Dressing for the Worst Weather – Hot and Grey

Posted by: on May 7, 2012 | 2 Comments

Some weather is easy to dress for. Hot and sunny, grab the seersucker and white linen. Cold and cloudy, go for grey flannel. Like I said, easy. What’s not so easy is when the wires get crossed. This time of year it is not uncommon to get the trifecta for difficult dressing – hot, humid, and dismal. Here are a few proposed solutions.

I’m typically a guy who enjoys fall/winter clothes much more than summer ones. Something about the richness of color, comforting textures, and layering possibilities really excites me. But by this time of year I am actually excited about breaking out the summer stuff for the first time. A recent sunny and 80 degree Saturday meant exuberantly pulling on some Nantucket Reds. And then there was this past week.

Light linen trousers look cheap and papery when the light is too grey, but anything heavier is uncomfortable when it’s hot. Cotton chinos are the obvious solution, but tropical wool might be the better one. It will breathe but be physically lighter weight than cotton, getting you closer to that breezy linen feeling. Navy or mid-grey are always safe options, but fawn and camel make good neutral substitutes as well. Howard Yount is a reliable option.

Then there is the jacket problem. Most raincoats are coated or use a membrane to keep them waterproof. When the mercury rises this just makes you sweat. Get a cotton macintosh style jacket that isn’t coated or specially lined. “Water repellant” is fine, “water proof” is not. Yeah, it won’t keep you bone dry in a downpour, but do you really see yourself standing outside in a storm? I didn’t think so.

Also the simple move from double breasted trench to single breasted mac makes a huge difference. Trust me, I own both and almost never wear the trench.

Finally, footwear. For those who like to go sockless in the heat (as I do with loafers – not laceups), when it gets damp out you’re just asking for problems. Smells, blisters, and that gross squishy feeling when you get a little water in there. No good.

Instead, invest in some good unlined shoes. Alden’s chukkas and penny loafers are perfect choices, as are Leffot‘s house brand loafers. Even with thin cotton socks they feel breezy; I actually find it tough to wear my Alden chukkas when it’s really cold out, even with thick wool socks. And when the sky does clear up they’re perfect sock-free too.


  1. Benn
    May 7, 2012

    Stephen, do you feel the snuff suede color pictured above (which seems a bit darker than those you recently purchased) is appropriate for all year wear? I know there are differing opinions, but what is yours.

    • Stephen
      May 7, 2012

      I think snuff suede is always appropriate, personally.


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