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Style May 6th, 2024

The Solaro Suit: Summer’s Most Interesting & Unique Fabric

Style May 6th, 2024

Of all the different types of suits that are appropriate for summer, a Solaro suit is one of the most unique.

To put it another way, if you are a devoted student of men’s style, then a Solaro suit is like graduate-level menswear. You’ve kind of got to be a bit of a menswear nerd to love, understand, and honestly “get” it, but it’s such a singular piece that if you do consider yourself a part of the men’s style tribe — or are simply looking to deepen your knowledge of classic menswear — a Solaro suit is a suit that you really need to get to know.

Here’s a quick overview of what we’ll be covering in this post:

  • The history of Solaro suits.
  • What is a Solaro fabric?
  • How to wear a Solaro suit.
  • A detailed look at the He Spoke Style Solaro suit.

Let’s get right to it!


What Is The History Of Solaro Suits?

The history of Solaro, as a fabric, is quite fascinating and is actually a story of innovation. The fabric was conceived during the early 20th century, an era marked by significant technical advancements across a variety of fields.

Among these, Solaro distinguished itself and can rightly be classified as one of the original technical fabrics. Unlike other materials that were created for general use, Solaro was designed with a specific use-case in mind — to safeguard British soldiers stationed in tropical climates from the harmful effects of UV radiation.

This was of particular importance for the British military, who found their traditional uniforms ill-suited — sorry, not sorry, for the pun — for warm and oppressive tropical climates. So the development of Solaro was not only a technical innovation but also a practical solution to a very real problem.

Interestingly, although Solaro was developed with a very specific purpose and intent, the actual scientific validity of its UV-protective qualities has been questioned in recent years. While the intention behind its creation was certainly noble and necessary, the actual scientific basis may not hold up under modern scrutiny.

What Is A Solaro Fabric?

While it might not actually do what it was intended to do, that doesn’t change the fact that Solaro is still a very cool and interesting fabric known for its unique texture and color effect. This is achieved by a specific weaving technique that combines two different colored yarns.

The fabric generally appears brownish or earth-toned from a distance, but upon closer inspection, the underlying brick red yarn becomes visible. As always, my favorite kinds of detail. This gives the fabric a subtle yet captivating iridescence depending on how it the sun hits it. While the brown/orange version of the fabric is perhaps the most popular, it can also be found in greens and blues.

The name “Solaro” is patented by Smith Woolens, now known as Harrison’s. As such, other manufacturers who produce similar fabrics cannot use the name “Solaro”, despite the similarity in appearance and texture. This has led to a variety of Solaro-like fabrics in the market, often distinguished by different names but basically offering the same distinctive characteristics as the original Solaro fabric. More on that when I discuss our “Solaro” suit later on in the post.

How Do You Wear A Solaro Suit?


Any way you look at it, a Solaro suit is a standout piece. It’s singular. It’s unique. It makes a statement. And it’s a conversation starter. And with any kind of statement piece, the best and easiest way to approach styling it — and I say this all the time — is to let it be the star, which means to keep the rest of the outfit simple.

Despite its iridescent quality, when you are considering how to style a Solaro suit, it’s best to think of it as just a simple brown suit. Honestly, contemplating what to pair with a fabric that is sometimes orange, sometimes, green-ish, and sometimes a combination of both can play weird tricks on your mind (and be quite frustrating). However, approaching it as you would a brown suit suddenly makes it that much more approachable.

In this particular post, you can see that I’ve really leaned into the earthiness of the suit. A white shirt provides a solid foundation and an Army green silk knit tie complements the fabric and appears as something of an anchor. My use of earth tones continues with the belt and double monks — a little bit of a nod to the suit’s perceived “Italian”-ness — and a yellow pocket square. Finally, a pair of tortoise sunglasses with a translucent lens pairs well with the fabric’s playfulness.

To further illustrate how to approach a Solaro suit as a brown suit, check out the video below.

The He Spoke Style “Solaro” Suit

If you’ve noticed the scare quotes in this section’s heading, that’s because our version of the suit is not cut from the patent-holding Smith Woolens Harrison Solaro fabric. The fabric we’ve chosen is from Standeven, which looks exactly the same, and costs a whole lot less — about half the price of “true” Solaro.

So, straight up, if you want the “brand name,” I’d recommend looking elsewhere, but if you’re looking to get into a “Solaro” suit at a very reasonable price point, this one’s for you.

I’ve decided to style the garment very simply with two buttons, a notch lapel, and flap pockets. However, if you’d like to emulate one of the most famous Solaro suit wearers, L’Avvocato himself Gianni Agnelli, be sure to update your pocket styling to jetted pockets. The jacket is also half-lined with a double vent.


For the trousers, I’ve gone with a single reverse pleat and a two-inch cuff, as is my habit. Instead of my usual side adjusters, I’ve opted for belt loops instead. Typically, I’ll do this when I intend to wear the trousers more casually as a separate but that wasn’t the case here. Because of the — let’s just say it — weirdness of the fabric, I like breaking it up with the look and texture of a leather belt. It adds an additional layer when styling it that I really like.

But, as always, in the He Spoke Style Shop you are able to customize any detail you want to suit your personal style preferences.

The Bottom Line

A Solaro suit is one of the most interesting and unique additions to a classic menswear summer wardrobe. It’s got all of the good stuff — a great origin story, a very cool look, and a sort of menswear “street cred” all working together. While it may not provide the UV protection it was originally designed for, it’s unique color effect and texture make it a truly standout piece.

Thanks, as always, for reading.

Stylishly Yours,

Brian Sacawa

Brian Sacawa is the Founder of He Spoke Style and one of the original men’s style influencers. Since 2013, his goal has remained the same: to provide men the advice and inspiration they need to dress well, develop their personal style, and gain more confidence. Brian’s interest and passion for men’s style and luxury watches has led to his writing for The Robb Report, The Rake, and Sotheby’s and he has been quoted on menswear in publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal,, Brides Magazine, and the Huffington Post. He lives in the woods north of Baltimore with his wife, Robin, kitties Nick and Nora, and German Shepherd/Collie mix Charlie.

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Photography & Videography by Rob McIver

Video Editing by Ian Johnston


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