Style is all about knowing what rules to bend and break, and one of the most flexible guidelines is seasonality. When winter turns to spring and summer turns to autumn, our first instinct is to swap out the old with the new. Seasonal dressing and the chance to experiment with fabrics and layering is one of the added bonuses that comes with living somewhere like Canada, with its not so subtle climate shifts.
For me, changing up my suits and jackets is the most exciting time of year: tweed and flannel in winter, and linen and cotton in the summer, and everything in between. Rotating the same jackets and trousers for months can become mundane so its Its always refreshing to change things up. Apart from pragmatism, there’s just something sartorially on point about having the right fabric for the right time of year. Owning pieces like a linen suit that are limited to wearing just a few times a year says a great deal about the maturity of your wardrobe. More so, it speaks to your proficiency in being able to pull off and coordinate unique seasonal fabrics and colours.
While I am a big proponent of seasonal specificity, it's important to acknowledge that garments like sport coats are a costly investment and it is in our best interest to stretch their mileage as far as possible. Who wants to spend all that money on a jacket you can only wear for a couple of months? Fortunately, a few simple guidelines and a bit of creativity can help get more return from your investments.
Let me first emphasize the word “stretch” here, not to be confused with replace. While many suits are created for all season wear, most sport coats and jackets are not. A new jacket may offer you some flexibility to extend into the next season, but it shouldn’t be worn like all season tires. Practically speaking, they won't perform very well like that either. A heavy tweed Donegal jacket is distinctly geared toward chilly outdoor conditions and won't feel very nice on a stifling summer afternoon. Read my article about The Autumn Sport Coat for tips on how to effectively wear flannel jackets.
The essence of mastering winter vs summer is all about the fabric. More specifically, its about picking hybrid fabrics, those that that are technically geared toward warm or cold but wouldn’t be obvious to most people. Think of a wool/linen blend jacket – like the one pictured – rather than a 100% linen jacket, which might look out of place even in the early autumn..
Avoid colours that tend to be associated with summer dressing, such as white, sky blue, pink, pale green, etc. Darker fabrics also minimize the appearance of the wrinkles that come with lighter summer cloths.
Another trick that can often help camouflage your "out of place" items is to incorporate pieces around it that are more "seasonally pronounced" so to speak. You might combine your jacket with flannel trousers and a light scarf to give off an immediate autumn impression.