There are numerous reasons to wear white. The first is practical, as white reflects the sun's rays and so is cooler to wear than darker colours. The second is vanity, as white will show off a man's tan more successfully than any other colour. The third is that there's something glamorous about white, which is connected to the difficulty one faces keeping the damn stuff clean. The fourth reason is that because it's rarely seen in professional situations it speaks of leisure, and nothing is as sophisticated as dressing elegantly while off duty. And the final one is that it's a trend this autumn, in the form of cords from Gucci and an Aran sweater by Burberry.
So how do you actually pull off a white suit? By applying the same criteria to it that you would apply to any other suit. The fabric must be first class (mat cloths such as linen and flannel are best, and make sure the cloth is not translucent), the exact colour is important (cream looks classier than white) and the cut remains vital - often summer suits and trousers are shapeless and unflattering, as many were at the Monegasque wedding.
Having picked the right suit it's necessary to find the appropriate things to wear with it. As far as the shirt is concerned pure white is the go-to colour, and hard to improve upon, but some pale blue or pale pink stripes could also work. If you want or need a tie, something subdued and textured is appropriate; shiny satin is to be avoided, while raw silk, or knitted silk, looks great. By keeping the palette fairly muted no one item will leap out, and the overall effect will be harmonious.
Footwear is one of the hardest elements to get right. The three most successful options are: light-coloured shoes - either ivory bucks or simple white Converse-style sneakers (like the ones Sir Mick Jagger memorably wore to marry Ms Bianca Jagger); navy blue suede lace-ups, ideally with a brick-red rubber sole; or mid-brown suede shoes. Leather-soled loafers work as well as Oxfords, but Derbies and brogues look too heavy, given the summery mood. Good quality blue espadrilles would be a sophisticated choice with a casual suit. In an echo of the way a shiny tie strikes a false note, shiny leather rarely looks right, and, surprisingly, tan leather never looks right.
Accessories are, as ever, important. For summer we suggest you pick either a pair of classic tortoiseshell sunglasses or a Panama hat, ditch the socks, try some sort of jaunty bracelet and finish the look with a silk pocket square. While for autumn, complement white trousers with a camel-coloured sweater, or even a navy blazer. But, most importantly, adopt a languorous poise, walk slowly to keep cool, and steer clear of spaghetti and red wine.