Q: My wife is encouraging me to buy a light suit. I don't know if it is appropriate for work or should it only be worn for social occasions?
A: A "light suit" for a man's summer wardrobe can mean any of three types of suits: (1) a light-colored and light-weight cotton seersucker suit, (2) a khaki-colored tropical-weight wool, or (3) a light-weight poplin suit that is just as likely to come in navy or deep gray as in tan. For this all-too-brief time of year, a little more leeway is allowed and somewhat more leisurely dress is not only tolerated but expected. It seems logical to add some variety.
The seersucker suit: The most informal (and often the least expensive) of the three, this all-American striped cotton fabric has the shortest season and is the most limited in terms of wear. Usually light blue, it may be too casual for more rigid business environments. And even though TV's Ben Matlock wears his seersucker suit, as with white linen, it really is not totally appropriate after Labor Day.