Jul 08, 2013

Ask ManMade: What the ______ Are Men Supposed to Wear to Dress Up in the Summer?

created at: 07/08/2013

Two weeks ago, it was a wedding in 95° heat with 95% humidity. Last weekend, a special night out at local restaurant we've been wanting to try. Next week, an out-of-town business-y trip to the desert. All of which have sweatingly, swelteringly reminded me: I have no idea how to dress up when it's hot outside.   

Fall and winter? Easy. Bust out the layers, and almost anyone looks great in wool. Springs cool nights allow for plenty of jackets and long sleeves...but summer? I tried everything I have, and I can't stop coming off like a college kid whose girlfriend is making him take her to her spring sorority formal, or an MBA about to do eighteen holes with his boss. (Nothing wrong with either, but those are just not the case here.) 

So, seersucker aside, what's a guy supposed to do in the summer? The cats above (from the Miami-based Starz drama Magic City) just seem to have to tough it out, jackets and starched collars and all. But, there's gotta be a better way.

So, please share some of your tips and best practices in the comments below. Is it about cuts? Materials? Are short sleeves, or even shorts, ever and option? Sandals? For those of you that live in warm weather places all year round, how to do you dress up without roasting? 

Let us know. I'm sure every guy can benefit from a chat like this. 

[Top Photo courtesy of Starz/Greg Williams for Vanity Fair]


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Elias on Jul 19, 2013:

Invest in some Airism undergarments from Uniqlo. I don't know how they work, but these t-shirts and boxer-briefs are a revelation and I am living in them this summer. Truly incredible. They are pricey, but one or two should do the trick for especially important and potentially sweaty days.

Jazz on Jul 11, 2013:

I like to wear a fitted beater underneath my shirts because it absorbs a lot of my sweat which naturally keeps me cool on hot days and I have never had a problem with sweat stains on any of my shirts regardless of how much I sweat and regardless of color(including white). It might just be me though...

Chris on Jul 11, 2013:

Brian, David, Kye, and MrAguirrechu - All solid advice. Thanks for sharing your expertise with us!

Kye on Jul 09, 2013:

I live in Aussie. Very hot. I would suggest you wear a light white shirt and thin pants. Hope it helps. P.S in aussie spring nights are very hot.

Brian on Jul 09, 2013:

Since I live in Texas, I have a little experience in this arena. The key that I have found is light clothing, in both color and material. During the day and less formal affairs you can get away with shorts and a short sleeved shirt if you are staying around the house, but if you plan to go out and it's not quite that casual, I would recommend some tropical wool trousers, and undershirt (to absorb moisture), perhaps a thin polo (I personally find John Smedleys sea island cotton perfect for this) and thin socks with dress shoes of your choice. The idea is to get the thinnest material that will block the sun and not be see-through, and yet allow air to flow through. If a jacket is required, try a linen sports coat thats half lined if you can. Of course, satying hydrated and in the shade are a given, but I find that body talc helps a lot as well. I could write on and on about this, but the real summary is light colored and light weight natural material and to keep the sun off of you as much as possible. 

David on Jul 09, 2013:

First of all, wear a good fitting undershirt if you're going to wear a button down. Choose light materials such as linen. Shorts and short sleeved button downs are bbq & boats only, in my opinion they never look sharp. For not so businessy occassions choose light colors, especially during the day. For example a light blue chino whith a linen shirt. As footwear I'd choose some light leather slippers if it's on the occasional side. In business context there is little choice. But most of the times the offices are cool enough, though. Try to sit down as little as possible when dressed up allowing the sweat to dry up, especially on your back. Last but not least, keep a change shirt in the office. 

@MrAguirrechu on Jul 08, 2013:

Keep the fabrics light weight but the cut slim. You can rock a cotton linen suit but w/o the right fit you look like an NBA draftee circa 1994. Try and stay away from sandals unless there is water w/in 500 ft. Lets be honest, when is the last time you got a pedicure? Undershirts are a waste. Growing up in S. FL you just keep it light and hustle to the next a/c spot.