Can You Wear Suede in the Summer?

Three times this past month I’ve been asked if it’s okay to wear suede in the summer. Three times!  And you know what? That’s not uncommon. I file it under questions I get asked every April & May. Along with “Do, I have to wait for Memorial Day to wear my white jeans?”

Is it because suede has traditionally been known as a cold-weather material? Along with textiles like cashmere and shearling? Or is it because of certain fashion faux pas rules that have been ingrained into many of us through the years? You know, those combinations that, when worn, will send the fashion police after you with their sirens blaring.

Supposed Fashion Faux Pas

You CAN’T wear:

  • White after Labor Day
  • Blue and black together
  • Sequins during the day
  • Suede in the summer

I call bologna on all these cannots. And am here to assure you that the fashion police no longer give tickets for any of these offenses. In fact, I’d say, every single one of these supposed faux pas now falls in the category of a fashion DO. Funny how that works, isn’t it?

Is It Seasonally Inappropriate?

But back to the subject at hand: suede in the summer. You can definitely feel comfortable wearing suede in the warmer months. However, there are some subtleties to pay attention to that can help it feel more on point. For instance, wearing suede pants or a long sleeve suede dress would feel too warm in the heat of summer. It wouldn’t be comfortable. The combination of the fabric AND the style of the garment is what makes it seasonally inappropriate. Not the fabric alone. The goal in the summer months is to be light and breezy to ward off the heat.

So think of it as an opposites attract scenario. If you’re wearing long sleeves and pants, try them in lightweight fabrics. And if you’re wearing heavier fabrics, such as suede, opt for silhouettes that cover less skin.

When you wear suede, especially as a shoe, bag, or jacket, it can be chic and seasonal in the summer. The trick is to focus on lighter colors, such as nude, pastel, and sherbert colors. Another trick is to focus on more skin-baring pieces, like sandals, sleeveless, and shorts. In that combination, the fabric becomes perfect, if not, even preferred as a summer staple.

Suede is the Lightest of the Leathers

Suede is a more delicate fabric compared to its other leather counterparts, calf leather, and patent. The delicate nature might even be better in the warmer months, as it is unlikely to get ruined the way it can in the winter by snow and salt. Suede is also a soft fabric, making it the most comfortable (although not the most durable) for shoes.

I happen to be a huge fan of suede shoes all year long. If I have an option of taking a shoe in leather or suede I always opt for the suede. Why? Well for three main reasons:

  1. Suede shoes are generally more comfortable right out of the box and need less breaking in time.
  2. The texture of suede pairs well with tights in the transitional and winter months.
  3. Suede’s texture also adds a subtle richness and dimension to an outfit that flat leather does not.

Although there are many positives to wearing suede, I do feel obligated to share the downside as well. Because of the softness, it is not as hearty a material as leather. So while you can wear it right out of the box, there is a good chance your suede pieces may not be quite as durable or long-lasting as their leather counterparts.

Yes! You Can Wear Suede in the Summer

So, the answer to the questions is a resounding YES. But if you’re like me and sometimes prefer the cliff notes version, here’s a quick recap of HOW to wear it in the summer and feel confident.

Tips for wearing suede in the summer:

  • Focus on lighter color suede – nudes and pastels
  • Do not wear suede and shearling together (that makes it wintery)
  • Wear suede that shows more skin (sandals, shorts, sleeveless)
  • Pair suede with lighter weight fabrics ( linen, silk, summer cashmere)

Suede Shoes


Suede Bags


Suede Clothes

I hope this answers your question about whether you can wear suede in the summer or not! If you’re also wondering if you can start wearing your white jeans before Memorial Day, I answered that question in this blog post. And if you have more fashion questions, I’m always happy to answer them over in my Facebook group! Join the party, the group is called “ALL DRESSED UP WITH SOMEWHERE TO GO”. Stop by and introduce yourself.

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Photo: Molly Nook


Cleveland-based personal stylist and fashion blogger.

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