Tan suits got a bashing last year when Obama showed up to a press conference in one, but let’s be clear: there’s nothing crazy about tan suits. They’re great for summer (which is when Obama wore his) and if made from the right materials, they can be broken into separates. The problem with Obama’s is that it was less-than-well-fitting and that he wore it to a press conference to discuss serious issues regarding foreign policy. Those kinds of somber events demand more traditional suits in navy or charcoal – not tan – and that was the President’s only real mistake. On one Easter Sunday, he wore a similar suit and looked pretty great.
I’ve been thinking about getting a tan suit myself for next summer. Paired with a navy or black necktie, light blue shirt, and some dark brown slip-ons, a tan suit seems like it can be a little more formal than your usual navy sport coat and grey trousers combination, but still be casual enough for relaxing. And relaxing is probably what you want to be doing on summer weekends when the temperatures climb past 85°.
The only problem with a tan suit is that it marks you as a man who cares about clothes, which isn’t always something you want to express. So I’m thinking about getting something made from a more casual material, such as cotton or linen, rather than gabardine. That way, the jacket can be worn as a casual sport coat and the pants as odd trousers. Made with patch pockets and two-inch cuffs, they’d be just the right casual clothes for any warm day.
For something a little less rumply, Voxsartoria has something in a silk/ linen mix that looks pretty good. He tells me that the cloth is from an old Crystal Springs book by Holland & Sherry. I assume that bunch has been sold out, but I’ve asked the mill if they have anything else that’s similar (no word back yet). David Isle also tells me that Drapers has something they call their “Airy” hopsack, which comes in two shades of tan. The fabric doesn’t seem to be listed on their newly opened webshop, but I assume you can contact them for details.
In any case, I’m hoping to have something made this year, so I can have it ready for wearing next. Unlike Obama, I never talk about anything important, so I think I should be safe.
(Photos via Rugged Old Salt, Armoury, A Suitable Wardrobe, No Man Walks Alone, Most Exerent, Beijing 1980, Tommy Ton, The Suits of James Bond, Milstil, Japan Gentleman’s Lounge, Voxsartoria, and The White House)