Style Councillor

How to wear a light-coloured suit to the office

Our Style Director Gareth Scourfield shows you how to wear a light-coloured suit to work, without looking like you're en route to Wimbledon

Can I wear a light-coloured suit to work?

The simple answer is yes. But the more detailed answer concerns how. The resistance to the idea of a light-coloured suit at work occurs because our brains are wired to routine. We have been programmed to wear dark tailoring since we were in school shorts and blazers. If you look around the workplace, most suit-wearing men are likely to favour grey or navy tailoring. It’s our safe ground, a familiar territory that doesn’t need too much thinking about. We can happily experiment with texture and woven print fabrics in herringbone, windowpane and Prince Of Wales checks, as long as it’s navy or grey.

Yet a light suit shouldn’t just be for a summer wedding or eating strawberries at Wimbledon. This season, invest in a light-coloured suit and you will find it proves a lot more versatile than you think, as you can break up the jacket with blue or white denim, or separate the tailored trousers to wear with striped knitwear or a suede bomber jacket. You might just struggle to return to your navy suits come autumn.

Drake’s needlecord suit

If you fear the warmer weather means putting away your much-loved winter corduroy, then fear not. As this lightweight needlecord suit by Drake’s will testify, it’s a fabric for all seasons. It also makes for an extremely versatile suit that you can dress up with a traditional Bengal striped shirt, tie and suede loafers, or dress down with a crew neck T-shirt, knitwear and a pair of suede desert boots. The cord trousers with side adjusters create a nice clean line, and will also work nicely with a pair of white tennis sneakers and a striped rugby top for a casual weekend pub lunch.

£895, drakes.com

Richard James Hyde suit 

When Richard James first took up residence on London’s Savile Row, it quickly became apparent this was no ordinary tailor pushing the same dark pinstripe suits that ‘the Row’ was most famous for. Colour, graphic prints and a sense of British irreverence is what James stands for, and this ‘light as air’ suit comes in a wool, silk and linen blend that gives it a real lustre and point of difference. It has all the hallmarks of a Richard James suit with the notch lapels, satin lining in sunny yellow, horn buttons and flattering double vents. The cut works especially well on taller guys with the longer line jacket and the straight leg flat front trousers. Team with an open neck ice blue shirt, or button up and tie a bright solid silk knit tie in emerald green, canary yellow or burnt orange.

£995, richard-james.com

Boglioli ‘K-Jacket’ in green

With four generations of tailoring expertise behind this Italian brand, it’s a pretty safe bet that this family business knows how to cut a jacket or two. If you’re already familiar with the brand, then you’ll recognise this signature unstructured cut that it does so well. The ‘K-Jacket’ has been perfected for over a decade and, although it’s tailored, it’s like wearing your favourite cardigan, with a lightweight stretch cotton fabric that moulds to your frame with each wear. Pair with the matching trousers, an open neck shirt or fine knitted silk polo, and a pair of monk strap shoes. Alternatively, wear the jacket separately with a Breton tee, white denim jeans and boat shoes for that off-duty vibe, or combine the trousers with a navy linen-blend blazer and a crisp white shirt, for more informal days at the office.

£560 for the jacket, mrporter.com

£2o5 for the trousers, mrporter.com

Thom Sweeney Weighhouse suit

The best advocates for wearing a Thom Sweeney suit are the two men behind this brand. Thom and Luke are not only charming and good looking, who both look exceptional in one of their sharp suits, but they also know how to cut a sharp suit in the right fabric for any frame. This light brown two-piece from the ready-to-wear collection shows you just how to pull off that light-coloured suit in the office this summer. The wider notch lapels makes your upper body appear broader, while the slim line cut through the body accentuates the waist. It comes with four-button working cuff and side vents, while the dark brown horn buttons complement the palest of brown herringbone fabric. The suit is super light thanks to the wool, silk and linen blend. Work towards complementing this suit with a tonal cotton shirt in olive green, brown or cream and team with a linen or silk tie in similar colours. A suit that will have more impact when worn as a complete suit rather than separates.

£1,395, thomsweeney.co.uk

J Crew Ludlow unstructured jacket 

American brand J Crew was ahead of the game back in 2008 when it introduced its Ludlow suit. Working with some of the best fabric mills in the world, it made well-cut tailoring affordable. It also introduced men to wearing unstructured tailoring in multiple ways, other than the two-piece suit it was originally designed for. This slim fit suit has become a firm favourite with customers since its introduction back in 2017. If you are looking for more than a plain suit then this pale grey with a bold windowpane check could be the answer. The cotton wool twill fabric is sourced from the Abraham Moon mill in the north of England and comes in a mid weight, making it ideal for when our British weather can’t quite make up its mind. Wear with the matching slim trousers, a navy button down shirt and white trainers for smart casual days and dress up with a white shirt, navy silk tie and black leather loafers for when there is serious business to be done. 

£277 for the jacket, jcrew.com

£165 for the trousers, jcrew.com