Look Cool, Stay Cool - How To Dress For Summer

“Lookin for some Holy Communion?”

“Lookin for some Holy Communion?”

Summer's finally here. The sun is out (most of the time), the temperatures are rising and some are wondering how to dress this summer and stay on trend and looking sharp. But fear not, much like a good bottle of factor 50; I've got you well covered.

 

Summer style can be tricky. In Spring, Autumn and Winter you have a lot more clothing to play around with and you can have fun by using different layers to create different looks. But during the summer months, wearing multiple layers can have you sweating like a pregnant nun in confession and the last thing you want is to be walking around with sweat patches on your clothing. You want to dress well in Summer but you also want to stay cool and stay comfortable so here are some top tips on what to wear this summer that will keep you looking hot without causing you to overheat.

 

Fabrics

 

Usually, when guys sweat excessively during the summer months, they point the finger of blame at the big yellow thing in the sky and the rising mercury. Well, they not entirely wrong but there might be another culprit in the form of poor air circulation in their clothing. In summer you need to wear clothes that will allow your skin to breathe. So when you're buying your summer wardrobe, you need to invest in items made of lightweight, breathable fabrics. Cotton and linen are your safe bets here. Most of the summer clothing you buy will be made of cotton but make sure it's 100% cotton as opposed to a rayon or polyester blend. These materials are the furthest thing from breathable. We've covered linen here recently but it's worth revisiting, as it's been a popular choice for warm weather wear for centuries and with good reason. It's lightweight, breathable and absorbs moisture exceptionally well. It does tend to wrinkle a lot but that's part of its charm.

 

Colours

 

Lighter and brighter colours tend to be more summer appropriate because they better reflect the mood of summertime. In winter, colours tend to be more muted and darker. But when the skies are (mostly) blue, the sun is shining, the flowers are blooming and people are generally happier, go light and go bright to reflect the change in atmosphere. The real benefit of wearing lighter, brighter colours in summer is that they keep you cooler in higher temperatures. Darker colours have a tendency to absorb heat so the lighter the colour, the less heat it'll absorb. It's not that you can't wear darker colours in summertime but wearing too much black will tell people you don't know how to dress in summer. And you'll sweat a lot. If you take the sun well and tend to tan then bright colours are your friend and will look great on you. Those of a paler complexion are better off avoiding the brighter and opting for the lighter instead.

 

T-Shirts & Shirts

 

I'm a guy that wears t-shirts year round so the only thing that tends to change with the season is the colour. I always avoid wearing graphic tees and stick to solid colours or stripes. If you absolutely must go for a graphic or logo tee then try to keep it subtle as best is possible. And slogans are never ok, no matter how funny you might think you are. In summertime, you can go for a crew neck, a v-neck or a henley. I'm a fan of v-necks so long as you don't go too deep with the ‘v' and end up looking like an extra from Ex On The Beach. Polo shirts are another reliable option for summer time. They're as comfortable as a t-shirt but the button up collar adds some extra style points as well as looking and feeling smarter than a regular t-shirt.

 

Shirts are another step up from plain t-shirts and make a classier statement than their short-sleeved brethren. As discussed, make sure you get the fabric right and allow your skin to breathe. A simple Oxford shirt with chino shorts makes for a perfect summer outfit with an air of sophistication about it. You can try different styles, like a Grandfather collar or a Cuban collar, giving yourself a break from the office ready look when you want to unwind. Having some neutrals on hand is always a good idea, but it's summer so don't be afraid to have some fun with colours and patterns.

 

Shorts

 

Shorts are probably the garment that people most associate with Summer. When the sun comes out so do the legs, but few know how to pull them off right. Shorts have the ability to look either fresh, preppy and stylish, or God-awful. Here's how to stay away from God-awful. First of all, don't go too short. Shorts that finish just above the knee are ideal. Anything higher looks odd and a bit x-rated. Go for a slim design rather than baggy, or worse, skintight. Again, choose the right material maybe most importantly, match them with the right footwear. You can certainly keep you your colour choices simple with shorts, and it's wise to have a few neutral options, but once you can have some fun with colour. Shorts are casual by their very nature so you can get away with brighter colours and prints.

 

Footwear

 

Summertime gives you the opportunity to wear shoes that you can only really wear when the weather is warm and dry. Some examples of great summer shoes that you can't really wear in winter are espadrilles, canvas/suede trainers, boat shoes and loafers. When wearing shorts, you want to keep your footwear casual. Your shoes should never go above the ankle (so no boots) and if you want to fresh a but of ankle flesh then invest in some invisible socks rather than going sockless. Your feet are going to sweat so don't stink up your shoes with sweaty bare feet.

 

Men's summer fashion is a lot easier than people think. Investing a few versatile summer staples will allow you to create a wide range looks without having to break the bank. Play around with colours and patterns and have fun with your summer style.

Patrick McLoughney