The Lounge Suit Dress Code
Rarely has a dress code caused as much confusion as the lounge suit. Event invitations regularly request gentlemen wear one, but with consensus confused on what it actually means, many invitees find themselves taking a stab in the dark when selecting their outfit. But don’t let a lounge suit dress code mystify you again, as Hackett’s guide will set the record straight and help you effortlessly style this timeless look.
What is a lounge suit?
Despite the misconceptions, a lounge suit is just a fancy name for an ordinary business suit. You probably have a couple of stylish two or three-piece examples hanging in your wardrobe at home right now. And the options are endless. Barring dress suits or tails, any other type of suit is likely considered a lounge suit.
The beauty of the lounge suit is in its versatility. Unlike business suits they can be worn almost anywhere, whether for a business meeting, wedding, or casual lunch, while lounge suit blazers can even be paired with a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. All in all, they help the modern gentleman exude a sophistication that’s difficult to achieve wearing anything else.
As smart casual dress codes continue to reign in the workplace and modern menswear becomes increasingly comfort-driven, wearing suits primarily for pleasure is the new norm. No longer should they be considered as strictly officewear, lounge suits are expressions of style and personality.
In fact, lounge suits have now gone full circle. Originating in Victorian times as a casual alternative to workwear, they were typically worn for leisure and weren’t a staple of the corporate world until the early 20th century.
How to wear a lounge suit
For formal occasions, opt for a three-piece lounge suit with a plain shirt and a patterned tie. You’ll want to go for darker colours like navy or charcoal grey, avoiding black unless it’s a funeral. To really ramp up the refinement, add a waistcoat and accessories like a pocket square and lapel pin, not forgetting small details like cufflinks and a belt. In terms of footwear, you can’t go wrong with classic Oxfords or loafers.
For a more relaxed look, lose the tie and go for a button-down shirt, choosing fabrics that are lighter in colour and texture. Alternatively, you could ditch the shirt altogether and opt for a plain t-shirt, complete with trainers instead of smart shoes. Whatever look you choose, there is one rule that should always be followed: make sure that your trousers and suit jacket match.
Lounge suit fabrics
Wool: Renowned for its versatility and distinctive look, wool is the archetypal lounge suit fabric. As a natural material, it breathes easily and can be worn during all seasons and at all times of day, such is its ability to ventilate in the heat and keep you warm when it’s chilly. Wool also scores points for being wrinkle and water-resistant, while it can be easily tailored too.
Cotton: Generally more affordable than wool, cotton is more formal and ideal as workwear or for more dressy events. Advantages of cotton lounge suits include breathability, softness, and suitability to all body types, although the material does have a tendency to crease more easily.
Linen: Linen lounge suits are remarkably lightweight and stay cool when temperatures soar, making it a popular summertime fabric. Linen is very breathable and a great informal alternative to cotton or wool. The one disadvantage to the material is that it creases and stains easily, making regular dry cleaning essential.
Hopsack: While not technically a fabric of its own, Hopsack weaves together wool, cotton and synthetic fabrics. Benefits include breathability and versatility, with hopsack suits suitable for both formal and casual occasions. It is also an extremely crease-resistant material, making it the ideal lounge suit to pack when travelling.
Lounge suit fit
Belgravia: Belgravia is our classic fit suit characterised by the comfort it offers. Its universally flattering shape has a liberal fit around the chest and waist giving the wearer plenty of breathing room. Much less constrictive than other types of suit, both the jacket and trousers offer a quintessential tailored shape making it a staple for any occasion. Key features include twin vents, flat pockets, four-button cuffs and a signature Belgravia trim.
Chelsea: Much like our classic Belgravia fit, our classically tailored Chelsea fit is versatile and works for a range of occasions. This fit caters for those with larger frames with a shape that has been opened up across the chest, waist and hem to offer extra comfort.
Windsor: Designed with a subtle nod to classic British tailoring of the 80s, our Windsor fit is perfect for the gentleman looking for a suit of exceptional quality and superior detailing. Key features include a slightly structured shoulder, a sleeve head roll and a chiselled lower front edge. The Windsor fit also features a curved lapel and a notch cut with a 90-degree angle.