So summer has finally arrived.
The sun is out, temperature is up, and you’re left wondering how to dress during this season and keep looking sharp.
In fall, winter and spring, you can have a lot of fun with layers, but in summer, wearing more than one layer can have you sweating like a roasted pig. And the last thing you want is to be walking around with Niagara Falls gushing from your forehead.
You want to dress well, but you also want to stay comfortable. (And you’re absolutely right, because obvious discomfort is the most unstylish thing a man can wear.)
So what can you wear this summer that keeps you looking sharp without causing you to overheat?
Well, dressing well in summer isn’t as hard as you might think.
You don’t need multiple layers to look your best. You can look great wearing just a single layer. And if you invest in summer-appropriate clothes, you can even still wear layers without ending up a sweaty mess.
Well, let’s find out.
If you often overheat and break out in sweat during the summer months, you probably point your finger at the scorching sun and temperature.
Well, you’re not entirely wrong, but it might also have another cause.
The other (and possibly even bigger) cause is poor air circulation. You might be wearing clothes that don’t allow your skin to “breathe”.
This is why most men prefer to wear shorts in summer; they allow the skin to breathe more which makes them more comfortable to wear than pants. But, if you wear pants that are made of summer-appropriate material, you might find you actually prefer them — but more on that later.
When buying summer clothing, you want to invest in garments made of lightweight, breathable fabrics.
So let’s go over a few of these fabrics.
Almost all summer clothing will be made out of cotton.
Make sure that whatever you buy is 100% cotton. If you see any kind of rayon or polyester blend, just say no. These materials are the opposite of breathable.
Cotton comes in a number of varieties though, and you want to make sure you get one that’s summer appropriate.
Before you buy any item, do the following to test its weight and breathability.
- The breath-test — Put the fabric over your mouth and try breathing. Can you literally breathe through the fabric? If you have to suck hard to get air, don’t buy it.
- The light-test — hold the garment at least a foot away from a light source. Can you see through it? If not, don’t buy it.
Three varieties of cotton that are especially great for summer are:
- Seersucker: Seersucker is a thin, puckered fabric. The thin puckered texture allows the fabric to rest away from the skin, which allows for comfortable airflow. Seersucker clothes can be quite expensive compared to regular cotton though..
- Chambray: This is often confused with denim, as the two look very similar. This weave is easily identified by having a white thread going one direction, and a colored thread in the other direction. These make fantastic summer shirts.
- Madras: Madras is most notably recognized by its distinct plaid patterns. What makes this weave unique is that it uses short cotton fibers instead of long fibers. This creates a specific texture and can only be hand made.
(Note: Seeing madras in a store might not actually be real Madras — just the iconic plaid patterns on regular cotton. Might still be good for summer, but test before you buy!)
Linen has been the warm weather cloth of choice for centuries for good reason. It’s super lightweight, breathable, and absorbs moisture exceptionally well. Linen has a very distinct look to it.
The downside is that linen wrinkles a lot. But that is all part of its charm. This is the only time you can get away with wrinkled clothes. .
Because of the way linen is made, it doesn’t really take patterns well. You will often see linen made in solid colors only — white being the most common.
3.Tropical Weight Wool
You might be surprised to see wool on this list as it’s typically associated with the colder months.
But wool actually has a very wide comfort range and adapts to almost any weather condition. Wool is typically woven in weights to match the climate — you can get heavy wool for cold winters as well as a lightweight and breathable weight for the warmer weather.
For summer, you obviously want to go for the latter. Tropical weight wool’s unique properties make it especially great for summer.
- Moisture-wicking: When you sweat, wool actually pulls the water away from your skin, into the fabric, and then dissipates into the atmosphere.
- Odor Resistant: Wool is naturally odor resistant. Not only does it help keep you dry, but it keeps you from getting smelly.
- Wrinkle Resistant: Good quality wool does a great job of resisting wrinkling. It will actually bounce back into shape if you let it hang up in your closet — which means minimal ironing.
- Easy to clean: Because of wool’s natural odor resistance and moisture-wicking properties, if you just leave it hanging in your closet and wear the garment once every 7-10 days, it will be good as new. The only time you really need to get wool dry cleaned is if you spill something on it and need to get a stain out.
The most obvious way to tell the difference between the two different weights of wool is the label. Luckily, they often advertise tropical weight wool as being appropriate for warm weather (it might actually be called “tropical weight”).
That’s not always the case though, so another ways to separate the two is to look at the weaving of the fabric.
Winter weight wool will likely be woven in a serge weave, which has a diagonal pattern woven into it. Tropic weight wool is woven in a plain weave, which has a more straight pattern, with horizontal and vertical lines.