No, a khaki cotton suit isn’t essential.
I’ve kind of become jaded when it comes to the term “essential.” There are a few core items that are pretty much essential to a complete wardrobe for any modern man of moderate means looking to dress like a grown-up. But I’ve also seen “essential” attached to items that aren’t. That can be confusing for guys just starting out and lead to unnecessary purchases.
I wonder if we use the term to downplay guilt and justify adding new items to our ever-expanding wardrobes.
It ultimately comes down to locale and lifestyle. Are you attending a lot of events that require dressing up in a relatively warm climate? Sure, a cotton suit comes close to being “essential.” If not, you’ll do fine without one.
Are you asking specifically about khaki cotton suits under $500, or any suit under $500?