Summer: Dressing for the Heat

Editor’s note: As an etiquette guide, this article is based on opinion. It’s goal is to create a standard.

Summer is here, and it’s brought the heat with it. If you’re not dressed for it you end up baking like your grandma’s rhubarb pie. I’m going to help you dress comfortably in warm weather without looking like a cad.

Keep Your Shirt On

There’s a trend these days of guys taking their shirts off any time it gets warm. Often these guys are pretty out of shape too. I say, don’t. Unless at the beach or pool or maybe playing a pickup basketball game, keep your shirt on. Nobody wants to see that anyway. You’re a man, your intellect and character make you far more attractive than your body ever could.

Choosing Your Fabrics

Your choice of fabric can greatly influence your comfort level in any weather conditions. When choosing fabrics for warm weather, you’ll want to wear something light and breathable. Cotton is a good choice, as a certain synthetics. You want to be careful with the synthetics though, they can look excessively casual. Lighter colours are a waist choice as well, as darker colours will heat up more in the sun. 

Wear a Hat

In the heat, hats go from a wise fashion choice to a necessity. The right hat will protect your head from the harsh sun. A baseball cap would do the job, but there’s not much that’s less classy than a ball cap as an everyday hat. A gentleman white Panama hat is probably your best bet. It’s summery looking but still classy, and it goes with a wide variety of casual and informal outfits. On top of that, you’ll look a bit like Al Capone. 

Shorts

Shorts are far more comfortable in the heat than pants but can easily be worn wrong. It’s sad that I have to say this but, shorts are exclusively casual. In fact, you should probably limit them to your street clothes. A man’s shorts should be approximately knee length with a relaxed but not baggy fit. You have a little bit of leeway on the baggy side but otherwise they’ll almost instantly look ill-fitting. You also need to remember that simpler garments are more formal, so only pair cargo shirts with t-shirts. Personally, I would always go straight to pants after cargo shorts. Finally, never tuck your shirt into your shorts. 

Sandals

Sandals are an excellent choice to keep your feet cool in the heat, but there are rules here too. Most importantly, there are two garments that must never be worn with sandals; socks and pants, you’ll just end up looking like an old man, even if thirteen. Leather flip-flops or hiking sandals are a touch more formal so they’re a good choice with a polo or button-down shirt. Anything else is best kept in the realm of t-shirts. 

Be Prepared to Layer

Even the hottest days can get pretty cool in the evenings, so you’ll need to be ready for that too. If you expect to be out into the evening, be sure to bring along a sweater or coat that goes with your outfit. Fit is less of an issue since you’ll be most comfortable wearing only one layer anyway. If you’re going out on a date, a blanket is your best choice so you can cuddle up with that lovely lady when it gets cool. 

Suck It Up

Sometimes you may have no choice but to tap into your inner stoic, and suck it up. Men’s fashion gets inherently warm once you get up to the more formal end. It can even be enough to make you jealous of the fairer sex and their light airy dresses. Just carry a handkerchief and try to stay indoors. 

Choosing Your Event’s Dress Code

Editor’s note: As an etiquette guide, this article is based on opinion. It’s goal is to create a standard.

There are so many different types of events that one can host that choosing a dress code can sometimes be daunting. Sometimes, specific events may also have very specific dress codes. I’m going to help you decide, so far as practical concerns don’t decide for you. 

Formality

In many cases the only factor to determining dress code is formality. Sometimes there can be some disagreement on the formality of the occasion, but that’s not really something I can help you with. You want dress formality to match the formality of the event. If you expect your guests to agree on how formal the event is, then the dress code can go unspoken. 

Children’s Parties

Not surprisingly, children’s parties have two dress codes; one for the kids and one for the adults. For the kids the dress code should be whatever suits the party. The parents on the other hand, should dress at or below the level of the kids, preferably informal or casual.

 Cocktail Party

A cocktail party is at least informal. That means all the men should be wearing suits and all the women should be wearing cocktail dresses. 

Outdoor Parties

Most outdoor parties are pretty casual. The type of activities tends to force that. Some outdoor parties are more formal but those are usually for once in a lifetime events or a royal visit, which would probably still be once in a lifetime. 

Dinner Parties

Dinner parties can be quite casual but should usually skew formal. A good rule of thumb is to dress more formal if you’re use nicer china.

Once in a Lifetime

Once in a lifetime occasions should definitely be formal. You only get to do them once so you need to make a big deal out of it. 

Know Your Guests

More important than anything is to know your guests. They’ll likely be uncomfortable if you’re expecting them to dress outside of how they might otherwise. On the flip side, don’t adopt an excessively casual dress code either. Go with the most formal of what your guests will be comfortable with, unless it’s inappropriately casual for the nature of the event. 

Fashion Staples Every Man Should Have

A lot of men’s wardrobes seem to be nothing but jeans and t-shirts, but they still have no desire to expand it. I’m still in the process of expanding my own and through that consideration I’ve gotten some extraordinary insight and have come up with this list of fashion staples Every Man should have. 

Get ASAP

These are the things you really should have at the ready, regardless of what culture you live in, because you may need them on too short of notice to go shopping. 

Black Suit

A black suit is really irreplaceable. They almost form there own level of formality and to some people, including me, they’re the only thing that’s appropriate at a funeral. You’ll probably want to go with a two or three buttonsingle breasted jack with notch lapels. 

Dark Suit

A black suit isn’t always appropriate, especially in some cultures where they’re considered exclusively funeral attire. For that, reason, you’ll want to have a charcoal grey or navy blue suit in your closet for those other occasions. 

Dress Shirts

You need to have a variety of dress shirts to go with various outfits. Be sure to include at least one solid white shirt and several more of other solid colours. If you want to throw in some patterns, feel free, just keep the patterns subtle.

Ties & Pocket Squares

You’ll need these to complete your suits. They’re also the best place to add bold colours and patterns. 

Belts

I recommend having at least two belts. A woven fibre belt for street clothes and a leather one for casual and semi-formal. Your belt should match your shoes, so you may need more right there. You’ll also need more belts if neither of those work with some of the outfits in your wardrobe. 

Jeans

Blue jeans only. A man should only wear other colours of denim if he has a very good reason. The exact style and fit is a personal choice but every man should stay away from skinny jeans. 

Sweaters

I mean a variety of sweaters, from sweatshirts to wool crew necks. Every outfit you have should have a sweater to go with it.

T-Shirts

You’ll need t-shirts for cases where comfort should trump style. They can also be incorporated into casual outfits in some very expressive ways. 

Shorts

Most men don’t need many shorts, since they’re inherently so extremely casual. Whatever shorts you have should be approximately knee length and fairly loose.

Blazers

Every man should have at least one blazer. A classic navy blue is a good choice, but there are so many options that every man can have a blazer that perfectly suits. 

Sport Coats

In the same vein, every man should have some sport coats. A sport coat or two can be combined with virtually any outfit to create something classy but expressive. 

Trousers

In addition to jeans, shorts, and suit pants, every man needs some nice trousers. Jeans and shorts are often inappropriate and suit pants should only be worn with their matching jackets so they wear evenly. 

Coats

For obvious reasons, every man needs coats. After all, you don’t want to freeze to death, I hope. Exactly what coats you need depend on where you live but they should include coats to go with every outfit and all weather conditions. 

Shoes

Unless you never go outside, you need some shoes. If actually never go outside, start. You’ll want at least a pair of oxfords or derbies, a pair of canvas sneakers, a pair of athletic shoes, a pair of work boots, and a pair of hiking boots, in colours that match your belts and coordinate with your pants. It’s also a good idea to have sandals and some more unique dress shoes,like Chelsea boots. 

Hats

I’ve said it before, every man should wear a hat. For that you need to own some. Your want at least one casual hat, one informal hat, and one hat to go with your street clothes. You can’t have too many hats though so go nuts, just be sure to wear the appropriately. 

Sporting Attire

Since every man should be ready to play sports, he needs to have at least one appropriate outfit in his wardrobe. You’ll also want to have the traditional attire for any sport you play frequently and the uniforms for any organised team sports you play.

Sunglasses

You’ll likely want to have two pairs of sunglasses. For practical reasons, like sports, you’ll want to have some more rugged sunglasses but you’ll want some nicer ones too. Your standard sunglasses should be something with metal frames and black or mirrored lenses, like classic aviators. 

Traditional Attire

If you’re closely associated with a culture that has traditional clothing, like Scottish kilts or Japanese yukatas, you need to be sure you have that too.

Get When You Can

There are some things that you really should have in your wardrobe but you’ll almost certainly have time to shop for when you need them. 

Tuxedo

The classic tuxedo is the standard of evening semi-formal attire. It consists of black pants with a satin stripe on the outseams, a matching jacket with satin lapel facings, and a black bow tie and waistcoat.

Stroller

If you don’t know what a stroller is, it’s the daytime equivalent of a tuxedo. It includes a black suit jacket, grey trousers (usually striped or checked), and a four in hand tie and waistcoat (usually grey, black, or buff in colour).

Evening Dress

No, I don’t mean an actual dress. Evening dress typically refers to men’s evening formalwear. It’s identical to a tuxedo but with a tailcoat, and white waistcoat and bow tie. 

Morning Dress

Again, the daytime formal standard is very similar to its semi-formal equivalent. The only common difference this time is the use of a tailcoat. It also has more acceptable variation. 

More Hats

Naturally, when you have more outfits you may need more hats to go with them. For formal and semi-formal you’ll likely want to go with a bowler, homburg, and top hat. 

More Shoes

Again, adding outfits may necessitate adding more shoes to your wardrobe as well.


That’s my list of men’s fashion staples. I didn’t mention anything about uniforms because you either need them immediately or not at all. If you have anything to add to this list, feel free to add it in the comments.

For The Ladies: Dressing Up


Editor’s note: As an etiquette guide, this article is based on opinion. It’s goal is to create a standard.

I’ve written about how a lady should dress when she’s concerned about men’s opinions and dress formality but never both at once, so here it is. Today, I bring any interested ladies some guidance for dressing to meet the codes of dress formality.

Fit

Here’s one place where men’s and ladies’ dress codes work differently. The wider variety of options means very similar outfits can be different levels of formality. Fit is the main distinction here. Tighter tops and looser skirts are more formal than looser tops and tighter skirts, although the tightest should be reserved for younger ladies. The correct fit for pants and shorts is entirely based on style. 

Practical Attire

In the world of practical attire, form follows function. The priority is for your clothes to be suitable for your activities, no matter what you look like. This is where all athletic attire needs to stay. It’s also a good place for shorts to stay. 

Street Clothes

Street clothes are what you wear in the absolute most casual situations, like running errands. They’re also the most formal attire where shorts, sweatshirts, and t-shirts and all forms of tanks as top layers, are appropriate. 

Casual

When you get into casual then aesthetics take priority. This is also the point where it becomes important to pay attention to hair and makeup. Casual’s also the limit for pants. You can get a pretty good smart casual outfit with pants but you can’t get more formal than that. It’s also where you should leave the denim skirts and the like. 

Informal

Informal is where men would be wearing suits so it’s most appropriate for ladies to dress similarly, but with skirts and no ties. Simple dresses are also quite appropriate, as are dresses that are more elaborate but in a more trendy way.

Once again, there’s something that shouldn’t pass this level. This time it’s separate skirts and tops. If you’re trying to go beyond informal then you need to wear a dress.

Semi-Formal & Formal

Just like for men, semi-formal and formal attire for ladies is more uniform, but for ladies the difference between daytime and evening is more pronounced. The best thing for daytime semi-formal is a cocktail dress with about a knee length skirt. For evening semi-formal and daytime formal, an ankle length evening gown is best, and for the evening you should transition to a floor length ball gown. If you’re wondering what the difference is, go back to the section on fit and that’s a simple version. Just remember that added accents and better materials make a dress more formal. 
Another difference between men’s and ladies’ formalwear is that ladies should wear more elaborate attire to dress more formally. It’s also a good idea to wear gloves, even indoors, with more formal attire but you can put together a nice semi-formal or daytime formal outfit with them. 

Jewellery & Accessories

For the most part less is more when it comes to accessories, but it’s not quite that simple. When you want to dress more formal you should go a little bit further with jewellery than you normally would. Also, you want to reserve the elaborate and rough material purses should be reserved for your more casual outfits, and you may want to consider leaving your everyday carry up to your man for more formal occasions. 

Blazers, Suits, and Sport Coats

Confused man in a blue suit.
Many men these days don’t know the difference between suits, sport coats, and blazers. Maybe that’s partly because so many insist on always dressing down now. These are three distinct garments, each with their own place in your wardrobe.

Sport Coats

Sport coats are the most casual, and the only one that should ever be worn with jeans or t-shirts. They also should only be worn with a tie if they’re also paired with a v-neck sweater or sweater vest. 

Sport coats are usually less structured and made of rougher fabrics than their more formal cousins, and can be worn in a wider variety of colours and patterns. One style that’s unique to sport coats is the elbow patch that are seen on so many stereotypical depictions of university professors. 

Blazers

Blazers straddle the line between casual and informal. Worn with a tie and pocket square, they make for serviceable informal attire and otherwise they make a smart base for a casual outfit. Blazers should always be worn with dress shirts and mismatched trousers. 

Blazers are very similar to suit jackets but are less structured and have decorative buttons. On suits and sport coats, the buttons are designed to blend in but on blazers they’re meant to stand out, often being made of precious metals or mother of pearl. Metal blazer buttons are a great place to wear a personally meaningful insignia, like a personal or family coat of arms or the insignia of your military branch. 

Suits

The defining feature of a suit is that it’s worn with matching pants. Suits are simple, structured, and made with finer fabrics in fewer colours and patterns. The only pattern a suit should ever have is pinstripe and the classic colours are black, and dark blue and grey. Brown is also acceptable, and you should only wear a suit of any other colour if it has a rank on it. 


There you have the basic differences between suit, blazers, and sport coats. In the future I’ll bring you more articles about the specifics. 

Hats: For Gentlemen and Ladies

Older gentleman reading World War Two newspaper on the bus.
Editor’s note: As an etiquette guide, this article is based on opinion. It’s goal is to create a standard.

When we look at the manliest men in history, many of them wore hats. Teddy Roosevelt, Wyatt Earp, and Frank Sinatra all wore hats frequently. Why then have hats fallen out of favour? I can’t give you an answer because there’s no good reason for it. So let’s put our hats back on and exude the class the fashion world has been trying to extinguish and start wearing outfits that look well thought out and finished. 

For Gentlemen

It’s not always appropriate for a gentleman to wear a hat. He must never wear one when in an office, home, or church, when eating a meal, or for prayer. When coming or going, or in any other indoor space, it’s at his discretion. A gentleman can also use his hat in greeting, but I’ll talk about that in other article. Most importantly, a man should always wear a hat if it’s appropriate. 

Like all men’s fashion, subtlety rules in hats. A man’s hat should be mostly neutral colours. A colourful accent piece is fine so long as it doesn’t clash with the rest of his outfit. More colourful and elaborate hats should be kept to casual outfits, where the distinction between men’s and ladies’ hats begins to blur. 

Some good hats for a gentleman to have in his wardrobe are fedoras, homburgs, top hats, bowlers, and flat caps or anything along those lines. Trilbys have become associated with some pretty unmanly boys and and classless women, so they’re best avoided. 

For Ladies

Ladies’ hats can be far more flamboyant than men’s, just don’t start looking like the Chiquita Banana lady. When it comes to colour, a lady’s hat should at least complement, if not, match the dominant colour in her outfit. Pill box hats and sun hats are good go tos, although sun hats are fairly casual. Fascinators, although not technically hats, are also a great option to go with more formal outfits. Unlike gentlemen, ladies generally only remove large hats when coming indoors, and can wear their hat all day, but wearing a more arranged hairstyle in place of a hat is also acceptable. 

For Everyone

When we get into casual hats it becomes acceptable for men and ladies to wear the same hats. Large or flamboyant hats should be reserved for ladies. Baseball caps are very popular casual hats but they should actually be reserved for athletic contexts. Flat caps should be reserved for men and what’s formal for one gender is not casual for the other. Western hats should be reserved for western themed events and activities like ranching and horseback riding, unless you live somewhere like Texas, Arizona, or Alberta. One thing that’s crucial to remember, any branding beyond a maker’s mark expresses a strong association or affinity, so don’t wear any logo simply because it’s fashionable.

Cultural & Uniform Headdress 

If you come from a culture with a strong association with a specific style of headwear then go ahead and wear it in accordance with its traditional etiquette, even if it conflicts with typical etiquette. If you’re authorised to wear a uniform that includes headdress, then do it in accordance with regulations, but never wear obviously uniform headwear if you shouldn’t wear the whole uniform. 

My Hats

You may be wondering what hats I wear, and when I wear what. So, here’s what I have and what I plan to get. 

What I Have

US Army surplus camouflage patrol cap (street clothes)

Charcoal grey flat cap (casual)

Black fedora (informal)

What I Want

Grey homburg (evening semi-formal)

Black bowler (daytime semi-formal)

Black top hat (formal)

Grey fedora (casual)

Royal Canadian Navy uniform headdress

Black and brown cowboy hats (practical attire, specifically riding)

For the Ladies: A Guide to Dressing to Please a Man

A woman in a blue dress and white hat sitting on the grass.

Quite possibly the most beautiful casual outfit a lady can wear.


Editor’s note: As an etiquette guide, this article is based on opinion. It’s goal is to create a standard.

I think I should start with a little disclaimer. I’m not advocating that women dress based exclusively on the opinions of men, or even that it should always be a factor. I’m offering guidance to help overcome modern women’s tendency to dress like their trying to be men or “courtesans,” and instead can look both attractive and respectable. 

Also, I’m not going to say much about practicality or the bedroom. Practicality should trump all. It’s better to wear pants and protect your legs than to wear a skirt and appear feminine. When you’re in the intimacy of the boudoir it’s all between you and your man, nobody else’s opinions matter. 

Femininity & Modesty

The ultimate guiding principle in ladies’ fashion should always be femininity. No matter what the situation a lady should always wear the most feminine outfit that’s both suitable and available, and she must never wear men’s clothes in public. 

Modesty can be thought of as the sartorial equivalent of humility. Just like humility is the middle ground between arrogance and self-loathing, modesty in ladies’ fashion is the middle ground between looking like a “lady of the evening” and looking like a prude. The goal is to accentuate your natural beauty while still looking like you have more to offer. Sometimes this can be a fine line, so tread lightly. 

Pants

Yes, pants deserve their own section. They represent the single largest change in ladies’ fashion over the last century. In the Victorian era women were expected to exclude themselves from certain activities because they would’ve required pants. Now, pants are standard for many women. The right norm falls somewhere in between. 

Pants aren’t very feminine, just short of the line into masculine.  On the flip side there aren’t any more practical alternatives. For that reason, ladies’ pants are inherently casual. Nice enough pants as part of a nice enough outfit can be equivalent to a man wearing khakis and a blazer but the equivalent of a suit requires a skirt or dress. 

Showing Some Skin

When it comes to how much skin a lady should show, less is more. Unless you’re Muslim and living in the Middle East, don’t go full shariah. If you’re thinking talking about what the minimum amount of skin to show is stupid then we’re probably on the same page. As long as you feel comfortable and unlikely to draw unwanted attention, you’re probably showing the right amount of skin. 

It gets a little more complicated when it comes to skirts. There are two things to consider; your age and the formality of the situation. As you get older and the situation gets more formal, your skirt should get longer. Knee length is never too long and only too short in the most formal settings.

Shorts

Shorts are athletic and outdoorsy, so keep them for those situations. Shorts are really only a good idea if wearing a skirt would feel weird and pants would be uncomfortable. 

Makeup & Jewelry

This is another less is more situation. Wear a few pieces of jewelry but don’t get to the point where you end up looking like a walking pincushion. As for makeup, the point is to accentuate your own natural beauty so if you do it right nobody can tell until they see you without it. 

Hair

Here’s where you get to go nuts. There’s a plethora of attractive hairstyles for ladies. Going longer is generally preferred. Most short hairstyles are sorely lacking in femininity, or severely age you. When you’re doing your hair in the morning, remember that simple hairstyles are casual and elaborate hairstyles are formal. Personally, I like a woman’s hair to be curly and slightly longer than shoulder length, or perhaps down to the middle of her back. 

Along with hair it’s worth mentioning that a hat or fascinator is never a bad idea.

Your Most Important Accessory 

Time for some guessing. What’s your most important accessory? Your purse. Your shoes. Your glasses. Yes, I love a pretty bespectacled face but your most important accessory is your smile. I’m not saying you always have to look happy no matter how you feel. In fact, if a man loves you he’ll want to be there for you in the hard times. I’m saying the most important part of looking attractive is to carry yourself with confidence and exude charm and caring. There’s no better way to show this than a cute smile.