The Lightweight Summer Suits I Want To Live In Next Season — Sans Sweat

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Confession: Of all four seasons (or for us Southern California-dwellers, two and a half), summer is probably my least favorite. Generally, I prefer the novelty of cozy sweater and boot weather. However, when the fry-an-egg-on-the-sidewalk summer heat kicks in, the only thing I truly look forward to are summer wares. The light and bright frocks, cut-off shorts, and lightweight summer suits tend to tie me over until pumpkin spice latte season returns. The latter in particular seem to be working their magic on me this year as the temps change from warm to "yikes, it's hot."

It's no secret that power suits have been en vogue for a while. And, although in years past, suiting was limited to structured and heavy blazer-trouser combos (hello, Melanie Griffith in Working Girl), these days, the classic duo has been refreshingly reinvented. Signature jackets and pants will always be chic no matter the year or season, but for summer, the materials and formatting are allowing for more breathable, sweat-free wear. Think lightweight linen and cotton fabrics, short and mini-skirt sets, and vest options in lieu of traditional blazers.

Ahead, you'll find my guide for navigating the fabulous world of summer suiting. Because the best things truly come in pairs.

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Re-Work The Old Standbys

For those who want to wear their go-to fall and winter suits in the dead of summer, don't fret. It can be done with a little strategic maneuvering. For instance, swap out your blazer and layered button-down for a cooler linen topper or (my personal fave) a classic white T-shirt. And if you want to keep your winter suit's jacket on, swap out the matching trousers for denim Bermuda's or trendy bike shorts for a solid '90s moment. While both suiting options may seem casual, a pair of kitten-heeled sandals or ankle boots and dainty accessories will dress them up in an instant — and save you from heat-induced hyperventilation.

Joie Ruched Printed Linen Blazer

$163

The Outnet

High Rise Bike Shorts

$54

Onzie

Classic Suiting, But Make It Summer

As sophisticated as a black or navy suit might be, in the summer it's just not a smart option. The dark hues will attract and trap heat like no other. As someone who appreciates a structured blazer and pant set, I like to opt for lighter shades for formal occasions or important meetings. White or sherbet-colored duos are ideal for a fresh summer suit. Layer a sheer cropped top or bodysuit underneath to keep the heat at bay.

The 1-Button Blazer In Herringbone

$169

Ann Taylor

The Straight Leg Pant In Herringbone

$98

Ann Taylor

Derek Lam 10 Crosby Striped Linen-Blend One-Button Blazer

$575

Barneys New York

Derek Lam 10 Crosby

$395

Barneys New York

Lose The Sleeves & The Pants

Again, as a stickler for a classic suit, a sleeveless short set in the summer holds a ton of appeal. While still chic and elevated, the combo keeps my body cool and can be dressed up or down with the simple addition of a sneaker or wedge.

Peter Pilotto Crystal-embellished metallic-trimmed twill vest

$1,610

Net-A-Porter

Peter Pilotto Metallic-Trimmed Twill Shorts

$740

Net-A-Porter

Ivory Utility Shorts Suit

$190

Topshop

Opt For Materials That Breathe

Part of the reason suits can often be so synonymous with colder weather is their usual heavy fabrications. But a thick wool or velvet does not a suit make. For summer, I go lighter and pick duos in linen or cotton blends that allow for some natural ventilation. (Bonus point if the suit comes in a cute mini skirt set or traditional gingham pattern.)

Gingham Blazer

$49.90

Zara

Gingham Pants

$29.90

Zara

Tibi Linen Canvas Blazer

$595

Revolve

Tibi Canvas Mini Trouser Skirt

$350

Revolve

Think Outside "The Suit"

The beauty of a spring or summer suit is that you can basically mix and match your separates to your heart's delight — and I take full advantage of this seasonal sartorial loophole. Luckily, brands are privy to this principle and offering ready-to-go summer sets that are an upgrade to the traditional structured pant suit. Some are creating sheer, blouse-like jackets while others are making lightweight robe-pant combos that are comfy, cool, and completely chic.

Sheer Moto Jacket

$130

Priscilla Ono x ELOQUII

Belted Palazzo Pant

$89.95

Priscilla Ono x ELOQUII

Yigal Azrouel Ocean Crest Printed Twill Robe

$890

11 Honoré

Yigal Azrouel Ocean Crest Printed Twill Elastic-Waisted Pant

$495

11 Honoré