Ah, summer: a few solid months of backyard barbeques, beach time, and lazy days.
The less fun part is that the season too often involves sweating through your shirt, spending weddings and work days in a stifling wool suit, and wishing you didn’t have to wear socks. Luckily, you can make a few wardrobe tweaks that will help you beat the heat on the days you can't spend lounging on a pool float.
Flash Some Ankle
Just like summer Fridays and acceptable drinking hours, style rules tend to get a lot more relaxed in the summer months. Even if you’re not ready to go all-out by wearing sandals (a divisive subject, we know), you can still let loose a little with your footwear.
Unless you’re at a black tie affair, forget the tall socks and use these invisible tricks to keep your feet feeling fresh. No-show socks, which keep your insoles dry and your ankles cool, are the best option. It also lends a cool, summery look, so go ahead and give your pants an extra roll at the cuff.
Ditch the Dark Denim
Like every guy in America, we love jeans – that’s no secret. A good pair of sturdy, slim-fitting ones can be a man’s best friend.
During the summer, though, you've got to give your trusty denim a break every once in a while, especially if it's an especially heavy pair. Given that it's (usually) a darkly-colored fabric with a tight weave, any denim that's 12 oz higher will feel stifling in hot summer weather. Not only does that feel awful, but if you're wearing raw denim, you run a greater risk of having an ink stain situation – sweating in all that indigo dye can leave you with blue skin. Not cool.
Instead, choose a light, breathable pair of khakis (or even a super breezy linen if you’re feeling bold) to replace your go-to dark wash denim in the summer. If you can’t bare the idea of breaking up with your jeans entirely, dial things back a bit and look for a lighter weight, lighter wash pair that clock in at 10 oz or less.
Throw Some Shade
Summer opens up an entirely new world of accessories. When you're dressing up, you can (and should) get away with brighter and bolder pocket squares and ties to match the rising heat.
For casual getups, you can’t really go wrong with a baseball cap. Also consider updating your watch – or at least the band. If you currently have a leather strap, swap it out for a cotton NATO strap to add personality and avoid having a sweaty wrist all summer.
And of course, it’s hard to trump a perennially cool pair of shades. You can never go wrong with a classic pair of aviators or a wayfarer-inspired square shape – either style is guaranteed to make any guy look cool (see Tom Cruise circa Top Gun and Risky Business for further proof). If you want something a little bolder, try a more circular profile. We've got all three as options for our Shine box.
Keep It Short
As long as you’re ditching denim, consider ditching pants altogether – at least half of them. We know that there are style purists who may disagree, but we say that showing a little leg is totally acceptable in the hot summer months.
The key to keeping it professional and pulled together is good tailoring. Loose fits and – god forbid – cargos will take you into beach bum territory real fast, so make sure to look for a slim pair that hits above the knee. That'll make those dreadful 90-degree subway rides a bit more bearable while still letting you look sharp.
Of course, there are those who think that shorts are never office-appropriate. If you work at a bank, a law firm, or any kind of more traditional and dressed-up company, then that's absolutely right – you don't want to be the guy in shorts while everyone else is wearing ties. But for the kind of casual offices where hoodies and beat-up sneakers are more common than blazers and tie clips, you’re probably fine.
When it comes to looking cool in the heat, always keep things light—both in weight and color.
Just like the denim and khakis tip above, look for blazers, button-downs, and tees that are a lighter weight than your usual colder weather crop. The breezier, the better. This also works for your shoes: set the heavy leather ones aside and wear a versatile pair of canvas kicks, instead.
Secondly, it’s okay to stray from the dark, drab colors of winter. Switch out your blacks and navys for lighter shades and earth tones, or take advantage of the one time of year you can get away with pastels – just be careful not to mix too many at once unless you’re applying for a job at Vineyard Vines.