There are two things most men concern themselves with when getting dressed in summer: firstly, do I look good? And secondly, can I be sure I won’t sweat my balls off in this?
It’s no mean feat. Dressing for summer means long, hot days (and balmy nights), so you need modular outfits that let you switch pieces in or out depending on the time of day, temperature and the place you’re headed.
To help stay cool, look cool and not get caught out in an unexpected rain shower, here are eight no-fail formulas for staying steezy this summer.
Denim Jacket + Tee + Jeans
Think you can’t wear denim in summer? Think again.
Okay, sure, squeezing yourself into a pair of raw jeans isn’t the smartest move on summer’s most brow-drenchingly sweaty days, but lose the weight and you’ll keep your cool. Lightweight denim (that’s under 12 ounces a yard) is more flexible and breathable than its heavier counterpart, letting you keep that rock edge without overheating.
Team a washed denim jacket with a tee and distressed jeans for an off-duty look you can wear everywhere. (Pro tip: button the jacket all the way up for a slightly smarter finish.)
Leather Bomber + Breton Shirt + Chinos
A naval staple at heart, there’s no arguing the Breton shirt is a menswear classic that skews more casual than smart. But there’s something about its French heritage that makes it so much more refined than a mere piece of fisherman’s kit.
A Breton shirt works just as well for a dinner date as it does a stroll to ease the hangover the next day. Dress it up with a buttery soft leather jacket in the evening or keep your look to just one layer in the midday heat.
Blazer + Shirt + Cropped Trousers
Feeling the heat in the office? Cut loose with a look that’ll let you breathe.
Small tweaks like choosing a trouser that lets you feel the breeze on your ankles, losing the collar on your shirt, or simply undoing a couple of buttons, helps keep sweat at bay without getting your boss’ finger wagging.
What’s more, you won’t need to pack a change of clothes for the post-work round either.
Linen Blazer + Polo Shirt + Trousers
There’s no disputing the fact that T-shirts work with tailoring, but sometimes you need a little more structure to your silhouette.
A polo offers the best of both worlds: it’s lightweight and breathable like a tee, but – crucially – comes with a collar, helping you cut a slightly smarter figure. (Without having to resort a stuffy button-down shirt.)
The beauty of this look is you get all of the polo’s sportswear appeal when worn solo with some trousers, but can leverage its more sartorial side by slipping into an airy blazer. Riviera style made simple.
All-White + Bomber Jacket
Got tan? Bronzed like demi-god David Gandy? No? Then you’d better start catching rays (or faking it), because all-white isn’t going anywhere.
Once the preserve of 1990s boybands, head-to-toe white has been topping the menswear trends charts for a few seasons now, and for good reason: it’s easy, it’s light-reflecting (and therefore sweat-preventing) and it works everywhere – you just need to switch up the pieces in the mix depending on where you’re headed.
Sure, a white vest and shorts might come off a bit Chippendales at your in-laws’ family barbecue, but change tack with a white short-sleeved shirt and chinos and you’re onto a winner.
If you’re not alright with a white-out approach, spike your look with a piece in darker colour for contrast. Especially useful if you’re nearly as pale as the whites you’re wearing.
Mac + Tee + Jeans
A typical British ‘summer’ might best be described as grey and sweaty, but on the rare occasion it’s bright and breezy, you want something that looks like summer but still stops a chill in its tracks.
Cue the mac. Lightweight and cut slim, it promises coverage without the cumbersome bulk. Opt for one in a brighter colour like cobalt blue, tan or burgundy and you’ll steer a staple that’s traditionally reserved for the rainy season into something more summer-ready.
Here, ripped jeans and a T-shirt roughen up the mac’s clean lines, but you can just as easily team it with a linen shirt and cropped trouser for an equally versatile, albeit more squeaky clean take.
Field Jacket + Polo Shirt + Cropped Trouser
Like all menswear pieces lifted from the military, the field jacket comes packed full of the versatility a man needs to meet the demands of modern life. (As well as generously sized pockets for pretty much everything you’ll need this summer: sunglasses, a bottle of SPF, that can of Red Stripe…)
Give it a look that’s more smart-casual than desert squad by flanking it with pieces that skew slightly more sartorial – like a polo shirt and tailored cropped trouser.
Rounded out with a pair of minimal trainers, it’s your new go-to for city breaks and country getaways.
Harrington + Lightweight Knit + Coloured Chinos
There’s a school of thought that says bright colours don’t work for much other than the beach. But that’s a little reductive (and very, very boring).
It’s so not much that colour can’t work in a variety of situations, it’s that only certain colours can. A lime green T-shirt won’t mesh as well with a suit as it will your petrol blue swim shorts, but that’s not to say racing green wouldn’t.
This look mixes two versatile colours – bottle green and burgundy – with a neutral base (in the shape of a classic beige Harrington jacket) for a mash-up of hues that cuts through the monotony of menswear’s most overused colours.
For more tips on dressing for the season (and staving off sweat), check out our guide on what to wear for every event you’ll actually attend this summer, and a rundown of the warm weather fabrics every man’s wardrobe needs.