A lot of men (and women) find summer a hard season to dress for. How do you remain cool in temperature whilst also remaining cool in style?
We’re here to be your sartorial guiding light through summer dressing. From fabrics to colours, to clothing pieces, this is everything you need to know about how to dress in the warmer months.
The three fabrics you should be wearing this summer
There are certain materials that are your friends in summer, and some that aren’t. As a general rule, stick to these three fabrics: linen, cotton and wool. You’ll feel more comfortable in the heat whilst still looking incredibly stylish.
Unsurprisingly, linen is the go-to fabric for balmy climates. It is incredibly lightweight and breathable, and when worn right it can look very stylish and European.
The only disadvantage of linen is that it wrinkles very easily. Even if you iron it, it will wrinkle pretty much as soon as you put it on. Because of this excessive wrinkling, linen most often comes in solid colours (white, cream, black, blue, etc.), not patterned. Arguably, though, the wrinkling nature of linen is what gives it its stylish, laid-back and relaxing-on-the-beach vibe.
Cotton is a material that you will probably come into contact with the most when shopping for your summer wardrobe. Summer clothing that is made out of 100% cotton is breathable and lightweight. Just make sure that you purchase madras, chambray or seersucker cotton fabric varieties for ultimate coolness.
Wool isn’t only reserved for woolly jumpers and being cuddled up in front of the fire. In actual fact, wool is good for all seasons, including summer.
The colder the weather, the thicker the wool you should buy; the warmer the weather, the lighter and brighter the wool should be. Tropical-weight wool is ideal for summer because it is moisture-wicking, meaning that when you sweat the fabric draws the moisture off your skin and into the fabric, which is then dissipated into the air. Wool’s odour-resistant property means that you are less likely to smell when you wear it and that it doesn’t need to be washed after every wear. Result!
Another advantage of tropical-weight wool is that it does not wrinkle, making it the ultimate low-maintenance fabric for hot weather.
The colours you should be wearing this summer
When we think of summer dressing, we think light and bright colours, which is the complete opposite of how we tend to dress in autumn and winter (i.e. lots of dark colours). This is because summertime means sunshine, blue skies and flowers in bloom, which is reflected in our brighter and more eclectic outfit choices. Not forgetting to mention that dark colours absorb the heat more easily than light colours do, so it’s also more practical to wear light colours.
The colours you choose to wear are down to personal preference, but a lot of men’s fashion brands focus on pastels and pale blues, pinks, greens, yellows, etc. in the summertime. If the colour isn’t really your thing, you can’t go wrong with white. However, try to avoid light grey, as it shows up moisture more easily, and you don’t want everyone to see your sweat patches…
The best clothing items for summer
Now we’ve got fabrics and colours sorted, it’s time to discuss the actual items of clothing that will take you comfortably and stylishly through the summer months. Remember, just because it’s hot outside doesn’t mean that you can’t be stylish and well put together.
Shirts and t-shirts
Different occasions require different shirts. Occasions like business meetings or dinners may require formalwear like shirts, in which case you should buy a white shirt made from 100% cotton, or buy a well-cut linen shirt. This is also a good idea if you must wear a shirt to work. Printed shirts are also a fun idea, not for a formal occasion but perhaps for drinks at a beach-side bar on a Saturday lunchtime.
For the times when formalwear isn’t required or necessary, you can sail through summer in t-shirts. The most stylish t-shirt options for men are a simple plain white t-shirt or a plain black t-shirt (crew neck or v-neck). Steer clear from graphic tees if you want to look your most stylish, but if you want a pop of colour or are desperate to deviate from the classic white or black look, a simple striped t-shirt is a great alternative.
And let’s not forget about men’s polo shirts – every guy should have a few of these in their sartorial repertoire. Not only are they easy to wear and so are perfect for the summer, but they also have a collar which ups the ante and adds a little more style to the overall ensemble.
Pants and shorts
Shorts are a man’s best friend in summer. They are breezy, cool and easy to wear, and when worn correctly they can look super stylish. The only rule to remember with shorts is that they are not, under any circumstances, to be worn to a formal occasion or into the office.
Shorts come in all colours, but to play it safe (and to ensure you can actually match them to other items in your wardrobe) stick to dark colours like black and navy, or muted colours like neutrals and pastels.
To make shorts looks as stylish as possible, you should buy ones that are clean cut with straight lines that sit just above the knee. Avoid shorts with too many zips, pockets, buttons and patterns if you want to stay looking chic.
Shorts aside, you should most definitely get yourself a few pairs of smart chinos for more formal occasions. They are the perfect midway between relaxed denim jeans and suit trousers, all the while being more lightweight.
Lastly, what footwear is best for summer? Your mind may wander to thongs, but these should only be worn on the beach or around the house. They certainly should not be worn with formal, smart trousers. If you really want to up your style at the beach, you could substitute thongs for canvas espadrilles – still convenient, just a little easier on the eye.
Boat shoes and loafers are a safe bet for a smart and stylish summer evening outfit, paired with neutral-coloured chinos, for example. Canvas, lightweight sneakers are a good option to wear with shorts and a simple t-shirt.
The key to men’s dressing is: simple = chic. Also, if you want to choose loud colours, you must compromise by wearing a plain colour as well to balance it out. For example, you may choose to wear green shorts, but you should also wear a plain white t-shirt if you want to look stylish.
Remember these key rules and you’ll strut through the summer months looking effortlessly stylish (and hopefully not too hot).