Learning what to put on, rather than take off in hot weather might sound contradictory, but unless you’re spending the high summer season unwinding in a German naturist resort, it’s a necessity.
That’s not to say there aren’t some savvy ways of keeping your style high through summer, though. Below we’ve rounded up the fail-safe ways to dress in the heat. Here’s to looking on point, without passing out.
Linen Long-Sleeved Shirt + Tailored Trousers
Whoever said you can’t look good when it’s hot as balls just didn’t know their stuff. And by stuff we mean fabrics. Arming yourself with the knowledge of which fabrics breathe, and which ones make you sweat, is the difference between staying cool and wearing a sauna.
This pairing – provided you opt for a lightweight cotton or linen trouser – helps you stave off sweat without having to bare skin. Try mixing a neutral top with a bolder colour down below (and vice versa), or a head-to-toe tonal approach for a more contemporary effect.
Short-Sleeved Shirt + Tailored Shorts
Another sure-fire way to stay smart without rocking sweat patches. This combo offers the clean lines of tailoring with less of the cloth, meaning you can look put-together enough for an al fresco lunch without dripping on it.
Be sure to get your fit on point. Err too baggy, or too skinny, with either the shorts or the shirt and you’ll turn a tried-and-trusted summer look into something distinctly Scoutmaster. (Still confused? See our tips on fit here.)
Breton Shirt + Navy/White Shorts
Even if it’s Rhodes rather than the Riviera that you’re sunning yourself in, it’s worth packing some of that French panache.
Namely, the Breton shirt. Still as fresh as it was two centuries ago, this Gallic classic is the ideal fix for men who fancy wearing a bit of pattern without running the risk of having their mates take the piss.
Keep it classic with a traditional long-sleeved style (which you can, incidentally, easily team with an unstructured blazer) or steer shorter if it’s just too damn hot.
Floral Shirt + Chino Shorts
There’s something liberating about sun holidays. Something about all that sun that helps you to finally flip the ‘off’ switch, pour yourself a generous slug of something strong and unwind; without refreshing your Mail app every three seconds.
This can have both good and bad results for your wardrobe. Good, because you’re temporarily less uptight, and more willing to experiment with pieces that are normally well out of your comfort zone, and bad, well, bad for exactly the same reason.
Case in point: the floral shirt. An attention-grabbing holiday essential, a floral shirt can make or break your look. Keep to shallow water with well-fitting, muted styles if you don’t want to end up a fashion victim.
Plain T-Shirt + Printed Shorts
Print is powerful. Place it on a body part that you’ve been training, and watch it work like steroids. Been hitting those lats? A printed tee turns yours into wings. Been squatting PBs? Printed shorts turn your already solid quads into sequoia trunks.
This is all well and good if you want to look like Ronnie Magro. Less so, if you want to look like you have even the faintest grasp on matters of style.
This combo – firmly business up top and party down below – is great for guys who don’t want their inverted triangle exaggerated. Stick with neutral colours for the tee and opt for shorts that are cut slim, but which won’t turn your thighs into sausage meat.
Vest + Swim Shorts
Is there a more divisive menswear piece than the vest? A recent debate between our editors suggested there’s no hotter fashion potato than this warm-weather favourite.
But it’s all in how you wear it. Team a vest with a pair of smartly-cut (not too tight, not too baggy, mid-thigh length) swim shorts, and you’ve got a look that says despite the fact that it’s brain-meltingly hot, you still had the self-respect to style it out.
That said, if you haven’t seen the inside of a gym in years, a T-shirt’s a safer bet.
Polo Shirt + Tailored Trousers
You might not think something as innocuous as a shirt placket could be inconvenient, but try nursing a post-dinner bloat in 35-degree heat and then get back to us.
If you want to lose the restraint of a shirt but stay looking refined, try a polo shirt instead. One of sportswear’s greatest contributions to the smart-casual wardrobe, a polo is basically a glorified tee with a collar – which means it’ll let you feel like you’re lounging but make you look much better turned out.
Pick up one in piqué, supima cotton or a linen-cotton mix for optimal breathability and pair with a tailored lightweight trouser – you’ll give JFK on a yacht a run for his money.
Printed T-Shirt + Denim Shorts
Wearing raw denim in summer is an experience so uncomfortable that we’re convinced it’s among some of the CIA’s more obscure torture methods.
Thankfully, though, brands have taken pity on denim devotees in recent seasons, releasing lightweight styles that promise all of the style, none of the gross stickiness. Opt for a pair in a light or acid wash and combine with a printed tee up top for an outfit that looks fire but won’t send you up in flames.