Consistent day time temps at a minimum of 75 degrees. Heat index data included in the daily weather forecasts. Humidity levels rapidly rising above 80%. Standing at the bus stop sweating worse than your mother who is in the midst of the change of life. This is not a sign of the dreaded global warming phenomenon, but an indication that summer is just around the corner. These indicators also signify that it is time to pull out the summer gear from its storage location. The summer months can be a bit daunting for the average man and his wardrobe, but don’t fret, we are here to give you a jump start to a summer of masculine fashion beyond the trusted white tee, tennis shoes, and basketball shorts. You don’t have to sacrifice your “look” to stay cool during the months of 85+ degree weather.
One of the biggest challenges that men face when it comes to summer fashion is selecting the right fabrics, especially when it comes to still dressing appropriately for the not so relaxed office environment. Linen and cotton top the list of the best summer fabrics. They both are known to be lightweight and possess really good moisture absorption, which is perfect for the sweaty summer season. Cotton is a standard, trusted fabric that we can find in a t-shirt, dress shirt, casual shirt, etc. Bottom line, cotton is everywhere. However, step out of the box and consider various types of cotton.
Not one of my personal favorites, but the seersucker suit has come back in style. This is great for the office or church during the summer months. We now have the option of sporting seersucker shorts. One nice thing I can say about this cotton blend is that you can dress it up or dress it down. Poplin is another cotton blend that depending on how it is woven can serve as a good lightweight summer fabric. This fiber is mostly found in dress shirts and can be paired with a summer suit, jeans, or a nice pair of casual shorts.
Linen, though impossible to keep from wrinkling in a matter of minutes, is very breathable and lightweight. It is a textile that is made from the fibers of the flax plant and is known for its coolness in hot weather. Linen is also a very versatile fabric. You can rock a linen suit, shirt (long and short sleeved), pants, or shorts. You have options! For the gentleman who is committed to the “going green” initiative, give tencel a try. It is similar to linen, but is a natural, manmade fiber that uses wood pulp in its formulation. It is very breathable and boasts having 50% greater moisture absorption than cotton. It is also very eco-friendly as it is believed to be 100% biodegradable. It is much more wrinkle resistant than its cousin linen, but will shrink after the first wash. However, it will be consistent in size after that.
The next hurdle for many men is stepping outside of their color box. Summer should be much more than a trusted white tee or tank. White is a very good color for summer, but it is also very plain. What are good colors for summer then? Glad you asked. Anything bright!!! The brighter the color the better it is at not retaining too much heat. Darker colors harbor a lot of heat and the sun will assist you in this area on its own. Dare to be bold and bright from your ties and button downs to your tee shirts. For all of the foamposite tennis shoe fans, try purchasing a tee shirt to match each pair you own. That will help to expand the colors in your closet. If you are apprehensive about being too bright consider a hue in the soft pastel family. The biggest challenge is to just be colorful. Not only does it look good and give you variety, but it will help to keep you cooler in the midst of scorching heat.
Sometimes your fashion choices extend to utility and not just looking good. As it was in spring, blue is still holding strong as a great color trend for summer. Shy away from the standard navy blue and go for something a little more soft. Remember, bright and vibrant colors don’t take away from your masculinity.
Some additional advice that I can offer is to transition from heavy denim and go with lighter woven denim. Some of us still have to wear a suit during this season, but there is relief in knowing that many retailers already have their summer suits out on the sales floor. Summer suits and blazers are thinner and much lighter in weight. This allows you to keep your business attire consistent while not relinquishing your comfort.
I can’t close this article without addressing a few definite DO NOTS as we enter the summer season.
- Just because it will wrinkle in 5 minutes, DO NOT skip ironing your linen.
- DO NOT wear flip flops without ensuring you have lotion on your feet.
- If you know that your feet are not attractive, DO NOT wear socks with sandals. Be proud of your ugly feet or skip the sandals altogether.
- DO NOT be too manly for a pedicure. You make it a point to shave your face. If you are going to show your feet why not groom them as well.
- If you know you like to sport a tank in public DO NOT neglect to shave, or at least trim down, the hair under your armpits. It is not that attractive, helps odor develop faster, and the little white deodorant balls are just disgusting.
If you choose to wear tennis shoes with no socks that is fine.
- However, DO NOT forget to wash your feet and apply some baby powder or talcum powder. This helps to soak up the sweat. Nobody wants to smell your feet as soon as you kick your shoes off after a long day in the heat.
Summer can be a challenging season for men because we want to remain comfortable and we often sacrifice good style and taste to do so. This doesn’t have to be the case. We may have to put a little more thought and effort into our clothing selections, but with these tips we can all remain handsome in the heat.