Style Survival Guide: The Heatwave

 

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When the temperatures soar into the 90’s, us guys are screwed. While the ladies have it easy, in their summer dresses and tanks (we don’t mind), we suffer the heat with our long sleeves and pants. Knotting a tie and adding a blazer/jacket only makes matters worse.  Throw in a crowded subway ride and you have a recipe for disaster.  Nobody wants to be the guy showing up to the office covered in sweat.

With August near, the hot and humid days are only getting worse. Here are a few tips to keep you feeling cool, without sacrificing style.

FABRIC

While your wool blend may get you through three seasons, cotton and linen rule the day for summer suits. They are the perfect lightweight summer fabrics with a bonus – it draws attention to your shoulders to highlight those long hours at the gym. However, keep in mind linen’s tendency to wrinkle. J. Crew and Bonobos both offer reasonable options in a variety of colors.

As for summer shirts, our favorite fabrics are poplin, zephyr, and linen. For a detailed discussion of summer shirting fabrics, check out our friends over at Alenford.

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And of course, we can’t leave out the accessories. A good rule of thumb is to match the material of your tie to your blazer. While Fashion 101 will tell you not to wear your thick wool tie, you’d be surprised at how much heat a standard silk tie can generate, especially if knotted tightly.  Instead, go with a lightweight slim cotton or linen (or derivatives like chambray and seersucker). One of the great benefits of being a member of FreshNeck is that you can properly play the seasons, without purchasing the items.  Get some fresh summer ties and pocket squares for the summer, and exchange them out for more traditional fabrics as fall rolls around.

Some brands to check out that specialize in lightweight fabrics: DiBi, Armstrong & Wilson, Breuer, and Everett.

COLOR

Dark colors trap the heat, while light colors let it pass through. Our favorite is a basic khaki suit. Versatile enough to dress up or down, lightweight chino fabric ensures nobody will see sweat. If you want to keep it formal, pair it with a white shirt and black tie, but we suggest bringing it casual with a pop of color. A trending alternative is the light gray suit, in cotton or linen.

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FIT

We are all for a tailored look, but summer suits should be cut slightly bigger to allow room to breathe.  Nobody wants to see that suit stuck to your inner thigh.  And you’ll be less inclined to sweat through the material.

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FOOTWEAR

Let’s stick with the same themes here.  Keep it light, both in weight, and in color.  Some caramel or light gray colored loafers work well.

And no need for socks.  You’d be amazed at how much letting your ankles breathe can do for the rest of your body.  If you tend to sweat from your feet (or get blisters) from going sockless, consider a loafer liner, which is basically just the bottom of a sock.  Hook & Albert makes some a great one in funky colors.

Sockless Loafers in Summer Still feeling helpless? If you tend to sweat like Patrick Ewing after 48 minutes against the Bulls, its handy to keep a second shirt (and some deodorant) at the office. Last resort? Keep your suit at the office and commute in gym shorts and sneakers – just make sure you get to work before your boss!

How do you stay cool and stylish in the summer? Leave a comment below!

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