August is here, and summer’s starting to wrap up. But for some of you, it’s still sweltering outside and there’s no end in sight with all the heat.
When you’re uncomfortably hot, the last thing you want to think about is the clothes on your back. Most likely, you’d prefer to not wear clothes at all (totally understandable… if you’re at a beach, or a nudist colony).
Since we do have to wear clothes most places we go, here are some ideas for casual pieces you can wear and still look great.
Some of these choices will depend on where you’re headed. Assess the situation first: Is the place you’re going to more dressy? Is it casual? Should you be on top of your game, or are you just picking up an iced coffee at the cafe a couple blocks away? Will you be out all day? Are you heading somewhere after the main event?
After figuring this stuff out, choose accordingly.
Great denim is a standard most months of the year. Lightweight denim (not necessarily light-colored) should be a standard for those really sweaty summer months.
When I say lightweight denim, I’m talking about 8-10 oz, same fit and style as your typical denim. Naked and Famous always has some interesting choices and blends, and here’s an example of their lightweight linen blend denim. If you find a pair of well-fitting lightweight denim, pick up a pair, because they can be hard to find at times.
Tailored shorts in chambray, twill
Don’t resort to your khaki cargo shorts from college. No matter how much you’ve matured, you still look like a punk ass college kid when you put em on.
You can find a great pair of shorts pretty much anywhere you go. H&M and J.Crew have great-fitting examples, but you might have to hit up the physical stores; most online shops are already stocking Fall clothing, making shorts a difficult find.
Chambray shorts are always an option, though I imagine this would be somewhat difficult to pull off unless you have the right shade of chambray shorts. They tend to come off kinda jorty (jorts = jean shorts, for the uninitiated) and well, I’m not a fan of jorts.
Don’t forget, you want your shorts to fit like your pants, just without the material below the knee. Not sure exactly how they should fit? Lucky for you, I broke it down in a previous article.
To be clear, I do not advocate wearing flip flops on any place but 1.) the beach, 2.) near a body of water, or 3.) in a beach city so long as you’re within walking distance to the shore.
Assuming you are in any of the aforementioned situations, here’s a pair I like. They’re made of leather, have solid construction (won’t break in one day), and they conform to your feet the more you wear them.
Boat shoes, Tom’s, espadrilles, Chucks
I’m (slowly, barely) starting to warm up to the idea of Tom’s and/or espadrilles, mostly because I’ve been observing how stylish dudes pull them off, and to be honest, they make them look kinda good.
Like em? Able to pull em off? Go for em. But wear them when you know you’ll be in a casual situation; they’re not dressy by any means. Also, these shoes offer minimal support, so keep that in mind. Nevertheless, they’re a great warm weather alternative.
Another option (in any weather, really) is a pair of unadorned, simple white low-top Chuck Taylors or Jack Purcell. They’re affordable and comfortable; you can beat them up and not really care (because they look even better beat up, and they’re cheap to replace).
Socks optional, but when I do wear socks, I keep them below the ankle. If you tend to sweat a lot, stick with socks.
I hardly ever wear t-shirts. Pretty much the only time you’ll find me in a T-shirt is when I’m doing work around the house, or when I’m at the gym.
My go-to shirt when I’m in public is a basic polo shirt. Typically in a pique knit, these shirts keep you cool while still having a collar (whenever you’re in a collar, you up your style a couple points by default). I must own like 30 polo shirts, no kidding. And no, they’re not all Ralph Lauren Polo brand, though my favorite (in case you’re wondering) is the custom fit RL Polo, made with a much slimmer body compared to the standard fit.
Chambray shirting is perfect for hot weather. They’re light, and they look great with a pair of colored chinos or white denim, even lightweight pinstripe cords. They come in a variety of washes and nowadays, they’re available in various colorways (red being my personal favorite). If you’re in the market for your first one, keep it at a medium blue wash (J.Crew option, Orvis option) since it’s probably the most versatile.
Ahh linen, the perfect lightweight material for all occasions. I own a bunch of linen pieces. I have linen shorts, linen pants (somewhere), linen button-ups, linen suits, linen thongs, I got it all!
Linen is so versatile in hot weather because it’s breathable, and at the same time, there are plenty of options if you’re dressing up or dressing down. Linen pants, for example, can have a more casual cut like chinos or basic denim, or you could find them in a trouser cut, where they are more tailored and built to look like suiting pants.
If you’ve never owned anything linen before, be warned that the fabric may seem scratchy and stiff at first; the piece softens up the more you wear it.
Suiting in cotton, seersucker
The ultimate way to look put together in those more dressy situations, yet still remain cool, is to invest in a nicely-tailored cotton or seersucker suit.
There are plenty available at various price points, so if you’re in the market, you should have no issue finding something that fits your body and your wallet.
We could get into a whole discussion of how suits should fit here, but let’s save that for another time. We’ve discussed proper fit a few times on this site (complete with examples) and why you should go to a tailor.
Just remember that even though cotton suiting can be more casual than, say, standard wool suiting, that doesn’t mean it should be loose. Casual ≠ loose.
I never understood why some guys are under the impression that casual means relaxed and loose and billowy. Do you guys really hate the feeling of fabric next to your skin?
And just because something is well-fitting, doesn’t mean it’s uncomfortable or tight. It means well-fitting, exactly what it sounds like. So get over that misconception.
Did I miss any preferred warm weather pieces? What do you like to wear when it’s hot as balls outside? Let’s hear it in the comments below.