When the dress code is business casual but the forecast warns of oppressive heat, the right choice is a blazer made of summer-weight fabric. The material should be lightweight and breathable, with the top candidates being linen, cotton, silk and lightweight wool. The blazer should also be unlined — meaning no full-canvas — a style that cuts unnecessary weight and softens the silhouette for a more causal aesthetic.
Terms to Know
- Unconstructed/Unstructured: An unconstructed or unstructured blazer is simply a suit jacker without a liner. You know how some suits are full-canvas, while others are only half? The descriptor, full- or half-, explains whether the suit itself is fully lined with canvas or only half so, meaning it stops at the mid-way point, covering the shoulders and chest exclusively.
- Traveler: A traveler's blazer is simply wrinkle-resistant. The name implies you can pack it into a suitcase without worrying about how it'll look later on. Or, you could sit through a six-hour flight without creasing the tail or chest.
The Best Fabrics for Summer
You'll find blazers made of cotton, of course, but it isn't the most breathable fabric. Linen is. Look, below, at the rest of the list for the rest of the best fabrics for summer.
- Cotton Variants
How to Wear a Summer Blazer
Summer-weight blazers work well with everything from chinos and a tie to jeans and a T-shirt. With proper preparation for the upcoming heat, you can stay cool without sacrificing style, because although these are breathable, they are by no means lesser. These blazers work in place of a serious suit at an outdoor wedding, weekend event or other business casual affair.
If you're looking for something more buttoned-up — i.e. a suit you can wear to an event with stricter dress code enforcement — look no further than our guide to summer suits, which comprises tips and how-tos for buying the full thing.
Alex Mill's Mercer blazer blends several different styles into one unique coat. Part-chore coat, part-shawl collar jacket, part-blazer, it's lightweight without being shirt-like, knit a bit thicker and casual while still being incredibly cool. If I had a reason to dress up every day beyond banal errands, this would be my go-to ensemble.
Incotex's heathered blazer is made from lightweight, light brown linen-canvas. It's absolutely unstructured — you'll see when on — but has solid body still, courtesy of the half-canvas construction, two layers of lining and the wide notch lapels.
Buck Mason's relaxed-fit Carry-On Jacket — aka a blazer — is cut from lightweight stretch cotton (97-percent cotton, 3-percent spandex). Stretch let the designers ditch the back vent (and the excess fabric needed for one); patch pockets without flaps shed weight; and opting for no cuff buttons makes this option even more casual. Overall, it's a winner worth wearing to every semi-formal summer event.
Although this isn't the most summery colorway, Wallace & Barnes basic blazer certainly wears like warm-weather suiting. Plus, since it's not tan or ecru, it can serve as a layering piece when temperatures inevitably dip again. It's made of a comfortable cotton-linen blend, and proves probably the most casual out of all the options on this list.
It's hard not to look at Drake's Hemp Games Blazer and not role-play a bit. It's a bit Country Club bad boy; part rebellious Royal. (Ignore me.) Made in Italy from a near 50-50 blend of cotton to hemp, the blazer is unlined and unstructured, features five pockets and a bespoke lapel shape.
There are ways to wear a seersucker blazer without looking horse race-bound. Picking an iteration with a bit more simplicity — like this Todd Snyder option — is one way of doing it. It's tailored and the lapel is skinnier and shorter.
Just because trying to stay cool doesn't mean you can't look cool, too. An unconstructed blazer adorned with a pattern can trick the eye into seeing lines where there aren't — simply put: it'll look more put together than it actually is. Bonobo's linen blazer, which is cut from breathable linen fabric, is proof! For being both lightweight and unlined, it appears all there without extra weight.
The clothing released under J.Crew's Wallace & Barnes lines oftentimes outshines the standard-issue stuff. This cotton-linen chore blazer is no exception. It's unstructured yet flattering, simple yet statement-making and appropriate in both the middle of summer and the first few weeks of fall.
The Milano Suit Jacket by Banana Republic is a refined, fairly formal iteration for your next event with in-laws, or that summer wedding with strict attire asks. It's made from 100 percent linen with all of the features a standard suit jacket has. Plus, there are matching pants you can easily add to your order.
Available in three colors, olive, tan and black, Mango's affordable linen blazer proves slim-fit, but flattering still. It isn't too tight but plenty tailored, making it good-looking with jeans or linen dress pants.
Like some of the blazers listed here, Officine Générale's unstructured linen suit jacket can be matched with similar pants if you're embracing the full-on formal wear feel. Instead, though, you could match it with white pants, shorts, jeans or even linen pants in another hue.
Barena takes unstructured to another level. The Torceo Malbec Blazer drapes like a luxurious long-sleeve T-shirt, but obviously gives the appearance of fine formalwear. Pair it with equally oversized pants for a fashion-forward look.
Ah, a classic. Polo Ralph Lauren's double-breasted suit jacket, which is made from seersucker, of course, skews preppy, for sure, but prep is having a moment. Pair it with wide-fit blue chinos or even faded jeans for an updated look.