“There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes.”

Hot weather style sounds like an oxymoron. That magical transition time between spring and summer flies by, and we’re stuck in the middle of a hot and humid summer with as little clothes on as we can legally get away with.

Imagine being out enjoying the warm weather, cold beer in hand, looking absolutely amazing in more than a tank top and shorts.

And all without completely melting into a pool of your own sweat!

I’ve put together this Essential Guide to Summer Style to show you just that!

In this guide, you’ll learn:

  • How wearing less clothes can make you feel hotter!
  • A simple trick I teach my styling clients on how to wear more color and pattern (especially if they don’t really wear color and pattern!)
  • My 13 MUST HAVE Essentials for your summer Wardrobe
  • And a whole lot more!

WANT TO SAVE THIS GUIDE TO READ LATER?

cover

A heads up: This guide is quite massive! I’ve tapped some of my expert friends in fashion to create the best guide for this summer. If you don’t have time to read it all right now, don’t worry. You can download a free, beautiful PDF version of this guide for later.

Just tell me where to send it by entering your name and e-mail below!

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TABLE OF CONTENTS


If you’re reading it on the site, you can use this table of contents to skip to any part of the guide:

Part 1: The Science of Staying Cool
Part 2: Your Hot Weather Style Gameplan: Build The Essential Summer Wardrobe
Part 3: From the Boardroom to the Beach: 3 Looks to Get You Inspired
Part 4: The Final 10%
Part 5: Speedround! Common Hot Weather Problems (And How To Fix Them)

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PART1

HOW WEARING LESS CLOTHES CAN MAKE YOU FEEL HOTTER

What if I told you wearing a tank top and shorts can actually make you feel hotter?

But it’s true.

When it comes to clothes, your body gets hot in two ways:

  1. Air getting trapped – Fabrics like wool and cashmere are great in the winter because their fibers create little pockets that trap air. Those little air molecules are heated by your body, keeping your warm. In the warmer months, you want exact opposite to happen. You want air flowing freely away from you.
  2. Direct exposure to sun – This one is fairly simple. Sun hits directly onto your skin, your skin gets hot. Get some shade, you cool down.

So, how can we combat the heat and give ourselves some more options than tank tops and shorts?

AN EXPERT CHIMES IN:
ABE BURMEISTER OF OUTLIER

ABE BURMEISTER

Abe Burmeister is the founder and designer of Outlier. Frustrated with his pants getting stained and ruined due to his daily bike rides to work, Abe designed himself a pair of pants in a grease and stain proof fabric. Thus, the OG Pants, and Outlier was born. Since then, Abe and Outlier have experimented with innovative fabrics, combining them with classic designs to create daily performance clothes built to last a lifetime. 

OPENNESS IS KEY

IRISH LINEN SHIRT: J.CREW, $79

“It’s not about how light your clothes are, it’s about how open they are. The more airflow the better. Linen and its Asian cousin ramie are great for this because they are quite stiff, allowing for really open fabric structures. We tested a ramie jersey fabric last summer that was absolutely amazing in hot humid conditions. We don’t really talk about upcoming releases but we be nuts if we didn’t want to bring that stuff back (even if it is crazy expensive!)”

WICK WICK WICK

“Sweating is how your body cools off, so any fabric that helps wick moisture away from you will cool you off. This can happen by moving moisture along the fiber surface, or by absorbing it into the fibers core. Linen and ramie win again because they do both for a maximum cooling effect in high humidity. Wool actually does surprisingly well here too because it has the ability to absorb moisture while staying dry to the touch, it can actually suck humidity out of the air around you. If you are super active in the humidity though, a wicking polyester is sometimes the best bet as they wick on the surface but don’t absorb, staying dry and lightweight.”

SUNBLOCKING

“Ramie and linen have one huge weakness, the Sun. The same structure that gives them great airflow also lets the UV rays right in. For UV protection, merino is king. Sheep stay out in the sun 365 days a year with no problems because their wool is a natural UV blocker. Our Ultrafine Merino T-Shirts clock in at UPF 50+ for full on protection. That’s often overkill though, and in the summer we often reach for our lighter weight Runweight Merino T-Shirts. They use a specially commissioned intimate blend of 17.5 micron merino, and a wicking thermobuffering polyester to create a lightweight, quick drying and odor resistant fabric that lets you stay in the sun 25 times longer than usual.”

***

Ok.

So we got a quick science lesson.

Let’s put this into real world terms so you can look good without resorting to a tank top and some shorts everyday.

Your gameplan this summer:

KEEP THE AIR FLOWING
Opt for clothes in breathable fabrics like Abe mentioned. Linen is a hot weather staple, and you’ll find a lot of men’s clothing for the warmer seasons in linen. Linen can be stiff, so you’ll also find it blended with fabrics like cotton or silk to soften it up.

Other options include: lighter cottons, ramie and my personal favorite, cupro. Cupro is a silk like fabric made from the throwaway parts of the cotton plant. It’s extremely breathable and stays relatively cool to the touch.

RELAXED BUTTON-UP, ROLLED UP SLEEVES (IMAGE VIA THE SARTORIALIST)

GO A BIT LOOSER
The tighter your clothes are, the hotter you’re going to get and feel. This goes back to airflow.

Summer is one of the few times where it’s ok to loosen up a bit. You don’t have to go full baggy, just relax about your clothes fitting perfectly. Go for roomier cuts, or even size up. Give your skin some room to breathe – get a looser t-shirt, dress shirt (See photo, right), pants and shorts.

Think about how men in hot Middle Eastern countries dress: It’s usually loose, flowing clothes and robes in breathable, light fabrics. 

COVER UP TO AVOID DIRECT EXPOSURE TO THE SUN
Sun directly hitting your skin can make you feel hotter, so covering up will usually do the trick. Just remember that open fabrics can still let in UV rays, so opt for fabrics with good UV protection or put on a layer of sunblock.

STOCK UP ON SUMMER APPROPRIATE CLOTHES
Here at The Essential Man, I focus a lot of building an essential wardrobe of classic pieces. This gives you a solid, timeless style and extremely versatile wardrobe.

However, you can’t get around the fact that some fall/winter pieces in your closet can’t make the transition into the middle of summer. 16oz raw denim in the middle of summer? It ain’t happening.

When it comes to wardrobes, it makes sense to follow the concepts of an essential wardrobe, but adjust the pieces to suit hotter and humid weather.

Below, I’ve picked my 13 Essentials for summer wardrobes. But before I share them with you, one more thing…

Red-pants-and-red-shoes-pitti-uomo-gq-tommy-ton
PHOTO BY TOMMY TON FOR GQ

ADD COLOR AND PATTERN STRATEGICALLY
Summer is one of the few times where you can get a pass for wearing bright colors and wild patterns, especially if you aren’t the type of guy that normally wears that stuff. 

For the most day-to-day versatility, I still recommend sticking to neutral colors like navy, white, khaki, olive. These color combinations mix easily with one another (really, you can pull clothes at random and they will match and work.) 

Later on in this guide, I’ll show you how to strategically add more color and pattern to your summer look without overdoing it.

13 ESSENTIALS YOU NEED IN YOUR SUMMER WARDROBE

THE UNLINED SUIT

Marine Blue 1/4th Lined Linen Suit: Articles of Style, $1095

If you find yourself in a suit in July, whether it’s due to occupation or by preference, you shouldn’t be going at it in your Fall suit.

TANNER GUZY

Tanner Guzy, writer of Masculine Style chimes in:

“The best thing a suited man can do is embrace breathable fabrics – either those in made in specific materials like linen and cotton or open, breathable weaves like hopsack and basketweaves – and opt for jackets that have minimal structure and lining. It does no good to have a lightweight jacket out of a material like seersucker if a man’s body heat is still trapped inside by the jacket’s lining.”

The Recommendation: I’m a fan of linen and linen blend suits. Make sure they’re no more than 1/4th lined. 1/4th lining will give it a bit more structure and body, while an unlined suit will be a bit more relaxed and casual feeling. Articles of Style, an amazing classic menswear style blog recently stepped out with their own classic menswear line, and it’s beautiful. I highly recommend you checking them out if you’re in the market for a summer weight suit.

THE UNSTRUCTURED BLAZER

LUDLOW SUMMERWEIGHT COTTON-LINEN BLAZER: J.CREW, $168

There aren’t many jacket options when it comes to summer that seem appropriate. Thankfully, a proper summer weight unstructured blazer can become your go-to jacket of all trades.

To sum it up – it’s extremely versatile, can be styled with a collared shirt for more formal occasions, but won’t look out of place if you decide to throw it over a t-shirt or polo shirt.

My tip? Think of it like a casual jacket that you can dress up, rather than a suit jacket you can dress down.

The Recommendation: I’ve written about the unstructured blazer before, specifically in navy. I still recommend navy as your first choice. This season, you’ve got a lot of great options. J.crew’s summer weight ludlow blazer is a great place to start.

A lighter color like brown or khaki is a great second option. Once you have these in your arsenal, don’t be afraid to try out some brighter colors and patterns. 

My personal favorite details I look out for in an unstructured blazer: unlined, breathable fabric such as linen, and patch pockets, which are more casual looking and a lot easier to use than flap pockets.

OTHER GREAT OPTIONS

THE LINEN SHIRT

jcrewirishlinenshirt
IRISH LINEN SHIRT: J.CREW, $79

Even the standard cotton button-up can be too much in the middle of summer. When it comes to a proper summerweight linen button-up, it’s hard to beat the variety offered by J.Crew.

Stock up on all your daily standards, the white oxford and the pale blue stripe. Then venture and try a few summer colors out like sunwashed purple. And while you can pick up a light summerweight chambray shirt (one of my favorite Essentials), J.Crew’s Délavé irish linen shirt in amalfi blue is a beautiful alternative. You can go short sleeved if you want, I prefer to just roll them up.

OTHER GREAT OPTIONS

THE COOLING UNDERWEAR

EX-OFFICIO GIVE-N-GO BOXERS, $25

I’m a notoriously light packer, and Ex-Officio Give-n-Go boxer briefs were my savior during a month long trip to Europe.

I got first turned onto these by Tim Ferriss. Ex-Officio boxers are made of diamond weave nylon/spandex treated with Aegis micro shield. What does these mean? They’re extremely breathable, keep your goods cool, and repel odors.

Originally designed for campers, they wash and dry extremely quick (Wash em while you’re showering or in the sink, and they’ll hang dry in a couple of hours).

While Ex-Officio likes to say you can survive with 1, maybe 2 pairs, I found 3 was the perfect number for a minimalist packer. For non-travelers, you really can’t have too many.

THE LINEN T-SHIRT

COTTON-LINEN T-SHIRT: JAMES PERSE, $95

A t-shirt for almost $100? Yes! Before you call me crazy, hear me out.

Linen isn’t the cheapest of fabrics out there to use, but as you can see throughout this guide, it’s is extremely useful in the heat.

The Recommendation: Don’t think of this as an expensive white t-shirt. Think of it as a performance white t-shirt, like that expensive Nike running gear you got, except this is for your day to day life.

Sure, you can get away with a thinner cotton t-shirt, but I recommend you road test linen t-shirt like this one from James Perse before you make up your mind. 

THE SUEDE SHOE

SUEDE OXFORD SHOES: ALLEN EDMONDS, $295

Suede is a great leather alternative as the weather gets warmer. Why? Summer fabrics and colors get brighter and fabrics get softer, more casual looking. Suede plays perfectly with it. 

The Recommendation: Any lace up, like an oxford or derby, will be extremely versatile. Wear it to work with a suit, or dress it down in a shorts with no-show socks. A slip on loafer is another great option for something a bit more casual. 

When it comes to color, a natural camel suede or light brown is what I recommend as a first option. After that, a blue suede gives you a lot of style cred, like the pair below by Want Les Essential. Just be careful not to get them wet during those summer downpours. Treat it with a suede water repellent spray, like this one from ReviveX.

OTHER GREAT OPTIONS

THE BREATHABLE SNEAKER

AIR FORCE 1 FLYKNIT: NIKE, $160

I’ve never been a street sandal guy. I save that for the beach, chilling around a hotel, or when I’m running downstairs to take out the trash.

A open fabric shoe and perforated leather, like the Jack Purcell’s below, were the old go-to summer sneaker. Now, thanks to innovations in construction, we’ve got the perfect option for summer, the knit sneaker. Extremely light and breathable, you can find all the classic styles like Stan Smith, Superstars and Air Force 1 in knit variations.

The Recommendation: White is definitely the most versatile color. If you prefer a bit more color,  Nike’s flyknit line has a ton of options in classic styles. 

OTHER GREAT OPTIONS

THE LIGHTWEIGHT DENIM

5 OZ FEATHERWEIGHT DENIM: NAKED AND FAMOUS, $155

Your standard denim weight hovers around 14oz. In the middle of summer, it’s not the smartest choice when it comes to pants.

But for those that aren’t a huge fan of chinos or miss their denim blues, you’re in luck. Brands like Bonobos and Naked and Famous have lightweight denim specifically for warmer months. Naked and Famous’ Featherweight denim is possibly the lightest pair on the market, clocking in at 5oz (about the same weight as an iPhone 6).

Remember what Abe of Outlier said, it’s not about how light the fabric is, it’s about how open the weave is. While these light denim options are much better than your standards, they can still feel a lot warmer because denim, by nature, is a pretty tight weave. A great way to combat this is going a bit looser on your fit.

The Recommendation: Naked and Famous is an ideal all around versatile option because of it’s weight and raw indigo color. United Stock Dry Good’s slightly heavier 9oz comes in black for those that aren’t willing to give up their dark palette.

For something lighter, Bonobos’ summer weight denim easily has the most variety of washes.

OTHER GREAT OPTIONS

THE SUMMERWEIGHT CHINOS

LIGHTWEIGHT CHINO: J.CREW, $75

The chino is the perfect middleground, versatile pant. It can go places jeans can’t, like dressed up with a sportscoat, oxford shirt and dress shoes for a formal business meetings. But it’s easy to dress down. Rock it with a t-shirt and sneakers, it’s not going to look out of place.

Summer chinos, like all the other items on our list, will be a lighter weight fabric version of what you’re used to in the fall.

The Recommendation: I always recommend for the first pair you get, go with a neutral color like khaki, navy or grey. It’ll give you the most versatility. After that, it’s free reign. Places like Bonobos and J.Crew have an army of colors for spring summer for you to choose from. 

OTHER GREAT OPTIONS

THE LOUNGE PANT

LINEN & TENCEL PANTS: OUTERKNOWN, $175
LINEN & TENCEL PANTS: OUTERKNOWN, $175

I first learned about the lounge style pants while working at Robert Geller, one of the few designers who really pioneered it.

The lounge pant is everything you love about the whole “athleisure” trend, without everything you hate. (Mostly, the “I just left the gym but not really” look).

It’s a relaxed pants with casual details like cuffs and drawstring, but made in nicer fabrics like linen or cotton rather than sweatpants jersey. This is my favorite pant on the list, as they’re extremely comfortable and, because of their slightly more formal fabrics, are a lot more versatile than tailored sweatpants. Lounge pants can easily take the place of any outfit you have that would call for chinos.

The Recommendation: Robert loves using japanese made tencel, linens, and cupro, a silk-like fabric made from the throwaway parts of a cotton plant. Cupro is silky and extremely cool. Look for lounge pants in these fabrics.

OTHER GREAT OPTIONS

THE PERFECT SHORTS

LINEN SHORTS: POLO RALPH LAUREN, $100

Shorts are a no brainer when it comes to hot weather style. Two ways to go wrong? Picking the wrong fabric and buying shorts that are too long. Linens are a nice option, and can look extra casual with its wrinkles. For a crisper look, opt for a chino cotton, like these pair from J.Crew.

The Recommendation: The trickiest part for most guys is getting the length right. What length you should get depends on your height, so you want to go by where the shorts hit.

The sweet spot is 1″-3″ above your knees. Any shorter will get into brief territory. Anything past your knees is too long and start to look like shrunken pants.

And while you can get away with wearing shorts that hit exactly on your knees, it’s a fine line. Better to go a bit shorter and make them look perfect.

OTHER GREAT OPTIONS

PANAMA HAT

WOVEN SISAL PANAMA HAT: JUNYA WATANABE, $410

Abe of Outlier chimes in again:

“Sunblocks are a greasy pain in the ass made out of sketchy chemicals. A big hat, light rash guard and quality beach umbrella are the critical trio for blocking the sun without sunblock.”

When it comes to my choice – nothing beats a classic proper Panama hat. Breathable so your head doesn’t become a swamp, light and made of straw to signal summer vacation mode. It looks perfect with a summer suit and suede derbys, or a polo, rolled up chinos with your feet propped up, drink in hand. Hey, if it’s good enough for the original Bond, it’s good enough for me.

The Recommendation: Straw/natural with a black band is the classic style. A wide, flat brim is ideal for shading your face. Going on vacation? Look for a Panama hat that can be folded and be rolled. (Video: How to fold a Panama hat)

OTHER GREAT OPTIONS

THE LOGOLESS POLO

LINEN POLO: NN07, $125

The polo shirt has gone through a bit of a revival lately (thanks in part to great examples like Mr. Bond).

They’re the perfect middle ground between a button-up shirt and a t-shirt. You can wear it solo, or throw it under a suit jacket and it’ll still be appropriate. For the summer months, go with lighter fabrics like linen, linen blends (cotton or silk), or lighter cotton piques. 

The Recommendation: A light fabric polo in navy is a great place to start, like this linen polo from NN07. White polos just never looked right to me, that color is better saved for a classic t-shirt. Brands tend to go all out when it comes to color selection, so don’t be afraid to try out brighter colors and textures. Just make sure you go logoless, as alligators and polo players give everyone flashbacks of college bros with popped collars.

OTHER GREAT OPTIONS

***

Let’s take the Essential Summer Wardrobe and show you the true versatility of these pieces.

Here are 3 solid looks for 3 situations to give you a bit of summer sartorial inspiration.

LOOK 1: GET SMART AT WORK

NAVY BLAZER: GANT RUGGER, $475 | AMALFI BLUE IRISH LINEN SHIRT: J.CREW, $79 | LIGHTWEIGHT CHINO: J.CREW, $75 | POCKET SQUARE: J.CREW, $39 | SAND INVISIBLE COTTON SOCKS: FALKE, $15 | KENTON SUEDE BUCKS: J.CREW, $198 | KNIT TIE: J.CREW, $69

Smart casual is all about adapting to the situation. And there’s no better time to flex some smart dressing muscle than doing business in hot weather. If your workplace is a little more relaxed, you can get away with going with a separates look. (If not, just throw on your full summer linen suit and call it a day)

Combine an unstructured, breathable sports coat with a pair of chinos, throw in the suede derbys and you’re most of the way their. A lightweight oxford shirt is a simple choice, for a bit more casualness go for the almafi blue linen shirt, which gives off chambray vibes. Finally, a knit tie is the perfect way to play up the airyness of summer dressing.

LOOK 2: TAKE YOUR LUNCH OUTSIDE

PANAMA HAT: JUNYA WATANABE, $410 | THIN STRIPE BLUE LINEN SHIRT: J.CREW, $79 | COTTON LINEN T-SHIRT: JAMES PERSE, $95 | LINEN & TENCEL PANTS: OUTERKNOWN, $175 | SUNGLASSES: RAY-BAN, $150 | INVISIBLE SOCKS: FALKE, $24 | COTTON HANDKERCHIEFS: DEREK ROSE, $45 | PRIMKNIT ORIGINAL SUPERSTARS: ADIDAS, $110

Whether it’s on a grassy hill or a table set on the sidewalk in front of a café, taking your lunch outside is the perfect opportunity to enjoy the sun and people watch.

Swap out the easy choice of chinos for something a bit more relaxed, like these lounge pants from Outerknown. Depending on the heat levels, take or leave the white undershirt. Make sure you do undo a button or two of your linen dress shirt and roll-up your sleeves, it’s that time of year. This look can easily be dressed up a bit with a pair of suede derbys or loafers. (Me, I’d personally pick a white knit sneaker.). Top it off with a panama hat, a pair of sunglasses, and a cold drink for the perfect afternoon.

LOOK 3: POOLSIDE DRINKS

PALM PRINT SHIRT: SATURDAYS NYC, $115 | COTTON LINEN T-SHIRT: JAMES PERSE, $95 | OLIVE EVAN SHORTS: SATURDAYS NYC, $125 | SUNGLASSES: WARBY PARKER, $95 | INVISIBLE SOCKS: FALKE, $24 | PERFORATED JACK PURCELL LEATHER SNEAKERS: CONVERSE, $125
JIAN DELEON

“Summer style sucks for dudes.” Says Jian DeLeon, a style writer who’s contributed to places such as GQ, Complex, and New York Magazine.

“Especially guys who have an average build and a skinny fat body like me. Clothes are a way to sort of armor up and provide a form of wearable confidence and expression. Warm weather isn’t conducive to that since it’s not layer friendly. On sweltering days I opt for a short sleeve shirt worn open over a white tee, especially in loud prints. Leonardo DiCaprio in Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet is sort of the aspiration with that look.”

Leo in Romeo + Juliet is a great inspiration for some warm summer night drinking at a hotel pool. Tropical and Hawaiian shirts and prints are really big this summer, and are a great opportunity to have fun with your look.

Find trying out color and prints a bit challenging?

I got you covered.

HOW TO WEAR MORE COLOR AND PATTERN
(EVEN IF YOU DON’T REALLY WEAR COLOR AND PATTERN)

BOBBY CANNAVALE’S PHOTOSHOOT IN CUBA CAPTURES EVERYTHING I LOVE ABOUT COLORFUL SUMMER STYLE (PHOTOS VIA GQ)

One can’t really truly embrace warm weather style without adding more color and pattern to his look. For a lot of guys this can be a challenge, especially if you’re not really the type that sports bright colors and crazy tropical patterns.

How do you do it without looking stupid?

It’s not as tricky as it seems.

I created something for my clients that I call “The Swap Trick”. And it’s a perfect way to start wearing more color and pattern without going overboard or feeling like you look stupid.

It’s simple.

  1. Start with a solid neutral colored outfit.
  2. Pick one thing in that outfit, say the shirt, and swap it out for a more colorful or patterned version of that shirt.

For example:

 

Swap-trick-1

I’ll start with an easy outfit: linen oxford shirt, navy lounge pants, sunglasses, white sneakers. The color palette,while perfectly fine, feels a little boring and safe. So let’s swap out the shirt for something a little more colorful. We can go two ways, a brighter color, or a pattern/print.

Even though the choice of a light blue shirt isn’t so crazy, you can already see it feels a lot more colorful than the outfit we started with. With the print, it’s even better and more in the spirit of summer.

But notice how one simple swap can change the entire mood of the outfit! This is really the key to starting to wear more color. You don’t have to wear a lot to brighten up your look.

As a starting recommendation, I always advise to start with just one swap to get used to wearing a new color or pattern.

Swap-tech-2

When you get more comfortable with wearing some color and patterns, take it a step further.

Each time, swap out one more item in your look for something a bit brighter and colorful. The great thing is, if you feel like you went overboard, you can always pull it back a level or two and still have a great outfit.

Want some more advice on wearing color? Check out this guest post I wrote over on Style Girlfriend about how to wear tricky colors.

THE GRAPHIC TEE GROWS UP

How do you pull off a graphic tee without looking like you’re 19?

Easy, skip over cartoon characters, ironic pop references and crude puns. Brands like Saturdays NYC (From top left: Shirt #2, #4 and #5) churn out minimalist graphic tees for the older guy with refined taste.

When it comes to the prints, letters and words with bold type design (Shirt #2 and #4) are a great place to start, as is simple shapes (Shirt #1 & #5). Finally, photo tees are a great option if you’re looking for a graphic tee with a bit more color.

What should you wear it with? Use The Swap Trick you just learned to swap a graphic tee in place of any look that calls for a t-shirt.

***

So you got the big stuff down, it’s time to fine tune things.

HOW TO NOT GET SKIN CANCER

FACIAL FUEL UV GUARD SPF 50+: KIEHLS, $38
FACIAL FUEL UV GUARD SPF 50+: KIEHLS, $38

Did you know that an SPF 15 sunscreen blocks out 93% of UVB rays (UVB radiation is a major factor in skin cancer), while SPF 30 gives you just 4% more protection? So, should we even bother with higher SPF sunscreens?

Dr. Steven Q. Wang, MD
Dr. Steven Q. Wang, MD

“Sunscreens with a higher SPF should offer more protection from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which is linked to the vast majority of skin cancers, as well as premature skin aging and eye damage. But the answer is not that simple. Higher SPF values offer some safety margin, since consumers generally do not apply enough sunscreen.” Says Dr. Steven Q. Wang, a board certified dermatologist and Head of the Dermatology Section at Memorial Sloan Kettering Basking Ridge.

“I suggest products with SPFs no lower than 30 and no higher than 50. In addition to an SPF of 30+, your sunscreen should include some combination of the following UVA-blocking ingredients: zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, avobenzone, ecamsule, and oxybenzone.  Sunscreens with both UVA and UVB protection may be labeled multi spectrum, broad spectrum, or UVA/UVB protection.”

The Recommendation: Kiehl’s Facial Fuel UV Guard Sunscreen hits all the spots that Dr. Wang recommends. Along with being SPF 50+ and broad spectrum, this sunscreen is particularly popular because it’s scentless, ultra light and water resistant up to 80 minutes.

GO INVISIBLE, NOT SOCKLESS

FALKE COOL KICK KNITTED NO-SHOW SOCKS

no-show-socksYou’d be surprised how cooler you’ll feel (and look) by cutting back on your socks.

A lot of men tend to make the mistake of going completely sockless. Why is this a bad idea? Because having no barrier between your shoes, especially if they’re leather, increases your risk of blisters as sweat has no where to wick. (Bonus: Your feet will start to smell funky faster.)

To avoid this but retain the look and benefits of less sock, opt for a low cut or invisible sock. This is not the same as an ankle sock, which, as the name implies, ends at your ankles. Invisible socks follow your shoe profile a lot more closely, resulting is a nearly invisible look. When it comes to what color to choose, I go with the “match the color of your shoes” rule for optimal stealth.

The Recommendation: Match your socks to your shoes in color and opening. Shoes with larger, lower openings, like slip-on and certain dress shoes, will require invisible cut socks that are cut much deeper. Brands like Uniqlo have both options in a wide variety of colors. 

HOW TO ROLL UP YOUR SLEEVES SO THEY STAY UP

BARRON CUADRO

I’m personally not a huge fan of short sleeved button-up shirts. I prefer rolling my sleeves. In this video, my good friend Barron of Effortless Gent shows you a few ways to roll your sleeves up so they never come undone!

My personal favorite: the double foldover, which is also apparently known as “The Italian” method.

YOUR UNDER-APPRECIATED BEST FRIEND: THE HANDKERCHIEF

COTTON HANDKERCHEIFS: DEREK ROSE, $45 (SET OF 2)

There’s no way around it. When it’s hot, you’re going to sweat. And the handkerchief is the perfect pocket companion for the occasional forehead and neck swipe. 

Sure, it’s a bit old school, but it’s a lot classier than your shirt sleeve or a bathroom hand towel. (The latter a favorite with many New Yorkers in the summer)

You can go wild with your choices, I personally just like a classic white cotton/linen handkerchief and stash it in my back pocket.

A POCKET SQUARE IN EVERY COLOR

A blazer without a pocket square just looks naked to me. While a crisp white linen pocket square is perfect all year round, take this seasonal opportunity to flex your color muscles. If you do choose to wear a tie with your suit or blazer, I generally recommend avoiding matching it with your pocket square. It always comes off like you’re trying too hard.

HOW TO PICK THE PERFECT PAIR OF SUNGLASSES FOR YOUR FACE

There are two pieces of style advice that gets thrown around often that I call bullshit on.

The first is that you need to reference the color wheel to learn how to mix colors. (In the 10 years I’ve been in fashion, not a single designer I’ve worked with has ever used a color wheel.)

The second? That you need to buy a certain shape of glasses for your face shape.

I know, the advice sounds like it makes sense, but I just never saw it work in practice.

I come from the opinion that the shape of the glasses has a lot more to do with the look you’re going for, and less to do with whether you have a “heart shaped face” or “square”.

So, when it comes to recommending some sunglasses for you, I like to go with a classic d-frame style. Rounded bottom, slightly rounded top. These frames look good on everybody.

Seriously. This is one style that’s impossible to mess up.

While black is the easy choice, don’t be afraid to go lighter, like a tortoise (my favorite) or a light brown. You’d be surprised how much it can brighten up your look.

***

PART5

YOU’VE GOT SWEATY, SMELLY PITS

SWEATBLOCK, $19
SWEATBLOCK, $19

The Problem: Your pits sweat like crazy, soaking your shirts.

The Fix: SweatBlock is a antiperspirant towelette that you wipe on at night. The towelettes contain a FDA approved proprietary formula that will block sweat up to 7-days per use. 

With over 3,000 nearly 5 star reviews on Amazon, SweatBlock is an extremely popular and effective solution against sweat.

The only downside? While it does block sweat effectively and reduces some odor, it doesn’t eliminate it. (B.O. is also cause by the lack of air flow your pits get.) SweatBlock recommends you use it along with a deodorant.

If you want something more traditional, go for a clinical strength antiperspirant + deodorant.

Despite the myths that still float around, aluminum (the main ingredient to block the sweat glands) in antiperspirants are perfectly safe to use. I’ve never been able to find an aluminum free deodorant that could provide the same level of protection as aluminum ones. I’ve since switched to a clinical strength antiperspirant deodorant (20%) and have never looked back.

It’s actually recommended that you apply your antiperspirants on before bed to give the aluminum enough time to absorb to swell and block your sweat glands.

Don’t worry about showering the next day, it will stay on. Just avoid direct water contact and you’ll be good.

YOUR SHIRTS ARE CAKED IN DEODORANT

The Problem: Your shirts have cakey build up of antiperspirant/deodorant that seems impossible to remove.

The Fix: Toss the shirt out and change the way you apply your antiperspirant/deodorants. 

I’ve tried a dozen solutions on my caked shirts and nothing has worked. It gets even worse if you machine wash and dry them, as the stuff seems to “bake” in. The best solution I’ve found is prevention.

The reason shirts get a cakey build up of deodorants is due to not being absorbed completely into your body.  To ensure that your shirts don’t get a build up:

  1. Apply antiperspirant/deodorants to dry pits.
  2. Trim your armpit hairs. Too much or thick armpit hair can prevent your antiperspirant/deodorants from being absorbed onto your skin. Antiperspirants/deodorants love to latch onto armpit hairs and transfer onto your shirt.
  3. Apply antiperspirants/deodorants before bed to give them enough time to absorb. If you shower the next day, avoid direct contact with water.

YOUR HEAD IS HOT AND DRIPPING IN SWEAT

MEGAN COLLINS

The Problem: Your head is dripping in sweat.

The Fix: Megan Collins over at Style Girlfriend has a great tip:

“While switching to more breathable fabrics (shout out to lightweight cotton and chambray) is always a hot tip in the warmer months, a good haircut can be your best hot weather accessory. You can quite literally cut off a few degrees by tightening up your sides, having your stylist razor through a thick heap of hair, or switching to lighter weight products. Bonus? It’s a good opportunity to shake things up with your look; it streamlines your morning routine since less maintenance, product, and upkeep are required; and – of course – keeps you cool and dry through sweaty weather.”

Shaved Head: Even with completely shaved heads, Tom Hardy and Idris Elba are great examples of how varying the length of the side and top can make a shaved head look sophisticated, rather than a desperate attempt to beat the heat. (Bonus points for a good skin fade like Idris)

Short-Mid Length: Tighten up the sides and switch to lighter products to give your hair some room to breathe. Save the thick and slick hair for less humid temps (you’d sweat out that thick product anyway). If you decide to keep the top a bit longer (right), have your barber thin out the top a bit without touching the length.

Long: While men have been getting a lot of shit lately for the whole man bun trend, it definitely helps keep you a bit cooler. Take Style Girlfriend’s advice and ask your barber to thin out your hair with a razor. Not into the man bun? Consider reducing a bit of the length to air out your neck like actor Avan Jogia. Fall and Winter’s the time you should be growing out your hair anyway, so just like with your clothes, you should adapt a bit.

***

WHAT TO DO NEXT:

In the comments below, let me know:

  1. The most surprising thing you learned from this guide.
  2. Your #1 tip for dressing well in hot weather, especially if it’s something I missed!

 

coverP.S. Need to check this guide again on the go? You can download a free PDF version of this guide and access it anytime.

Just let me know where to send it below!

peter@theessentialman.com'
Author

Hi, I'm Peter. I spent 11 years as a menswear designer here in NYC. Now, I help some of the most successful men look really good as a Private Personal Stylist and writer of The Essential Man. You can learn more about what I do by clicking here

  • Shannon H

    This is an awesome guide! So much I didnt know before but mostly about the deo. Thanks for that – I’ll throwing away a lot of shirts and applying before bed now. Also like the swap guide…never would have thought of that myself.

  • Carlos Garcia

    Can you make a video of this guide? With models showing the various styles.

  • Nathan Ackley

    What glasses with the clear flame and circle black lenses is that guy wearing who’s smoking the cig. I like it.