We’ve all been there. We turn up for a meeting and for whatever reason – perhaps the delicate disposition of our hosts – the heating is turned up to the max, resulting in sweaty, uncomfortable hours dreaming of the relative cool of our own office or home.
All the time wearing our jackets as our hosts have deigned not to remove their own! Fear not there are plenty of measures you can take to help you out in such intolerable circumstances. While this article will focus on the jacket (being the most warm-giving garment) let’s just take a minute to address the shirt. Your choice of shirt should always involve natural fibres. That is a given.
Of course, cotton is the most obvious and suitable choice, but the type of cotton is also very relevant. Dress shirts made from long fibre cotton are far more breathable (not to mention softer, itch-free and more durable) and will help you keep cool! One more word on the shirt front. Eliminating an undershirt might seem like an obvious choice, but what if you do remove your jacket and are plagued with those dreaded sweat marks? Instead you might consider a sweat free undershirt, of which there are plenty on the market.
Right, let’s turn our attention to the jacket. Chances are you may still be the proud owner of a traditional heavy Masonic style jacket or similar. This is not the road to keeping cool in summer or in overheated meeting rooms. Instead, what you should consider is one of the following options…
Blended wool suits: Wool is not the obvious thought when it comes to keeping cool, being more associated with thick jumpers in the winter. However, wool is incredibly versatile (remember it has to keep sheep warm in winter and cool in summer) and is very absorbent and dries very rapidly. It is not, however the most breathable of materials, hence the need for a blend with another natural fibre – cotton being the most likely, but linen blends can offer even more cool.
A linen and wool blend with double vents to the rear in a lighter colour like grey, is leagues better at helping you keep cool than a heavy, dark traditional suit, although a minor quibble is that they can be more susceptible (as with anything linen) to creasing. But I know what I’d rather put up with! There is one other wool option that is a brilliant heat beater and that is Tropical Worsted Wool, an open weave worsted wool fabric that excels at keeping one nice and cool.
Linen and Seersucker are back: You might be used to considering these two as swear words, but they are really coming back and if you anticipate a sweaty day in an office you could do far worse than opting for a suit in linen or seersucker (made from cotton). The good news is that there are far more options on the market now that they have increased in popularity once more.
Hopefully at least one of these options will result in a viable choice to make your wardrobe more heat resistant this year!