velvet, and cream cashmere are but a few. But the one primed for summer—and traveling—is this striped seersucker option. Pair it with khaki shorts or white trousers and consider yourself minted.
Bugatchi Two-Button Blazer
When it comes to summer styles, descriptors like “effervescent,” “airy,” and “breathable” often top the list. But what seemingly falls by the wayside is “polished.” Not forgetting this crucial factor is Bugatchi, which offers an incredibly sleek linen blazer that’ll carry you through any spiffy occasion under the sun.