Perci-Wear With Dan Rookwood: Suiting
Introducing Perci-Wears, bringing you styling secrets from the experts, thanks us later.
We caught up with menswear officianado Dan Rookwood, who kindly turned his eye to our fan favourite Linen Suit. This is the definitive sartorial guide to styling this versatile (and very lovely) suit, for every occasion.
Chances are, you’ve got at least one wedding to go to this year. (We’re still working our way through the lockdown backlog.) Maybe it’s your own. Congrats. Or perhaps you’re going to something fancy like Wimbledon, a work summer party, or a friend of a friend’s yacht in Ibiza.
If you’re only going to buy one suit this year, make it a Percival linen suit. Because this one suit, suits all.
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How often will I wear linen suits?
You might think “Oh but I don’t know whether I’d get enough wear out of a linen suit.” Think again. Linen spans the formality spectrum: you can dress it up with a shirt and tie, or down with a tee and sneakers (aka trainers). Linen suit style at every occasion.
We’ve styled each of the three looks with different shades of linen to show more of the range but each outfit could just as easily work with the same suit – which makes it a versatile choice and decent value for money. And when we say “decent”, we mean “excellent”.
How do the linen suits fit?
The easy-wear jackets fit true to size. They are unstructured and unlined and therefore very lightweight, breathable, and comfortable. When it comes to the lower half, you can choose from three different cuts of trouser – a tailored fit (think suit trousers), a slightly looser straight leg (more of a chino fit), or a drawstring that has a relaxed pyjama feel. (They are not pyjamas.). There are countless options for a linen suit style.
For maximum outfit versatility, consider buying the matching linen shorts, too – see look three.
What colour to choose?
There’s a choice of four colours. The natural and light blue/grey options are more summery but less forgiving than the navy or the forest green should there be any spillages. So maybe avoid the red wine.
What about the creases?
A suit made from linen takes some of the stiffness and formality out of wearing tailoring. The linen suit style is supposed to look rumpled, lived in and unstructured – that’s the point. These suits will crease when you do crazy things like walk, sit down, cross your arms, bust out the Running Man to the Grease megamix. You can’t avoid it by walking around all stiff like the Tin Man the day after playing 5-a-side so just relax.
Should you feel the need though, you can give it a quick iron before wearing but iron the jacket from the inside.
Here are three ways to wear a linen suit:
Look 1: The Night Before
This is a smart but not formal outfit for a night out. If you’ve finally made it to your partner’s cousin’s wedding that was postponed three times, this is what to wear at the welcome drinks the night before.
If you’re not super confident when wearing a pattern or colour, choose one focus item – normally the shirt – and keep the rest of the outfit fairly muted so as not to compete with it.
A plain linen suit acts as a blank canvas – a versatile frame for multiple different types of shirt, from the safe option up to a super-spicy number. Just make sure that the colours coordinate. For example, is there a minor colour in the shirt that works with the linen of the suit? Cool, you’re good to go.
Fit 2: The Big Day
This is ideal for a more formal event such as the wedding day itself. Or going to watch the tennis in the posh seats, like Dave Becks. That guy is always there. Loves it.
Wedding dress codes have relaxed but take a tie just in case. You can always remove it and stash it in your jacket pocket if it turns out to be a more relaxed linen suit style vibe.
If you do go for a tie, we recommend a knitted one which texturally works well with the linen. And pick one that coordinates colour-wise. For example, with the light grey/blue suit, a tie with a darker shade of grey or blue is a good bet.
Knitted ties can look a bit bulky so pull the knot fairly tight, pinch and shape it with your fingers, and make sure it fits inside the collar points of your shirt. And tuck that shirt in. An untucked shirt worn with a tie is a bit ‘schoolboy at the back of the bus’.
There are two options if you go sans tie: either button all the way up, or undo two buttons. Undoing just one is too stiff and corporate – no thanks. But undoing any more than two buttons is a bit lothario. Unless you’ve got the medallion and leathery chest wig to pull it off in which case, you do you, lover boy.
Word to the wise when it comes to the colour of the shirt, mind. If you’re likely to be busting some moves and it’s a warm day, avoid pastel colours which will show up tell-tale perspiration patches. A white shirt is the way to go. With maybe a change of shirt hanging up in the cloakroom if necessary.
Fit 3. The Morning After
If we’re still at the summer wedding, this is the morning after the night before. Hence the sunglasses. And the sniggering. Or maybe it’s just an easy-breezy holiday look to take you from poolside to restaurant table.
Pro tip: Get the linen shorts that match the linen suit and you’ll have multiple combinations from one set. Perfect for travelling light but still having different outfit options.
Keep it simple here: a plain Cuban collar linen shirt or a fresh white t-shirt worn with box-fresh canvas sneakers like Vans or Converse, or with leather sandals like Birkenstocks. Job’s a good’un.
So there you go. One suit, suits all.