How a Gentleman should Dress for Summer
“And so, with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.” – F Scott Fitzgerald The Great Gatsby
As The Beatles sang, Here Comes the Sun. Finally, after a particularly dreary winter of snowstorms and rain. And although you might be praising the return of long hot days, and with any luck, hotter nights, there is one sartorial setback which rears its irksome head at this time of year. What on earth to wear without breaking a sweat? But believe me sirs, when I say that sartorial excellence is achievable, no matter the Celsius.
Fortunately, we can take most of our cues from countrymen far more used to warmer climes. Take, for example, the eternally stylish Italians, who never let the heat stop them in their firmly held title as the most fashionable nation. The secret in part to their success is lightweight fabric and relaxed silhouettes.
In hotter weather to stay cool, without showing skin one should aim to cover the body in light loosely fitting clothing. But what about if you work in an office where casual Friday is beyond management's imagination and informality severely frowned upon? The Italians' adaptability with softer looser tailoring in light fabrics is what will work here, in even the most formal of offices. The Armani house in the eighties was heralded for making the relaxed tailored fit popular again. Even if your usual tailor sticks to a more British aesthetic, sensitively try to persuade the old chap to bravely follow suit where pioneers such as Brunello Cuccinello has long eschewed traditional formal tailoring for a summer-appropriate and more relaxed aesthetic. To compliment this unstructured silhouette, suits should be made from light linen, cotton, chambrays, seersuckers and fresco fabrics. Be sure that suit jackets are unlined as you don't want any extra layering to retain heat.
As well as the cut and lightness of suit silhouettes and fabrics, one should also pay close attention to colour palette. The lighter the better here, so muse on masculine pastels, light greys, creams and bright navies. Naturally, the lighter the colour, the more the sun's rays will reflect rather than be absorbed, and you're far likelier to stay cool on scorching days.
So now to a more divisive question...to wear formal shorts or not? I dare say there are gents with arguments far more informed and braver than mine, but on personal contemplation, I would attest that formal shorts should never be worn with a blazer or matching suit jacket. A linen shirt is the perfect accompaniment for shorts in the summer and particularly when paired with loafers or sneakers for casual occasions.
No show socks are the best bet if you want to keep sweat-free in the summer months in your loafers and sneakers without spoiling your sartorial flair or ruining your shoes with unhygienic perspiration. It’s also wise to carry around a pocket handkerchief for emergency wiping of one’s brow. Incorporate this into one’s wardrobe in place of your pocket square to kill two birds with one stone, although staunch pocket square-ists will bow their heads in shame as such talk.
When it comes to your footwear, now is the time to indulge in a variety of textures and colours. A pastel blue or sand suede Derby paired with our light sand sole will have you skipping along the sidewalk, and a loafer in canvas with a rubber sneaker sole will do perfect for weekends at Martha’s Vineyard. For those firm city dwellers, then I can highly recommend a patina loafer with a tasselled loafer with a tan sole for a town appropriate look that still nods to summertime.
With all that said, you’re free to scamper about all summer long, as you wish whilst retaining the sartorial scorecard.
Sweat freestyles for Summer