While a cream suit is a perennial byword for sharp summer style, what’s striking about this year’s array is how particularly fine the jackets look dressed down and worn as smart-casual daywear.
At Ralph Lauren, for example, a cream, heavy-weave Italian silk shantung jacket (part of a Purple Label suit, £2,995) looks suave paired with washed-out black jeans (£255) and a T-shirt (£70) – this monochrome styling would make a strong impact at laid-back summer events. Similarly, at Cifonelli a cream wool/silk/linen jacket (£1,450) works fantastically well with black linen cigarette pants (£290) and a white linen shirt (£280). And at Corneliani a dressy ivory silk jacket (£1,100) with nacre buttons has a gorgeous sheen that can be offset with low-key grey cotton trousers (£250). This jacket is just one of many in a cream-dominated collection: “The spotlight is on every possible shade of white, from ice and cream to pearl and mastic,” says creative director Sergio Corneliani.
Rich cream tailored jackets from Dunhill are also top-flight. Patch pockets on a silk jacket (£1,590) lend a relaxed feel, a slubby linen jacket (£1,425 for the suit) works well teamed with a charcoal cashmere/silk Henley top (£420), while the eight gold buttons on a long and lean cream blazer (£1,425) evoke a rakish, colonial air. Canali’s double-breasted slubby, ridged cream silk/cotton jacket (£1,510 for the suit) also has metal buttons, which in light bronze with a copper-plate “C” logo deliver a vintage accent.
Turkish designer Umit Benan (who distinguished himself with several strong seasons at Trussardi) has pushed this casual look further with a collection entitled Tennis Club de Cartegena, Colombia, where tennis-inspired separates are paired with cream tailoring to strong effect. A roomy double-breasted cotton drill jacket (£1,110) looks cool with a white cotton piqué shirt (£220) and tailored joggers (£330). Incidentally, wearing smart tracksuit bottoms as standard daywear is an ever-strengthening trend.
Tailored jackets in other light hues also look good when styled more casually. At Hermès a limestone cotton/linen jacket (£1,830) feels laid-back when worn with wet-sand cotton trousers (£520), a linen top (£650) and white slip-on plimsolls (£510). And I recently commissioned a bespoke double-breasted suit (£3,600) from tailors Thom Sweeney in a light Ariston silk/linen herringbone with slubs of blush and fawn, which I plan to team with a silk T-shirt or Breton singlet. “Light-coloured tailoring can make a big impact,” says co-founder Thom Whiddett. “It’s about getting the pastel tone right – nothing too bright – and a fabric that drapes beautifully.” Highlights in the ready-to‑wear collection include a champagne single-breasted cotton/cashmere suit (£1,275).
Gieves & Hawkes also ventures into pastels and its pale mint-green wool/linen suit (£1,895) looks deftly styled with an off-white cotton T-shirt (£125) and grey cashmere scarf (£250), while a chalky pale blue linen/silk/wool weave jacket (£595) and trousers (£195) pair well with a matching cotton tee (£125) and dark blue patterned silk scarf (£250). At Marc Jacobs there’s a pastel blue cotton/silk blazer (£1,135) and trousers (£435), as well as a cream double-breasted cotton blazer (£1,155) and trousers (£435), which look great with an ultra-casual white shirt (£425) and plimsolls (£127). And finally, at Bottega Veneta there’s an especially easy-breezy take on the trend: a pale pink cotton jacket (£1,650) worn with shorts (£290) and matching soft leather lace-ups (£440).