I found it very interesting in our recent capsule suit collection article how many readers mentioned wearing suits casually. 

It’s natural to assume that suits are for business. It is how they have been most commonly used in recent decades, after all.

But as business becomes more casual, and men wear fewer suits (even moving to jacket and trousers – fingers crossed!), there will be some that want to save the suit and use it elsewhere. 

If you enjoy wearing head-to-toe tailoring in the same material, there’s no reason you can’t do in more casual circumstances. I’d argue it’s harder to do well, but it’s still possible. 

Indeed, casualisation might help the suit in some circumstances. It’s a natural step that the lounge suit will gradually replace the dinner jacket as the standard for evening, just as the dinner jacket replaced the tailcoat. 

This, then, is a companion piece to that original article: a suggested capsule collection of casual suits. 



1. Corduroy

Probably the most versatile material for a casual suit. 

Not only can it work as a suit, but both jacket and trousers can usually work separately. There aren’t many materials you can say that for.

My favourite colours are tan or pale brown, and dark green. Personally I don’t think navy works that well, but a warm grey can. And bright colours should usually be restricted to a jacket. 

The Pirozzi suit pictured of mine is worn with a tie. I assume, however, that most men wearing a suit casually will do so without a tie. 

This is a dangerous area. Suits can easily look incomplete without a tie: the scale of their colour means that having something to close the neck looks more finished and natural. A suit without a tie often looks incomplete, and unbalanced. 

But if it’s going to work with any material, it’s a casual one like cotton. And if you’re going to do it I’d recommend adding more elements to the outfit, to replace the tie, whether that’s a handkerchief, a pin, or a cardigan. 

One last point on corduroy is that it is going through a ‘moment’ in terms of fashion. It certainly wasn’t fashionable when I was growing up, and may not be in another five years. So perhaps don’t invest too heavily in it.



2. Other cottons

Cottons other than corduroy are also great casually. The way they rumple, fade and wear in just means they look more relaxed than any other tailoring material.

The only downside to these cottons is that they’re less likely to be wearable as separates. A brushed cotton like moleskin can work, for example, but simple cotton gabardines like my one pictured from Elia Caliendo, can struggle. 

There are many variations on cotton. Usually they’re a twill weave (for better body and drape) but there are lots of different weights and finishes. Drake’s has done quite a few different ones over the years for example, and I particularly like the Denim cotton bunch from Loro Piana (which I used for both my P Johnson trousers and Saman Amel trousers). 

I’d avoid full denim suits though. A jacket in a good denim can look great (see my Cifonelli) but the trousers often let it down. They don’t look like jeans, like just look like tailored indigo cotton. I’ve never worn my Cifonelli as a full suit as a result.



3. Tweed and other wools

If we switch from cotton to wool, any casual wool suit will likely be something approaching tweed – just because that’s what a coarser wool looks like. 

The issue with tweed generally is that anything soft enough to make a good jacket will not have enough body to make good trousers. So err on the side of denser, harder-finished tweeds. 

I’m in the process of having a grey-herringbone tweed suit made by The Anthology (The SherryTweed bunch) and the trousers look good. But I would never have ordered it if I hadn’t seen it made up on Buzz already. 

Tweed is also below cotton on this list because, frankly, I would pretty much always prefer a tweed jacket to a tweed suit. It looks better without a tie and is more versatile. 

I hope guys exploring casual suits aren’t doing so because they don’t feel confident combining separate jackets and trousers. By all means wear a casual suit; but make sure you master separates too. It will be more useful.

There are wools other than tweed of course, including some with names (like covert) and some without. Flannel, however, is hard to make work casually. At the very least, it needs to be in a non-business colour, so not dark grey or navy. 



4. Linen 

Our third fibre, and only listed fourth because it is limited to warmer months. 

Linen is a wonderful material for tailoring – as set out in our linen article in the Guide to Cloth. It’s strong, cool, light in weight and has a distinctive rumpled elegance. 

It’s also unlikely to be worn in a business environment, making it a great candidate for a casual suit. It would hardly be worn (and enjoyed) otherwise.

It also feels easier to justify the tieless look with a linen suit in hot weather, along with sockless (or invisible-sock) shoes and perhaps one more shirt button undone.

Linen is best in casual, earthy tones too: tans, greens and browns. Indeed, that applies to all the casual suits so far. Warmer and stronger colours are more casual, and so suit this style of suit. 

It probably goes without saying that  casual cut and make helps too. Less structure, less padding, and a soft, rounded cut. Probably Neapolitan.



5. Evening wear

As mentioned in the introduction, in the nineteenth century the dinner jacket gradually replaced the tailcoat for evening wear, just as during the day the lounge suit was replacing the frock coat.

Menswear has been becoming more casual for a long time. Just very slowly. 

If fewer people are wearing a suit today, therefore, it would be logical for it to start becoming the standard for formal events, replacing the dinner jacket. 

For wonderful as black tie is, there are times when it can seem a little tacky. The fact most dinner jackets are rented is a problem, as are the bastardisations of it worn by waiters. A white DJ looks great until you go to a restaurant and all the serving staff are wearing them. 

I think this is a theme we’ll explore in a separate article in the future, but for now suffice it to say that this is an excellent opportunity to wear the suit in another role. 

At evening events it is much easier to get away with double-breasted jackets, with waistcoats and with jewellery. 

Just remember that the same style principles of black tie apply: colours should still be dark, rich and tonal, with variation coming through cut and texture.

So black linen, perhaps, or even the dark-green linen I’m making a suit with at Gieves & Hawkes (below).

Textural variation through the choice between a shiny satin handkerchief and a matte linen one. Flannel for its texture, just like velvet in a smoking jacket. Something to dress the neck, even if that’s a roll neck or a silk scarf.



In the end, I think it’s great that people are exploring the idea of a casual suit – worn for pleasure rather than business. It can give tailoring a new lease of life. 

But I do think a separate jacket and trousers is the more useful and practical option most of the time – in all the examples above, except perhaps number 5. It can be harder to put together, but a separate jacket is more subtle and more modern. 

Hopefully the other posts in this Wardrobe Building series help illustrate that, as well as the posts in the Jackets and Trousers categories. 

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Ahhh simon I was so onbaord until the end!!! Jewellery replacing black tie???? Ughhhhhhh

Also importantly – what would moleskin in a suit be like? Worth it?

Keith Taylor

Do you not think the uniform texture would be a bit much in a suit? I often wear my much loved moleskin peacoat on cooler days, but I always feel I need to break up that mass of smooth texture with something different in the trousers. I usually end up going for a stubby linen or a heavier wool, depending on the weather.

Keith Taylor

Yes, I’d say it’s the almost velvety smoothness that would overwhelm me. Maybe it’s just that I’m not particularly adventurous nor brave in my clothing choices, but in all moleskin I think I’d feel self conscious in a way I wouldn’t with most cottons, which usually feel like they fade into the background rather than shout their presence. I’m sure it would look great on someone confident enough in their choices to wear it proudly, though 🙂

P.S. Stubby in my comment above should read slubby. Bloody autocorrect.


Hi Simon.

Thank you again for another interesting and insightful article. I was wondering whether for option 1 to 4, for an even more casual look, it was possible to pull off trousers with a waistcoat only (of the same fabric and color I mean). I am aware that a waistcoat should be worn with a jacket, but since the article is about casual fabric, I thought this may work.


A casual suit for me means Italian .
Soft tailoring , worn effortlessly but which can easily be stepped up with a tie .
I think there is something about brands such as Boglioli , Caruso and a lot of the stuff that Trunk clothiers carry which allow them to work casually and formally ( with a little ‘f’).
Likewise The Armoury , Anglo Italian all look like they carry great informal suits .

Aside from mentioning the cloths would you care to mention particular brands or tailoring houses that you feel do a great classic suit ?
Also , aside from the jacket what makes a trouser as part of a suit informal ( pleats ? No pleats ? Etc ).


Fantastic article, Simon. I always find myself gravitating toward the casual-fabric suits you’ve had made in recent years (green corduroy, tobacco and charcoal linen, etc.), but have tried to temper too many such commissions only because they have more limited use for me personally.

I’ve instead taken your advice on jacket+trousers with a tweed jacket commission from Steven Hitchcock and an upcoming Solito jacket commission in a summer blend. To date I’ve found it much more versatile than some of my earlier choices (e.g. tobacco linen Edward Sexton low button DB).


Hi simon
On the topic of casual suits I really like the idea of a fun suit like this from the Armoury (https://thearmoury.com/products/the-armoury-washed-cotton-model-11a-suit?variant=17115981447239). I can see how the trouser can be a useful separate but I struggle to see how the top can be worn on its own. What trousers would you suggest pairing the jacket with, if at all?


Dark, preferably raw denim jeans would look really smart with that jacket as an off duty seperate. As we know navy and tan contrast really well together so it would definitely work.

Good luck.


I would advocate for mohair as a more suitable ‘eveningwear alternative’ due to the slight sheen.

In my view the characteristics which make linen unsuitable for office wear would further compound its unsuitability (literally!) for what should be a more formal evening setting.


Hello Simon,

What dress shirt material would you recommend to pair with a linen suit to be worn for a wedding in tropical weather? I’m tempted to wear my new linen suit with a linen shirt, but I think that’s overkill. However, I need the shirt material to be breathable. Thanks for writing about casual suits.

Martin Fang

Why would you prefer att different material in the shirt depending on if one is wearing a tie or not? Thank’s in advance!


A nice post. I would point out though that depending on climate, linen may in fact be more versatile than some of the other clothes you mentioned. Where I am in California, there are more months when a corduroy suit would be too hot than there are when a linen suit would be too cool.
Also a question: I have looked for a Neapolitan house that does trips to the west coast of the US, but have so far not had success. Any suggestions?

Stanford Chiou

Napoli Su Misura?


Interesting article. May I ask which bunch the cotton suit from Caliendo is?


Great article Simon.
Slightly related point; do you have any rules about breaking up a suit to wear the jacket and trousers separately? I’m thinking mostly to do with not wanting to have them wear/age/need dry cleaning at different rates, but any other pointers appreciated.


If one was choosing to have a summer cotton suit made up – which is the best fabric maker for the cotton – and would one get more use from brown (your Caliendo) or green would you say?


Nigel C

I disagree a bit with the idea that the separate jacket is more modern – its been around for a while too. Wearing a suit casually is taking it out of its more usual business setting and being a bit challenging with it. It’s easier to mess up for sure, as you need to think about the accompaniments more so that your look is not veering in the direction ”dressed down business suit”. I have a few suits that I wear casually and I actually feel better at informal events in the suit than in a jacket and trousers. It’s nice when people are dressed for the spirit of the event but have, mercifully, not all decided to wear the same things. It’s always good for a compliment too for making the effort and not simply going for the obvious default choices! But you need to be comfortable in the look too. Best wishes N


I like the idea of a casual suit, but primarily, if not exclusively, during the Summer. Of course linen always works, but I also like a linen and silk blend very much because it doesn’t wrinkle as much and has a different texture.

Peter O

Dear Simon,

Sorry to ask this if you find evident, but what do you mean by a “warm” gray? (In Switzerland gray is seen often as automobile colour.) What would be in your view a “cold” gray?


Thank you Simon for yet another valuable article filling an important gap. This is something I have thought a lot about in the last few months. Having built up a capsule wardrobe of seasonal “risk-free” jackets and trousers for work and a couple of solid business suits for rare occasions, I recently took the plunge on my first casual suit. It has been bewildering. For me there are two parameters that have been very difficult optimise: versatility and understatement. Versatility is key because I can only bring myself to buy fine tailoring if I get plenty of wear out if. But the reality is, as you point out, that I will never get the same versatility out of a casual suit than my previous purchases so maybe now is the time to just throw versatility out of the window. Similarly understatement is important to my personal style but nowadays a casual suit, like a pocket square, is so atypical that it can very easily become a statement in itself. What’s been frustrating is that the casual suits that have inspired me are usually not very versatile or understated. Caution got the better of me and what I ended up commissioning was a grey flannel houndstooth from Caliendo. So soft tailoring, three season for London, two way suit (could wear as suit or just jacket), urban colouring, wool for “performance” and, most importantly, should be super comfortable. Clearly not as casual as corduroy or linen, but distinctly not a work suit. Use cases for me would be Fridays at work and otherwise its weekend lunches, dinners or whenever I feel like dressing up a bit. I have no idea how the suit will come out, probably a totally misstep, but it got me thinking that perhaps flannel, or wool/linen blends for the summer, are the modern day setting for houndstooth, glen checks, POWs and other old school patterns.


A bit thin of an article this. More of a list of some casual suiting materials than a capsule collection. Part of the reason I trust is that there are fewer restrictions on casual suiting, which is why I’d have been much more interested in a personal take rather than a prescriptive piece: which have been your favorite casual commissions or what five yet-unmade pieces would you design for yourself?

Personally I’ve been loving my gray fresco and an olive silk/linen/wool basket-weave this summer, both unlined single-breasteds. And I never wear ’em with ties. I don’t find the look either “incomplete” or “unbalanced.” Rather, the idea of wearing a tie with a casual summer suit in a non-business or formal event context strikes me as both stuffy and inconsistent. Lots of subjectivity on this point.


In terms of colour for a linen suit, I am looking for something that doesn’t stand out much while at the same time, keeping the charm of linen (so no navy / charcoal). I am thinking french blue / light grey. What do you think? Thanks


Hi Simon,

thanks a lot for another informative article in this series.

Do you think seersucker can play a role here?
Certainly this fabric is a bit rare on this side of the Atlantic ocean – which in my opinion is a shame.

I am currently thinking of commissioning a seersucker suit (in classic lightblue/white stripes) and I believe this can be very versatile. If well made the jacket and the trousers can be worn separately and as a suit it can easily go with or without tie.

Keith Taylor

“One last point on corduroy is that it is going through a ‘moment’ in terms of fashion. It certainly wasn’t fashionable when I was growing up, and may not be in another five years. So perhaps don’t invest too heavily in it.”

I’d humbly suggest that the safest bet would be to go for something with a narrow wale. I wasn’t aware that corduroy was having a moment (though I’m happy to hear it as I have a ridiculous five pairs of cord trousers I rarely wear), but once that moment is over I’d expect the first clothes to look dated would be those with an ‘old-mannish’ chunky wale you can see from a mile off.

It’s also probably worth erring towards the slimmer fit, especially on trousers. I had to take all of mine in – more around the thigh than anywhere else – to give them a more contemporary look.


An interesting article. Having ploughed this particular furrow since 1973, there are a few points worth making:
First off, casual suits shouldn’t be cut quite as close as their business counterparts. They need to look relaxed and louche not trussed up or like a ‘smart’ suit cut from a different cloth. They should also look best when suitably aged and moulded to the wearer. The best example I’ve seen in this hallowed cyber hall is your A&S DB.
Secondly, cord has been having a ‘moment’ since 1973 when I bought my first grey fine wale from Newcastle’s finest sartorial emporium, ‘Marcus Price’. You can invest with confidence.
Thirdly, casual suits can, of course, be worn with ties but are best without but you need the right shirt. With cord, a vintage denim or flannel is perfect. The right roll-neck sweater also looks great. A Friday Polo looks good with both cord and linen.
Finally in terms of cloths and colours. Blue cords can look great. I have a mid blue A&S SB that they made up for me from a Loro Piana cord that I particularly love also, not so long ago, I was at an event were Bryan Ferry was wearing a midnight blue fine wale as an evening suit resplendent with a black foppish bow tie ! Cooler than that it’s difficult to get.
When it comes to other cottons, I think the only colour that looks really good is that slightly dirty off white and lastly, flannel can be a great option for a casual suit but only if cut in a really louche style.
All in all this is a great subject. I certainly don’t think anybody needs ‘five’ but it’s certainly the future of the suit .


interesting and informative article. thank you. Would have been nice to see the other clothing you would match with the suits as a guide. You mentioned some in your answers to questions, but as a novice i would be interested to see what you would wear with the suits (different types of shirt, shoes etc) with pictures of them laid alongside each other. i realise that might make a big article though (and that perhaps many of your readers are more experienced than i and not needing that guidance)


I would love to see an article addressing shirt tones and textures to match these casual suits. Appropriate, non-business shirt pairings can help carry the suit without tie.


What wale are your cord suits? Would 10 Wale be a good place to start?


Wow, much thinner than I expected. Is that what yours are? Hard to find a thin wale like that that isn’t also quite light?


100% agree with the comment about mastering separates. As a uni student I practically live in them due to the ease of picking up bargains on decent quality new and used pieces. It allows for so much more room in playing with combinations.

That being said I am just about to commission my first suit and am looking forward to stepping into that world. I will be having a lot of fun with casual suiting thanks to playing with separates first.

Gus Walbolt

Even if corduroy is having a “fashion moment” it’s been a cool weather wardrobe staple for me for many years in medium browns, mossy greens and medium heather greys. I mostly mix them as separates with denim, chinos, oxford cloth shirts or roll neck sweaters. I probably only wear them as a full suit 20% of the time. Paired with a knit tie, I can go to all but the most formal places so they are ideal for travel. A khaki cotton suit is my warmer weather favorite. I think it looks best to choose more casual details if you plan to wear them as separates with other fabrics and colors. I go for patch pockets, soft shoulders and a somewhat easy construction. For warm weather with a bit more dressy look I have a cotton /cashmere/linen blend suit in an inky navy. A crisp white shirt and navy and white rep tie can take me anywhere. Or, It can be worn with a tee shirt and espadrilles for a casual, luxury resort look.



Assuming that a tailored, fitted jacket is a “platform”, if you could assign a percentage of those that are part of a suit, and those that are separates (the blazer, etc.), what would you estimate the current percentage be? (50-50?).

And as we move to a more casual world, what would you estimate the future percentages be? (80 jacket – 20 suit?).

I know at one time, a retailer would have multiple racks of suits, and a small number of racks for all the blazers, tweeds, etc. Usually, the same number of racks for jackets, as they had for formal wear.

Now? It is more difficult to get a fix on what the market will buy…Very often the racks are mixed – you grab a jacket, thinking it is a separate (owing to what else you have seen on that rack, as well, as perhaps the unusual material it is made of), and discover it has matching pants enclosed…

Marshall A

Love the site and the content. However. . .
People are not referred to as “that.” People are “who.” In these inhumane times, it would be nice for someone so concerned with human pleasure to recognize, in their usage, the humanity of the humans reading your human thoughts about clothing that brings great pleasure to, uh, errr, HUMANS!


Thanks for a very interesting article. Sorry if I am being daft but I couldn’t identify the suit in the last-but-one picture. The modern evening dress topic is a very interesting; I think we’ve exchanged words about it and I hope to read more.
On another note I’ve noticed in myself that whilst I often wear separates and casual suits, I never sem to wear ties with them. The only rationalisations I can find for my outside work tielessness are that
a) Aside perhaps from Pall Mall clubs no one really has a tie dress code any more. A tie is really above smart casual and almost any tie now feels at a level of formality equal to dark suit (even if the tie would not itself match such a suit);
b) Alan Partridge.
This in spite of seeing lots of people from Andreas Weinås to David Beckham looking quite dashing in jacket and tie.


Hi Simon,

Do you think that a double-breasted suit can work as a casual suit?
And if yes, do you think it can work in all of the above mentioned materials?

(I noticed that you posted an image of your Musella-Dembech cotton DB, but you are wearing it with a roll-neck and I am curious weather you conceive of a DB suit worn with a shirt and no tie)

Congratulations for yet another great and very useful post!
Perhaps at some point you could make a post about “a jacket capsule collection”? Thanks!


Thanks for the article Simon.

I actually use my corduroy and linen suit far more often than the two worsted suits (one fresco for summer and a heavier one from lumbs for winter). The jacket themselves also get used separately a fair bit.

I have a cotton jacket, but i do feel it’s somewhat shinny, so maybe a full suit would work better like you say. Would cotton work in winter? I got a new linen suit because I used the other often but two corduroy suits (I have a dark olive) might be too much and I’m not sure I could pull off a tweed suit even though I have some tweed jackets.


Hello Simon. I am considering my first commission of a linen jacket or perhaps suit. I was interested in having a look at the green mentioned being made by Gieves. Could you kindly provide the bunching number and any advice on other colors and weight would be appreciated.


Another very interesting post Simon. What part does fabric weight play in suit choice if you use a traditional SR tailor? I have ‘lightweight’ linen jackets made by my traditional SR tailor that weigh far more than a mid-weight tweed made by my Neapolitan tailor. I guess that this is down to all the chest padding, interlining, etc and does give my SR jackets a shaped (maybe even bullet proof!) appearance in comparison to the Neapolitan. However, it does mean that the official weight of the cloth becomes somewhat redundant, except when considering how the fabric will look and its wear over time.


That’s great to hear Simon, I’m a big fan of Mr Taub and hope that others on SR may ‘follow suit’. It would seem to me that varying the weight of the canvas used is a sensible way that traditional SR tailors can appeal to a wider range of potential customers without damaging the reputation and look of their individual ‘house styles’.


Using lighter canvas with lighter cloth is hardly new. It makes little sense to use the same innards in a linen suit as would be used in a 20 oz flannel. If this is what your tailor does, find yourself a new one.


Hi Simon – is it possible to know which grey-herringbone in the SherryTweed bunch is being used to make your suit (option 3)? And whether there are pictures of the suit that you mention, which inspired it? Apologies if you’ve already said elsewhere.


Hi Simon,

For casual suits (let’s take linen, for example), what are your thoughts on patch pockets vs jetted? I’d like to be able to break up the suit to wear as separates but recognize that patch pockets on a suit ensemble may look unusual. Also, how do you feel about a suit jacket separate and/or sport coat with jetted pockets?


Cord suit trousers – would you get pleats or would they look funny with cords? Presume no turn ups?

Felipe McQuillen

Hello.This post was extremely motivating, especially since I
was looking for thoughts on this issue last Sunday.


What are your thoughts on green seersucker? I’m debating between a green seersucker or a tan light-weight corduroy summer suit.


I get what you mean about green being fashion-led, but how about a dark olive seersucker? Maybe it could be dressed up with shirt and tie, or down with sweaters, polos, or rugby shirts?


Hi Simon,

What are your thoughts on blue silk/linen/wool blend jacket / suit?


I’m thinking of sth like this https://therake.com/stories/style/chester-barrie-the-rake-blazer/

Thank you.


Would like to hear your thoughts on this as well.


I saw this beautiful navy broken stripe cotton trouser from BnTailor. Do you think it would work as a casual suit? Or would this still be considered as quite formal because of the stripes despite the casual nature of cotton.



Hi Simon,

I am contemplating on having my first made to measure suit in wool material preferably high twist. Could you recommend what would be the ideal weight to wear most of the year with the exception of extreme climate conditions for example when the temperature are souring. I have read many articles on your website and you mentioned the high twist wool is very practical and drapes better. In addition, which Italian tailor would you recommend if one has a moderate budget?


hi simon,

I’m having my first Attolini suit made this weekend in a grey/blue Ascot Fresco material. Probably with dark brown unpolished horn buttons, 3 roll 2 single breast jacket.

I want it to be a bit sportier, something I might wear with a white shirt no tie, with my LP open walks no socks in the summer, maybe to weddings or less formal days at the office.

Would you recommend cuffs or no cuffs, one pleat or no pleats on the trousers? Higher rise or mid rise? Would you do patch pockets not sides or not on the jacket. I’m 1m84 and fairly slim so typically a 48l jacket but with 50 trousers.

Many thanks in advance for your thoughts


I have wool suits in various color. However I found myself prefer the casual look of linen. As I still plan to wear them to the office (dress code is pretty casual), I am hoping to get something that’s on the mid to darker shade. would a navy Irish linen suit defeats the purpose of having an Irish suit as it is so dark that it hides all the wrinkles and would be too business-y? Would you suggest dark green over navy? Cheers


But for a first linen suit for that kind of office, wouldn’t navy look too faded and eventually look unappealing over time Simon?


How much does a summer cotton suit wrinkles? Similar to lightweight wool?

And is a cotton gabardine suit less in need of care as a linen suit? What I primarly mean is the need for pressing.


Would you recommend cotton gabardine for spring and late summer/early autumn?
I like the look and casual appereance of a cotton suit and olive green is my favourite colour but usually I don’t wear suits in the summer heat (over ~25 degree celsius).
What weight would you choose? 9oz? Or higher?

Does cotton wrinkle less than irish linen?
Linen is only suitable for hot summers, or?


I have, but I think my question was too imprecise and maybe misleading. I apologise for that.

What I actual would like to know is if a cotton suit is the best choice for a casual suit for warm but not hot days when doing things like attending a casual event or watching tennis at wimbledon or a soccer match. The point is I don’t like corduroy and the only other casual cloth would be linen but there I’m unsure if it isn’t to summery for my needs. Moreover linen wrinkles too much for my taste. Therefore the question about cotton vs. irish linen.


I’ve seen a picture of your olive green cotton suit from The Anthology. I think olive green works particularly good in cotton. As I’m not a fan of cotton suits, any suggestions for other fabrics in which olive green has a similar appealing look?



What do you think Simon,

These are all referred to as ‘casual’ because traditionally, in Britain, these types of fabrics were associated with country and sporting life, as opposed to dark worsted suits—the mainstay of city business life.
We strongly believe it should be recognized that the term casual suit is an oxymoron, or misnomer at the very least.
Indeed, whether we like it or not, the subtext of casual dress is anonymity. Casual dress is not meant to draw attention.
However, any outfit that draws attention is somehow considered dressier by today’s standards—not by virtue of the underlying formality of its constituent pieces, but simply by virtue of its overall ‘loudness factor’. Therefore, by some ironic twist of sartorial fate, the so-called casual suit (which was historically intended for casual country wear) is today at risk of appearing dressier than a classic plain dark worsted suit.Today, the dark suit is perceived as being so unremarkable and so anonymous that it has reached some newfound and paradoxical form of casualness — just think of a lineup of men in dark suits after 6 PM at a downtown bar, ties dropped and waiting to be served their next round of beer. Is any one of these guys noticeable by his outfit? Each plain dark suit seems to blend in against the backdrop of what everyone else is wearing in such a context. Yet, this is precisely why people buy dark suits: to be unremarkable.

Turning now to what happens when you wear a ‘casual suit’—the checked fabric, or slightly unusual tweed, or the less common shade of brown, immediately draws everybody’s eyes to the suit. These are the times when people stop and say ‘Hey, nice suit!’If the ‘casual suit’ were actually as casual as the name implies, people wouldn’t notice it nor feel compelled to make comments. It’s precisely because the casual suit is perceived as dressier by today standards that we need to find a new term to designate this style.


Dear Simon,

I hope that you don’t mind me commenting on an older post.

I was thinking about commanding a cotton sports coat, lately, possibly in taupe, maybe even in black. I think that Willy Wong demonstrates how well this can be worn.
Then I came across this post of yours, where you mention that cotton would be “less likely to be wearable as separates” and if so, rather in moleskin. This comment made me a little unsure.
Would you mind, giving me a little explanation as to why you think so? I would really appreciate that.

Best regards


That is very good to know. Thanks a lot for your reply!


Hi Simon, I’m trying to get an unlined Neapolitan style cotton suit. I am viewing it as an all year around option and am going cotton (over wool or cord say) as a way of making it more casual rather than due to necessarily seeing it as a summer fabric. I have a cotton sports coat that a regularly reach for (just suitsupply) and so a better made cotton suit jacket would be a good upgrade. I am however, stuck on colour. I like khaki or olive, however when I see that it appears a lot more statement; not so much for readers here but in my office/the real world away from menswear enthusiasts. They also both seem aesthetically much more summery. I’m therefore thinking Navy, but am wondering if you’ve found your navy cotton suits useful at any time apart from evening? I would ideally like something that I can take as my one suit for travelling, can be a three-way suit, and is also relevant for summer/transitional seasons. What do you think?

I do have a beige/taupe linen suit and will get a cord DB so I think I will have covered summer and winter well. I just want the versatility in one piece for this. Thanks!


Thank you. To be fair I guess I don’t mind standard. If I’m going for one versatile piece then maybe standard is exactly what I need. That it is well made and the fact it is cotton might be enough in itself. Otherwise I think a dark olive sounds good – not too obviously summer only as with a beige, but still summery as it is an earthy tone.


I have the feeling that the casual suit is rather on its way out. Most wear rather separates (jacket and odd-trousers).
As to evening wear: From my perspective this is very lively, black and white tie. But only in Vienna with its ball season requiring black tie for nearly all and white tie for some balls.
There is even a 160-page dress code in (American) English for Viennese balls dated 2012…. nothing has changed since then (see https://issuu.com/ballguide/docs/dc-2012-01-english)


What do you think of a corduroy chore and matching trousers as a casual suit in the winter?
(maybe with saw tooth denim shirt or a chambray shirt)


I am a newcomer to your blog, having only discovered it in the last month. Firstly, I’d like to than you for putting together this immense body of work. For many years I have operated based on how I ‘feel’ about a look without being able to put my finger on why I feel that way. You have articulated the why and I only wish I had discovered the blog 15 years ago.

Secondly, I have a question on casual suits. Having worked in finance for nearly 20 years, I have leaned heavily into the formal business suit, with my casual wardrobe heavily influenced by workwear. In recent years, however, I have increasingly found myself overdressed for weddings as they become more casual, and really struggled to find an appropriate style when my office abandoned the suit and tie a few years back. I eventually settled into chinos and shirt/knitwear but still struggle when knitwear isn’t enough but a business suit would be overkill. I eventually purchased a tweed sports jacket which is fine in the winter but impractical in the heat.

I find the idea of a casual suit appealing as it seems very versatile; I could imagine wearing the jacket with smart chinos to dress it down or the trousers with knitwear to elevate those. I was thinking of adding a dark tobacco linen and a mid grey textured flannel to my wardrobe. I know that you include flannel in your more formal capsule but I think that a textured flannel can have a lovey luxurious casual look to it.

Am I on the right track with this or would you point me in a different direction?
Many thanks


Thanks Simon,

Yes, my instinct with the tobacco was to go as dark as possible without losing that richness of colour. Whether I can find that or not remains to be seen!

Looking at your Pirozzi cord I think perhaps I do need to rethink it as an option. I guess I associate it with a level of fuddiness but looking at your cord jackets, the cut appears to be what elevates it.


Yes, I’ve read it, although when I read it I wasn’t considering the possibility of a cord suit. I’ll read it again in that context.

One final question if I might; is there a reason why you suggest a dark brown rather than the lovely olive of your Ettore suit? Do you think the olive might be ‘too much’ for an office?


Hi Simon, based on our conversation I decided to take a chance with the cord. I spotted an olive green Paul Smith suit on Marrkt in my size for a steal. The stying isn’t necessarily as casual as I would have liked, and there’s certainly alterations required to achieve an acceptable fit, but I think it will allow me to experiment and figure out how I might wear it before committing to a bigger spend. Thanks for the advice.


Hi Simon,

After reading your article, I plan to have a set of black linen suits as summer casual suits and summer black tie. Is that accessible? I wanna ask for your opinion and advice. Thank you.


So a DB with a peak lapel is the best choice in this circumstance, right? Could you please give me more advice on some elements of the suits? Thank you so much!


For DB n it that much. But as you said, DB may be easier lol


Hi Simon! Would you say 3-piece suits are still fashionable to wear?
Are they more fussy and/or outdated?
Or should I just commission one because I like it?
I posted this in the casual suit article as opposed to the business suit article because I work in the menswear industry which does not require me to wear worsted wools.
I think this would be a good article to elaborate on, might be helpful to others as well! Thank you as always.



I’m not wearing a suit to work, not even separate jacket and trousers, only because nobody else does in my office. However I really enjoy wearing separe jacket and trousers for a number of none office related events. I would like to wear suits more often for a number of occasions like: dinner at the restaurant, theatre, parties, informal day events or even meeting friends at the pub. But have a hard time figure out what to comission. I have a dark navy suit which covers the more formal events, but I would like to have at least two more suits that I can wear more casually. I think the suits discussed in this post is a bit too casual for what I’m looking for. I’d say I prefer something made out of wool but not so coarse and heavy as some tweed. Do you have any recomendation of what to comission and what colors, fabrics and style of jacket to consider? I was thinking of a moss green suit (like fox city FC4) and a light to mid grey one, but I’m not sure. I prefer a plain or subtle pattern but don’t mind texture if you know what I mean.

/ Benjamin



Thank you for your reply. Perhaps some lighter, smoother tweed or flannel is the way to go here, or a more textured worsted wool like Fox City as mentioned. Do you have any suggestion when it comes to color?

Is there anything else I could do to make the suit more casual? For example, is it a good idea to use patched pockets and perhaps a natural colored horn button? How about half/full canvas?


A pattern, like a herringbone, a faint windowpane or a glen check (Prince of Wales) will also help to remove any business associations. There are various flannels with these sorts of patterns you could go for. Tweeds aimed for suiting like those of Porter & Harding Thornproof or Hartwist or Minnis Allsport would also do quite nicely. There are many patterns to choose from, depending on what you like. A dark brown with some faint check, or even a grey Prince of Wales would work nicely for your intended use. Simon has a herringbone tweed suit (from the Anthology) which is nice. I wouldn’t use H&S sherry tweed for trousers though, but P&H has similar tweeds suitable for suits even if they are a bit less wollen.



Great suggestions, thank you! Do any of you have experience with H&S Moorland Tweed or Fox Worsted Flannel (perhaps the classic wollen flannel is a better choice)?


What is your opinion of navy linen suits? I own a tobacco brown linen suit but are thinking about buying another linen suit. I already own three other summer suits. Two high-twists, mid-grey and taupe and one in a light navy thin wool. All are napolitan (All but one from Saman Amel).


What are your thoughts on cream and off-white for linen suits?


Very stylish examples of casual tailoring!

What strikes me is that apparently with the tweed/corduroy/linen you seem to be wearing normal poplin shirts and silk ties. Like in what regard is it possible to wear a traditional business outfit and swap the worsted suit for a (mid to dark brown) corduroy or tweed suit, Simon?


Regarding black-tie, one thing I like to do in this increasingly casual world is use the odd dinner jacket, but keep it black/midnight if you think the rest of the room will be black (if “creative,” then I’ll go for a different color or whatever). This way you add a touch of personal expression and uniqueness to the sea of rented dinner suits or waiter/bartender uniforms.

I wear a “napped” cashmere with grosgrain lapels, velvet (self-faced), or slubbed silk; I use the same wool trousers for all three, and all three are shawl. I suppose they are all technically less formal, but the relaxed look suits me, and there are almost no events where they would feel “wrong.”

Guy W

Hi Simon, I wasn’t sure where to post this question, but it is suit related so here goes. Given my current work environment (lawyer in a tech/finance company), I’ve sold all of my suits and moved completely to wearing separates with no tie. However, it got me thinking whether I need to have one suit in my wardrobe.

I was after your advice on whether you think a tobacco brown linen (or linen/wool mix) suit – on the darker and colder end of the tobacco spectrum – would be a good choice. While that sounds odd to have as my only suit, I don’t think I need a more classic navy or grey suit for the following reasons:
I have more professional/sombre separates if I need to dress up for a meeting or attend court (grey trousers and navy jacket, for example).In relation to weddings, I feel like separates and a tie are more than acceptable and sometimes more appropriate than a suit.In relation to funerals, I feel like sombre separates is again more than acceptable (and I often find I’m still the most conservatively dressed person).Even if I changed jobs to a more conservative environment, I feel like I have enough conservative separates which, paired with a tie and nice leather shoes (of which I have plenty), works well.I’ve also had a tobacco brown linen suit in the past (again on the darker and colder end of the spectrum) and found it surprisingly well suited to more scenarios than I had originally thought, as well as being quite easy to separate out.

What do you think? Is that crazy to have as your only suit?

Guy W

Haha, that’s an excellent point, Simon! I guess I can’t really answer that reasonably or rationally so I think the answer is that I don’t need it. Cheers!