For all its joys, the hot season is a pain in the arse. Author Russell Baker had it best: “Ah summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it”. True enough, it makes masochists of us all; whether we’re sweltering in a suit on public transport or masquerading as barbecued meat as we burn on a beach, the heat doesn’t always allow for our best performances, especially when it comes to our style. And that’s without even starting on the myriad pitfalls of travelling. It’s enough to make you want to stay indoors.
Of course, that’s not an option. To borrow from some nameless youths, summer is ‘where it’s at’. And to paraphrase Shakespeare: Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day trip to the coast? Thou ain’t as lovely nor as temperate. Because days at the beach trump everything and holidays are why we go to work in the first place.
So a man needs to know how to style it out when the mercury rises. Start by looking around you. There’s always that guy on the underground breezing to work in a shorts suit while everyone else gasps for air through the door cracks. Invariably there’ll be a pair of white chinos turning heads in the airport while you rock up in swim shorts and a band tee. Benedict Cumberbatch at Wimbledon.
No, these men are not blessed with some kind of divine internal thermostat. Rather they’re sporting a little fabric nous, which allows them to wear what threads they want without sweating like that suckling pig you’re definitely going to eat if you can find a linen blazer for your mate’s hog roast this weekend.
Of course, there are problems that go beyond simple material mishaps. Packing for your holiday leaves blazers looking like crepe paper by the time you land. How on this hot, green earth are you supposed to style your hair when the sun’s microwaving your head? And what the hell is with those irremovable yellow armpit stains on white T-shirts? It’s one-nil to summer.
These are problems easily solved, however, when you look to men in the know. Which is why we bribed the savviest summer sartorialists (at great cost, mind you: two Cornettos and a Magnum in total) in return for the inside track on staying cool in the heat. All you need do is dust off the shades and study this action plan. We’ll see you on the beach for some joyful suffering and that first sweet Corona.
The Cool Men In Your Corner
Dan Rookwood, US Editor Of Mr Porter (DR)
Never caught short when on the move, wayfaring style journalist Mr Rookwood looks the part come rain or blistering shine. His expertise is put to use by hot brands including GQ, The Times and ES Magazine.
Phill Tarling, London Celebrity Stylist (PT)
Called upon to make stars look their best under the hot, hot heat of TV lights and then seem on-point in the soporific studio environment, Tarling is well placed to rework your wardrobe and streamline your summer.
Jamie Millar, Associate Style Editor Of Men’s Health (JM)
If Jamie isn’t keeping his cool in the front row of men’s fashion shows, you’ll find him outdoors, somehow managing to make summer workouts look stylish.
His hairstyle hacks will help you keep your head, indoors and out.
Jack Gibson, Aesthetic Expert At PHI Clinic (JG)
Running things behind the scenes at London’s premier cosmetic clinic, PHI, Jack knows more than the average Harley Street expert about the final solutions for sweat problems during summer.
1. Cool Investments (PT)
Maybe you work in a suits-only office or perhaps you just need another line of defence between skin and shirt. Either way, as counter-intuitive as it sounds, adding a vest is the best way to control the sweats.
The Cool & Fresh vests at Marks & Spencer or AIRism vests at Uniqlo react with body heat to absorb moisture and reduce sweating. Definitely not to be confused with a Sweat Vest, designed to make you sweat even more.
2. Hot Headed (JM)
They say with confidence a man can make anything look good. We say that adage does not apply to hair wax streaming down your forehead into your eyes.
You’re best off styling your barnet with a sea salt spray – Murdock does a great version for £20 – which offers hold without adding weight or grease to your hairstyle.
Applied well, it makes you look like you’ve just finished a thirty-minute session tearing up the surf.
3. Groom To Manoeuvre (DR)
Products face perils on your travels. Liquids often leak at altitude, so squeeze containers a little before screwing on the cap to give the contents some room to expand with changing air pressure.
Wrap liquid toiletries in individual zip-lock plastic bags to limit the damage in case of spillages. Pack your wash bag near the top of your carry on for ease of access when going through screening.
And, of course, keep all liquids under 100ml unless you fancy giving airport security an early Christmas present.
4. Never Wipe Out (PT)
No one wants to repeatedly apply antiperspirant on the go, so apply some stealthier countermeasures instead. Even something simple like an old-fashioned hankie to (discreetly) mop brows or armpits is a godsend in the heat (House of Fraser and Debenhams both offer affordable options).
Better still, the male grooming mavericks at Wingman make large wet wipes perfect for festival sink-showers and beach-to-bar manoeuvres alike.
5. Quick On The Drawer (DR)
We all hate packing. So to save time and hassle, create a ‘travel drawer’ at home that contains all your packing-related paraphernalia in one place – like your passport and transparent airport security-approved wash bag – plus a master packing list of all the things you might possibly need so you don’t ever arrive at a hotel and curse yourself for leaving your universal plug adaptors at home again.
If you don’t have a spare drawer, keep these things in your empty luggage at home.
6. Underarm Tactics (PT)
First, some housekeeping: use a stronger antiperspirant that fends off smells (like Molton Brown’s anti-perspirant sportstick), or perhaps consider an over-the-counter clinical strength one if you really have odour issues.
For those T-shirts suffering from stains and permastink, instead of throwing them out, try John Lewis’ clever pre-laundry spray called Deo-Go, which tackles both problems with ease.
7. Pad It Out (PT)
If the above doesn’t cut it, you can buy sweat absorbers called dress shields, which will put an end to unsightly sweat patches in the beer garden.
There’s a plethora of options out there but we’d suggest the fabric versions from MacCulloch & Wallis (size 3 for us chaps). You can even sew them on permanently and wash them with your shirts.
8. Stem the Tide (JG)
If you sweat like a FIFA executive at an FBI summer party and neither the grooming products nor shirt hacks are enough for you, there is one last solution perhaps a little more extreme than the rest.
miraDry is a perfectly safe, clinically-proven fix for excessive sweating. Electromagnetic waves are used to shut down the sweat glands in your armpits. It’s non-invasive and the results are permanent.
9. Sneaker Peek (DR)
Mr Rookwood’s Nike Flyknits go with him everywhere. According to him, one of the best ways of orientating yourself when travelling, discovering places to return to later and getting over any jet lag is to go for a run.
Download the running apps MapMyRun and Run Keeper onto your phone – you can search through loads of crowd-sourced routes based on your location which you can then filter by distance.
10. Packing Heat (DR)
We mentioned Mr Rookwood was a jetsetter. So here’s a guide to streamlining your summer travels based on his fail-safe advice:
- Pile before you pack. Lay everything you intend to take neatly around your bag to make it easier to edit your selection.
- Keep anything that will crease heavily (shirts, suits etc.) in a layer of plastic/dry cleaner bags – plastic reduces friction.
- Pack footwear in shoe bags at the bottom/wheel-end of the luggage to prevent your clothes becoming soiled or crushed.
- Protect valuables such as your camera and iPod inside shoes and use balled pairs of socks as shoetrees.
- Rolled T-shirts, underwear, plug adaptors etc. should be used to fill any gaps to complete the jigsaw and ensure contents won’t shift in transit.
- Add your trousers after all the heavy stuff, but leave the legs sticking out. Finish packing, then fold the legs over. That way you won’t press any creases into them.
Before you fly, it pays to keep calm and carry on with aplomb. You might not have been able to sweet talk your way to lounge access at the terminal and a flat bed on the plane but you can still travel in elevated comfort. Here’s what to take on board:
- Screaming-baby-noise cancelling headphones (try Master & Dynamic).
- An eye mask (Armand Diradourian make beautiful cashmere versions).
- Cashmere trousers and hoodie (Derek Rose) for ultimate comfort when travelling.
- An iPad with a pre-downloaded TV series (True Detective, anyone?).
How do you beat the heat in style? Care to share any tips for looking sharp while travelling?
Comment below to let us know.