As men, we’re faced with several challenges when it comes to summertime. Not sweating on public transport, mastering the perfect BBQ sausage, working off said sausage in high heat without causing an aneurysm. We could go on, but we’re here to talk matters of style.
With our fair share of difficulties to contend with, the last thing any of us need is passé style rules to confuse us further. Which is why we’ve gathered the most prevalent warm-weather wardrobe myths and stuck them on the burner, too.
If you happen to call the UK home (or any other place where sunshine is more myth than reality) it’s totally possible to completely avoid wearing sandals and keep your feet from ever seeing the light of day. But when that heat wave or beach holiday eventually comes around, you’d better be prepared to do it in style.
Considerably smarter than pool sliders, sleek leather sandals owe their enduring success to their versatility, working just as well with tailored shorts as they do lightweight chinos or tailored trousers.
When you do finally expose those pasty pinkies to the outside world, remember that, regardless of how fantastically awesome your new sandals are, if your feet resemble mangled griffin talons, then your shopping efforts have been for naught. Get a pedicure, guys; there’s no shame in it any more.
Wrong. It should be seen. And it’s been seen a lot lately. Just like black and blue, this is one once-maligned colour combination that can pay off big time when done right.
The key to nailing this look is steering clear of bright tennis court greens and vivid electric blues as they’ll clash horribly and make your outfit look like it’s been sponsored by children’s toy store. Instead, stick to rich or muted shades of green (think military, racing, khaki or olive) and mix with navy or petrol blue to create eye-catching yet understated results that can be adapted for everything from job interviews to summer weddings.
The high street is a solid choice when putting together an outfit like this, with retailers offering a myriad of colours and styles to choose from, so you can find the perfect balance.
While it certainly isn’t the most summery of colours, it is possible to pull off black in the heat. Just don’t go all Yeezy and don ‘all black errthang’, because wearing this darkest of hues in summer is not so much a question of whether it looks good, as a question of practicality.
Black naturally absorbs more heat than lighter colours, therefore if you opt for a tonal look on a hot day, chances are you’ll end up sweating like Jeremy Clarkson at an unsatisfactory Top Gear buffet.
For an alternative, sweat-free way to way the wear shade, throw on a few black accessories. A leather bracelet comes highly recommended, as does a baseball cap and a pair of black slip-on sneakers.
Brands and retailers love to talk about seasons. Aside from winter, spring, summer and autumn, there’s high-season, low-season, tourist season, whaling-season. Okay, maybe not that last one. But the only one you really need concern yourself with is all-season.
Building a wardrobe that can flit between hot and cold at least four times a year is the gold standard in menswear. Of course, there are pieces that you only wear for winter, such as a down-filled coat, just like as palm-print swim shorts are the reserve of summer. But when it comes to the rest of your wardrobe, aim for pieces that do double time by being capable of layering up or down.
Prioritise classic pieces such as dark raw denim, quality T-shirts in neutral colourways and fabrics that offer insulation and breathability in equal parts, like those found on an Oxford shirt.
Girls have nice feet. Lovely, in fact. Men? Men do not. For this reason, guys often choose to stop short at sandals by bearing a little ankle flesh instead.
But let’s get one thing straight: for no reason should the sockless look look be confused with actually going sockless. Even if your trotters are only vaguely musty after a gym session, we guarantee 20 minutes in sneakers without proper coverage and they’ll smell like a rotting tuna sub.
To feel as fresh as you look, stock up on no-show or ‘invisible’ socks that wrap around the toes and heel of the foot (ideally with a rubber grip to stay in place) giving the required illusion with none of the fungal nail infections.
Most guys relegate any shoes that extend beyond the ankle to the back of the wardrobe for the warmer months. But there are ways to wear them well for summer.
Not all boots will work as a replacement for your loafers. Opt for work boots and you run the risk of coming off look like a wrap-around shade, safari-shirt-and-chino-short wearing park ranger.
While suede desert boots can work with shorts, the easiest way to introduce calf-grazing creps is with a pair of high top sneakers. Team them with some well-tailored chino shorts and a simple white T-shirt for a foolproof look. Or, for a slightly messier, California-inspired take, look to denim shorts, modest prints or branded T-shirts.
Now, let’s be reasonable here. If it’s 35 degrees Celsius and humid as hell outside, there’s no chance of getting away with wearing a leather jacket. But given that only happens for perhaps one week in August, generally you shouldn’t shun skin all summer long.
All that’s required is to strip back the layering, push up the sleeves and team with pieces in lighter colours to make it summer-ready. For instance, a simple white T-shirt paired with light blue jeans has an air of rock ‘n’ roll nonchalance to it that requires no thought at all.
If suede is more your fabric, look for bomber or blouson jackets in warm hues. These pair nicely with jeans and chinos alike and offer a smart evening option when a suit (or the temperatures) are a degree too much.
Florals may have been the butt of many sartorial jokes over the years, but the past few seasons have proved they’re back with a flowery vengeance.
Darker, more subdued prints with flashes of colour are a safer bet than the brighter, bolder motifs out there. A dark, floral short-sleeved shirt makes an ideal addition to your holiday wardrobe, especially when teamed with a pair of grounding neutral chinos in white, stone or beige.
If you’re not quite ready for full-beam flower power just yet, try layering one under a lightweight knit or deconstructed blazer, or wear it open over a white T-shirt as a way of breaking up the motif.
As the famous saying goes: ‘No T-shirt is an outfit, entire of itself’, or something like that. While in winter, when it’s cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass money, it makes sense to wear as many clothes as possible, the opposite is not necessarily true in summer.
The careful art of layering doesn’t melt away with the snow. It simply takes on a new meaning. Aside from being a way of navigating the transitional months, when it can be hot or cold (or sometimes both), it’s also an opportunity to take a few risks and breathe life into old pieces.
In summer, layering can take on various forms. Be it a cardigan over a grandad collar shirt or the addition of cool jacket over a suit. One of the most powerful style plays to pull this season is a white T-shirt or vest worn under a printed or Cuban collar shirt worn either tucked in or out.
With all this new knowledge in tow, you’ll soon be able to stride out into the sunshine, head held high, wearing sandals, florals, boots and wool. Wait, wool?
Yes. If you’ve been packing this fabric away every six months, prepare to feel sheepish. The natural properties of fine gauge textiles like Merino make them one of the best fabrics to wear in the heat.
Temperature regulating and capable of absorbing moisture (plus allowing it to evaporate), it is packed with antibacterial qualities that ensure it doesn’t smell. So if it’s warm outside, there’s never been a better time to getting knitting. Or shopping.
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