How to Keep Cool in a Suit

by Tom Ryan

Heat and humidity are no excuse for not looking your best. By dressing smarter instead of dressing down, you can keep cool in a suit all summer long. Choose fabrics, styles and accessories to keep the heat away from your body, so you can maintain your professional look even when the temperatures rise.

Choose suits in a lightweight material, such as cotton, linen or seersucker. Stylish materials like these are breathable and comfortable, but may also wrinkle. Shop for a lightweight worsted wool blend, which keeps wrinkles at bay while still giving you the high-comfort breathability you need.

Avoid lined jackets in favor of half-lined, quarter-lined or completely unlined pieces. Although minimal lining lends to a less-structured style and potentially more wrinkles, it eliminates layers and helps you stay cool.

Choose light colors, such as light gray, blue, khaki and pastels, because they absorb less heat. Avoid black and dark gray suits during the warmer months of the year.

Slip into laceless loafers, which cover less of your feet than lace-up styles.

Lighten up your accessories, especially your necktie. Light-fabric neckties -- or even a bow tie -- are more comfortable than thick and heavy neckware. Unbutton your topmost shirt button until you get to where you're going, so your shirt is more breathable and you're cool on arrival.


  • Experiment with undershirts to see whether they keep you cooler or warmer. While a lightweight tee can absorb sweat before it hits your dress shirt, it also adds another layer that can heat you up and retain moisture throughout the day.
  • Avoid double-breasted jackets, which are typically warmer than single-breasted styles.

About the Author

Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

Photo Credits

  • George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images