Surviving Summer in Style

Posted by: on May 21, 2012 | 2 Comments

Ok, so actual hot weather is finally here. Not the blistering 100 degrees of August, but mid 80s is still pretty toasty. It’s certainly hot enough to make dressing difficult. But with a little forethought and some specialty purchases, you can dress stylishly and comfortably no matter how hot it gets this summer.

The most common advice you’ll find on style blogs is to give up your socks. This isn’t bad advice, it just needs a few caveats. Tanned ankles are always a plus, but this time of year you might just have to square yourself with showing some pale skin. Definitely pick up some insoles (I like these terry/foam insoles from Aldo), otherwise you’re going to end up with ruined, smelly footbeds. I also don’t recommend breaking shoes in without socks. Even bespoke shoes rub a little at first, so break them in with socks unless you really want some blisters.

You can also go the tropical-weight sock route. Contrary to what most people will tell you, I can’t emphasize strongly enough that if you’re wearing a suit you should also be wearing socks. Odd trousers, jeans, and chinos are all fine hose-free, but something about wearing a suit sans socks looks very “dressed by the internet’ and contrived to me. Maybe Sid can pull it off, but that’s because he didn’t learn about it by browsing pictures of Sid on the web.

Then there are summer shirts. Most guys change their trousers with the seasons but let their shirts function as year-round staples. Most broadcloths do this just fine, but you’ll want something special for the really hot days, I promise. Linen blends are obvious, but seersucker might be my favorite.

If you’ve never worn a seersucker shirt, I can only describe it like wearing a cloud. Lands End has a cheap, white-collared casual model that fits slim but not tight. The collar is a cutaway and a little small for wearing with a tie, but then again I don’t know why you’d wear a tie with this shirt. Most decent shirt makers can do these for you as well.

Finally there is the shorts controversy. Some guys will tell you shorts are never appropriate, some say only on vacation, and others call it a free-for-all. Honestly, while I don’t wear them very often, I can’t say I blame anyone who does when it’s actually hot. People who only put on proper trousers when the temperature nears freezing is another matter entirely.

Just make sure you follow a few rules. Cargo pockets should be a no-no, the tops of your knees are as low as they should go, and if you even have to ask if they are approaching too short the answer is most certainly yes. I stick to inexpensive mall brands since my shorts don’t see heavy rotation, but folks like Ovadia & Sons can hook you up with a pair with guts.

As the mercury continues to rise, don’t despair. It takes a little effort, but comfort and style need not be mutually exclusive.



  1. Zach Powers
    May 21, 2012

    Spot on to wearing your socks with a suit. Though I will give a pass if it is a particularly casual suit, like a seersucker or a linen suit. but to my eyes it usually just ruins the line of the look with the ankle jumping out at us.

    I am a bit tired of those that act as if they are rebelling against something by not ever wearing socks. I’d rather rebel against blisters.

  2. David V
    May 21, 2012

    There is a place for cargo shorts. I own several. That place is not in an urban environment.


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