What To Wear Today: Beat the Heat

Ernest Alexander

Editor’s note: For more posts covering #WTWT (What to Wear Today), click here.

When it’s hot out, there’s the temptation to stray from dressing well and move towards dressing more basic – less layers equals less heat, right? As with any pursuit though, hot weather shouldn’t equal less attention to detail – and it doesn’t have to mean that. Certain staples can carry you through the season while still keeping you looking good.

Just one way to beat the heat in style -- a polo from this year's Michael Bastian x Uniqlo collaboration.
Just one way to beat the heat in style — a polo from this year’s Michael Bastian x Uniqlo collaboration.

Starting up top, while a stylish T-shirt isn’t  a problem in and of itself, on some occasions a polo looks more crisp – and unlike a T-shirt, it can work more readily on its own at the office, too. You could also put forth a more fashion-forward take on the T-shirt though, as style legend (and Esquire Fashion Director) Nick Sullivan does here.  It’s a look that simultaneously casual and cool, but not sloppy in the slightest  (the key is the fit of the blazer, along with its more rumpled texture – a jacket from this list might do the trick while also working in spring and even fall if layered correctly).

Another versatile layering option that could work in the heat. Pocket T-shirt by Everlane. Unconstructed blazer and pocket square by J. Crew Factory.
Another versatile layering option that could work in the heat. Pocket T-shirt by Everlane. Unconstructed blazer and linen microdot pocket square by J. Crew Factory.

Those who prefer a more tailored look would be wise to reach for a linen buttondown, something with some cooling texture but in the traditional shirt structure  – Stock Manufacturing Co.’s shirts are made in America and hit the mark perfectly (a price is paid for that quality, though). On the budget end of things, the versatile Oxford-cloth button down can be worn with almost anything and can be picked up for a positive steal from Uniqlo, although sizing is somewhat scattered at this point.

A pair of crisp, tailored, go-anywhere chinos like these from Apolis are equally wearable in the summer as in the fall and winter.
A pair of crisp, tailored, go-anywhere chinos like these from Apolis are equally wearable in the summer as in the fall and winter.

And in the summer months as well as well as the rest of the year, the ever-versatile chino is your friend – traditional dress pants here could be a little too insulating if you need to be out and moving. If a dress pant is unavoidable, plenty of brands stock suit separates that combine lighter colors and textures with a slimmer cut (J. Crew’s Bowery line accomplishes this task phenomenally). Shorts worn in a more daring fashion are also on the table for the everyday now as well – believe it or not! Check out ways to style this bolder move here.

Just one shoe option to make things more bearable on a hot summer's day. White sneakers by GREATS Brand.
Just one shoe option to make things more bearable on a hot summer’s day. White sneakers by GREATS Brand.

If you simply can’t put away dark denim and don’t mind the heat, a classic pair in a straight or slim cut with a dark wash is never out of the question, although light-wash jeans still have business-casual potential as evidenced by this look here.  Footwear is another area that’s going to really make or break both the versatility and the overall “cooling” factor of an outfit. Think leather loafers, crisp white sneakers or even runner-style sneakers in a neutral color. Any of those three options could work seamlessly with slim chinos and a polo, or a well-fitted T-shirt and blazer combo.

And because socks are really a prerequisite for extending the life of your shoes, a set of stylish no-show socks from a brand like Richer Poorer could work exceptionally well – the brand’s no-shows in particular are well-priced, well-designed and very comfortable. Wearing no-show socks with dress shoes is a move that’s oft-debated, but if the shoe is comfortable in that instance and the move isn’t too attention-grabbing,  it could absolutely work (wearing that look to a boardroom meeting might not go over too well though, the thought goes!).

The Sturhling Original Asoct Agent is a crisp, classic option for both casual and dressy summer wear.
The Sturhling Original Asoct Agent is a crisp, classic option for both casual and dressy summer wear.

Unlike socks, other accessories are dependent on the situation to some degree – but keepings minimal and crisp with a trim leather watch is always flattering to any pared-down look  (I.e. the T-shirt and blazer combo mentioned here).  In sportier situations though, a NATO strap is both functional and can still be swapped without too much work into a shinier steel dive watch dial or even that leather dress watch.

This shot offers a look at the versatility of a classic braided leather belt (this one's from Target's Merona line).
This shot offers a look at the versatility of a classic braided leather belt (this one’s from Target’s Merona line).

More casual belts are going to be your friend as well – think something with the same texture as a fall belt, like this functional and inexpensive braided leather option  from  Target, or this cotton braided belt from J. Crew Factory. A two-sided reversible belt could also pull double duty if a middle-of-the-road option is needed.
Florsheim
Ultimately when it comes to summer style, it’s a matter of choice –make the choice to keep things tailored, crisp and put-together despite the heat, and a world of style possibilities will open up from there. Crucially, items that work throughout the year – that slim T-shirt under sweaters in the winter, those chinos during transition times in the fall – can still work here when mixed the right way.

Let me know – how are you beating the heat? What combos or items from this list would you try out? Which ones would you leave in the closet? I’m always open to questions – hit me up via beauhayhoe@gmail.com or on Twitter @BoKnowsClothes.

Ben Sherman US

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