During the height of summer, when the heat is stifling and the sun relentless, dressing in a comfortable yet stylish way can be tricky. But never fear – we’re set to showcase 12 go-to summer outfits that you can call on time after time, each guaranteed to keep you looking and feeling cool until autumn.
Lightweight Trousers + Polo Shirt + Loafers
Three pieces that sit right in the smart-casual sweet spot, this combination is one to reach for when you want to look put together without sacrificing comfort. Fit and material choice are the most important considerations here. Both the trousers and polo shirt should be crafted from breathable cotton or linen and be cut slim (but not restrictively so) to maintain a tailored silhouette. Similarly, the loafers will ideally be made of lightweight suede and come in a summer-ready colourway like tan or beige. Don’t forget the invisible socks – no one wants to deal with the squelchy reality of going barefoot in the heat.
Breton Top + White Trousers
A nautical-inspired pairing, matching a classic Breton top with summer-ready white trousers is a move that signals Riviera sophistication. It’s imperative that the trousers are cut slim through the leg and are slightly cropped or have a minimal break, as white is notoriously unforgiving and any excess fabric pooling at the ankles will look sloppy, like Simon Cowell at a pool party. As for the top, there are plenty of variations, spanning colours, necklines and short as well as long sleeves. For a classic example that’ll sit well on its own or under a deconstructed blazer, choose a darker shade with thin, rather than block, stripes. Although it may be tempting to reach for the boat shoes here, doing so can push the look into the realm of costume, so try a smart pair of loafers or Derbies instead.
Floral Shirt + Neutral Shorts
Looking to make a statement this season? We have just the thing, petal. A staple that many men still continue to shy away from (no matter how much we bang on about them), the floral shirt is much easier to wear than may first appear. As long as you opt for a design with a darker base tone (such as navy, black or burgundy) and anchor it with something neutral down below, it’s really rather hard to go wrong. Finish the look with a pair of sandals or espadrilles for a getup that will get you noticed for all the right reasons, at home or abroad.
Tailored Shorts + Short-Sleeved Shirt
Perhaps the most obvious combination on this entire list, tailored shorts and a short-sleeved shirt are a match made in style heaven. Guaranteeing comfort in the heat while enabling you to maintain a smart and refined appearance, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to this pairing. That said, always bear in mind the colour wheel when mixing different shades, and make sure that if opting for a printed design up top, that you counterbalance it with neutral, plain shorts (and vice versa). Casual footwear styles such as trainers can jar with this outfit, so stick to smarter shapes such as loafers, boat shoes and suede Derbies.
Denim Shorts + Printed T-Shirt
A music festival favourite, a printed T-shirt worn with a pair of denim shorts is an off-duty go-to when the temperature climbs. With this look it makes sense to build from the bottom up, so start with a simple pair of shoes such as white sneakers or the returning-to-glory espadrille. To that, add a pair of dark wash shorts, which will help tone down the volume of your printed tee. Be wary not to veer too dark, however, as black denim will do little but absorb the heat and make you sweat on the main stage. This solid base will anchor any print you can think of – from slightly muted florals to wild geometrics. Just nothing with ‘female body inspector’ printed on it. Please.
Navy Trousers + Light Neutral Blazer
Worn together, navy and lighter neutral tones like stone or beige offer a fail-safe combination that every man should add to his repertoire. The earthy blazer is a modern must-own, especially for the warmer months. Prioritise unlined styles made from breathable materials that hold their structure well, such as pure cotton or cotton-linen blends. When it comes to legwear, adjust to the occasion and expected formality. This is a jacket that works just as well with tailored navy trousers as it does cotton chinos or even dark indigo denim. Finish with a plain T-shirt and minimal trainers for a smart-casual separates look that can be adapted to suit everything from a BBQ to a business lunch.
Tailored Shorts + Tee + Unstructured Blazer
Summer is the perfect time to show off a set of hard-won calves (why suffer the pain of leg day otherwise?). However, even at casual events, no one wants to be the most dressed-down guy in the room, which can make sliding into shorts problematic. Fortunately, there’s always the unstructured blazer on hand to smarten things up. Throwing this relaxed piece of tailoring over a Henley or T-shirt and anchoring with breathable summer footwear such as loafers or driving shoes is a surefire way to look stylish, but not stuffy.
Athletic Shorts + Crew Neck T-Shirt + Trainers
One for the casual dresser, each piece in this trio has a strong sporting heritage, which ensures they blend seamlessly. There is the option to try slightly looser fits here, as comfort and air circulation is top of the agenda. Whether worn in or out of the gym, this combination is relaxed and effortless, especially if you stick to fail-safe colour combinations. Throw a lightweight bomber jacket or raglan sleeve sweatshirt on over the top when temperatures start to drop, but you want your style to stay high.
Shorts + Tee + Fine Gauge Knit
We can already sense the bead of sweat running down your head at the thought of wearing knitwear in summer, but hear us out. Far from a shortcut to a swampy torso, a fine gauge knit – think linen-cotton blends or merino wool – packs enough thermo-regulating properties to keep it breathable in milder climes. This makes it the perfect partner for a pair of shorts on a day, or evening, when the weather seems about as predictable as, well, Michael Fish’s weather reports.
Towelling Polo + Tailored Swim Shorts
Sitting around the pool or at the bar wrapped in a beach towel is tricky. You think you look like Bjorn Borg after a victorious tie-break, but in truth you’re channelling a giant man-child. A far more stylish move to pull post-dip is to throw on a soft, tactile cotton-terry polo shirt. This ultra-absorbent piece has all the class of a classic collared polo, without any of the clingy fabric (or see-through bits). Better yet, it’s a simple way of dressing up a pair of (preferably tailored) swim shorts, making the transition to alfresco dining all the more seamless.
Lightweight Suit + Tee + Trainers
While a suit, bought in the right colour and cut, is a year-round essential, its fabric may not be. Winter’s heavy wools feel about as appropriate as a Christmas jumper by the time high-summer rolls around, so loosen up with a lightweight alternative. Easy-going fabrics like cotton, linen and seersucker set the gold standard here and lend themselves to expertly dressing up a T-shirt. Extra points for tucking it in. The T-shirt, not the suit jacket. Obviously.
Shorts + Tee + Open Shirt
T-shirts and shirts are both workhorses of the male wardrobe, therefore it stands to reason that the two would slot together like handsome pieces of Lego. We shouldn’t need to tell you that this is a one-way street. As in, no, the T-shirt can’t go over the shirt. But there are a few other guidelines beyond that. For best results, ensure only one of the pieces features any pattern or design details (a white T-shirt under an open check shirt or a Breton stripe top under a plain denim button-up, for example). The only other salient point to make is about fit. Nothing kills a look quicker than a too-loose T-shirt stuffed under a too-tight shirt. So get the basics right.
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