This post on wearing black suits in the summertime is inspired by two women I saw walking down the street in New York City last week.  It was a bright, hot day and I was heading to a personal appointment dressed casually in a relaxed pair of pants and sleeveless top.  When I saw these two women in their dark suits, with the sun beating down on them, they just looked miserable in their dark colors.  It made me happy that such a dress code doesn’t exist for me.

For many, wearing suits in the summertime is just a reality, and black is a year round color that can be worn when it is hot and cold.  Yet, as I trailed behind them looking at their outfits, I wondered if there was a way to make these black suits look more summery instead of so hot, heavy and suffocating.  I put some ideas together.

How to Make Black Suits Look More Summery

Below are black suits styled two different ways, one for cool weather and one for hot summer days.  While these solutions may not help with the temperature of wearing these suits, they will make them look brighter and more summery.  Take a look.

Summer black suit outfit #1

black suits

In both looks above I am using this black suit from Hugo Boss (link to jacket, like to skirt).  On the left, I styled it for cooler weather using black accessories using these pumps from Louise et Cie and a black bag from MICHAEL Michael Kors.  Under the suit I added this white short sleeve top from Theory and a layered necklace from Ann Taylor.

On the right I tweaked things in a way to make this black suit more summery.  First, I swapped out the black version of these Louise et Cie pumps with the same pair in beige which immediately lightens the look.  Next, I changed the bag for this brighter green style from Ted Baker.  Lastly, underneath, instead of a top with such a high neck, I used this deeper cut sleeveless blouse from Vince Camuto.  Deeper cut tops can be appropriate for work if they aren’t too low.  For a finish I opted for a more delicate necklace from LOFT over a such a heavy style.

With these small changes the outfit on the right is brighter and more summery than the one on the right.

Summer black suit outfit #2

black suits

This next black suit is from J. Crew (link to pants, link to jacket).  On the left I styled it for cooler weather using the same MICHAEL Michael Kors bag as the last look and added a more autumnal colored top from Theory.  To finish the look, I accessorized with this teal colored necklace from Bauble Bar and snakeskin heels from Cole Haan.

On the right the outfit was simply tweaked for summer using this more brightly colored top from Banana Republic.  Can you see how even the necklace has a more summery appearance when paired with a top in a color more suited for warm weather?  To finish the outfit, I added this bag from Coach that definitely lightens the look of the suit.

Summer black suit outfit #3

black suits

Think about splitting your black suits apart in the summer.  For example, you can try a black suit jacket with a pair of ivory or white tailored pants or taking a skirt or dress from a suit and pairing it with a more summery jacket like I did in the outfit above.

On the left, the dress suit from Reiss (link to dress, link to jacket) looks heavier with these black strappy shoes and black bag.  On the right I simply swapped out the black jacket for a softer shade from Reiss to make the dress look more warm weather appropriate.  To finish the outfit, I used the same shoes from Via Spiga in a lighter color and lighter colored bag from Coach.  What looked like a heavy necklace in the first outfit above looks more summery just by lightening up the look of the rest of the outfit.

Black suits are very versatile and wearable all year round.  However, be sure to have a variety of ways to style them to ensure that they transition well with each season.