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. 

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.