A Man’s Guide to Summer Dress: Part 1

by Antonio on July 23, 2009 · 63 comments

in Dress & Grooming, Style

summerclothing

Hot weather, unlike cooler temperatures, necessitates that we do more with less.  Beautiful weather creates a more relaxed attitude that translates into flexible dress codes that lean towards comfort and summer weather utility.  However, no coats, only occasionally a jacket, and more often than not shorts instead of trousers, forces us to reveal our sometimes less than attractive legs, stomachs, and backsides.  How does a modern day gentleman dress for the hot summer weather while still looking presentable?

This article is broken into two parts – in part one, we cover general guidelines to hot weather dressing, the different styles of shirts, and warm weather jackets. In part two, we’ll discuss shorts, jeans, summer trousers, footwear, and accessories.

Although the thermometer may read 100 degrees, those meeting you for the first time are still going to make a snap decision based off your appearance.  The goal of these articles is to make sure that the impression you leave is the one you want, not one that brings into question your decision making ability or respect for others.

Hot Weather Dressing General Guidelines – Clean, Light, and Understated

These three words sum up how a sharp dressed man clothes himself during the summer months.

Clean – A gentleman is showered, well-groomed, and his clothing is free from stains.  He realizes that although he may perspire, he does not have to smell nor look like he stepped out of a sauna.  If you need to shower twice a day, then do so.  Use antiperspirant deodorant, and consider soaps with menthol that will help cool your body.  A sharp dressed man never wears stained clothing, even if he believes others won’t notice.  His hair is washed and its ends cut regularly, with excess hair on the back of the neck trimmed.  Invest in a pair of nose hair clippers (which can be used on the ears as well), opt for a close shave, and treat your skin to lotions that improve health and appearance.  Need more guidance here?  Visit Tyler Sims at ForeMan; his website’s grooming guide is full of great info that answers dozens of questions.

Light – Wear light colored clothing and select fabrics made with breathable weaves and natural fibers such as cotton, linen, or tropical weight wool (perfect for summer’s formal events).  Looser fits facilitate airflow, but do not take this to mean you should wear a full size (or three) larger than what your body size calls for. Remember that dark colors do not reflect light but rather absorb it and all other factors being constant, are thus hotter.  On a sunny day, a white long sleeve button-down cotton shirt will be much cooler than a black polyester T-shirt.

Understated – A gentleman wears quality garments that have cuts and patterns that compliment his figure and attitude – his clothing never detracts from the ladies in his company.  He pays attention to unstated dress codes, plans accordingly, and shows up in accordance so that he can enjoy the companionship of those around him. If you need to bring a change of clothing, do so; try not to wear your swimming trunks into the evening festivities (unless they are in the water!).  Be remembered for your friendly conversation, not for being the over-dressed peacock or under-dressed ruffian.

Summer Shirt Styles

The T-shirt

The T-shirt is as casual as it gets.  With its underwear origins (and for many still its only domain) the T-shirt is in this author’s opinion appropriate for working out, beach wear, and situations where a close fitting garment that is unlikely to get tangled is called for.  However in the US, a quality designer T-shirt is accepted as casual summer wear; you won’t get a second look if you choose to wear one to class, to the local café, or out to a bar with friends.

When wearing a T-shirt, ensure the fabric is 100% cotton and that it is not so thin as to be see-through.  Pay attention to proper fit in the torso area – too loose of a shirt only makes you look smaller than you are while too tight of a shirt makes you look like an overstuffed sausage.

The advice 90% of you will ignore:

Think twice about wearing a T-shirt if you can just as easily wear a Polo, short sleeve, or long sleeve button-up.  Yes, I know everyone else wears them, but in most situations a short sleeve collared shirt is simply a better choice because of its versatility.  Even a $150 designer T-shirt is outclassed by a $25 polo because the latter has a collar.  Summer picnics, informal garage graduation parties, and Sunday morning brunch at Stubb’s Bar-B-Q can all be attended in style with a short sleeve button dress shirt.

The Short Sleeve Polo

As its name suggests, the polo shirt has it’s origins on the fields of sport where its moisture wicking properties and style made it the choice of gentleman athletes.  Today it has ascended as the standard uniform of the North American man dressed in summer casual.  However, just because it’s widely accepted does not mean its use should be abused.  Reserve the polo for true casual events on weekends. Unless it’s your company’s uniform, consider wearing a tasteful button down short sleeve during the week.

When it comes to colors and patterns, polo shirts are afforded more freedom in their range of acceptable hues and contrast.  They are one of the few exceptions where a man can wear bright & bold colors and not be accused of trying to draw attention to himself (well, within reason).  Fabrics types are either a smooth weave or a more casual rough weave with visible texture; you want to choose polos made from cotton, although up to 15% of other fibers types is acceptable as they may be used to enhance performance, fit, and comfort.

buttondown

The Button-Down Short Sleeve

The most under utilized shirt in a man’s wardrobe is the button-down short sleeve shirt.  A step up from the polo, this shirt style is often avoided because of the difficulty in achieving a “great look.” A button down short sleeve that’s too large or too small has its weaknesses amplified by its inability to hide behind another garment or even itself.  Thin arms dwarfed by large armholes and midsections that press the limits of a button’s strength have no long sleeves or jacket to cover their ungainly appearance.  Thus, it’s imperative to pay attention to fit. Try taking these shirts to a tailor; you’d be amazed at how much a slight alteration can improve appearances.

A short sleeve dress shirt needs to fit properly at the shoulder points and along the torso.  Sleeve lengths can vary but they should cover at least 25 to 80 percent of the bicep (as measured from shoulder point to elbow).  Understand the less bicep covered the more casual the shirt becomes. I personally like my shirts to cover at least 60% of my bicep unless headed to the beach or lake.  But then again I don’t have the build to pull off the short bicep look.  As for circumference of the sleeve, at least 1 inch but not more than 4 or so; again, a skilled tailor can help here, but your best bet is to find a brand whose factory fit is close to your body build.

My favorite detail of the short sleeve dress shirt is the wearer’s ability to have it incorporate classic military style features such as double breast pockets, small bicep pouches, epaulets (shoulder straps) and the freedom its casual nature affords when it comes to fabric selection.   Checks that would normally overpower a long sleeve dress shirt or look ridiculous on a polo shirt somehow are tempered by the compromising features found in the short sleeve dress shirt.

The Long Sleeve Dress Shirt

Although not most men’s first choice in 90 degree plus weather, it is a more formal option than its short sleeve cousin and often the only choice for work.  If wearing the long sleeve dress shirt during the day, select a light color, and to avoid being swallowed up by the sea of simple white’s, consider a lightly patterned fabric that tastefully suggests individuality.  Most men know to select cotton, but few realize the fabric make-up is only a part of the equation for staying cool.  Search for weaves and weights that allow cotton to do what you want it to do – transmit the moisture and heat from your body right out to your surrounding environment.  A long sleeve shirt rolled up to the mid-forearm or beyond, is a very stylish look preferred by many over the short sleeve button-up.   It’s actually dressier than a true short sleeve because it gives the wearer the option of unrolling the sleeves (even though he won’t be).  For more on long sleeve dress shirts, check out this Art of Manliness article on the dress shirt or look at the stylish duo at Street Etiquette (these gentlemen add a modern New York flair to classic style).

The Role of an Undershirt

For both the short sleeve and long sleeve button up shirts, always wear a 100% cotton undershirt (V neck preferred).  Although wearing two layers of clothing sounds warmer than wearing a single layer, a cotton undershirt protects the outer layer from sweat and fabric staining antiperspirants.  If you sweat heavily, consider bringing an extra shirt to change into.  For more info, visit Tug over at undershirtguy.com – he’s the internet’s expert on undershirts!

Wearing a Shirt Un-tucked

There are those who say a shirt should always be tucked in; I won’t go that far as I have seen (and made) shirts that look very stylish worn un-tucked.  The key is making sure the length of the shirt and height of jeans/shorts overlap by the right amount.  Aim for a 2 to 4 inch overlap depending on your size and the type of shirt; give T-shirts less overlap while button down short sleeves can have more (especially if it has a tail).  A general rule of thumb is if you are covering more than 50% of your backside the shirt is too long – the good news here is that shortening a shirt is fairly simple.  Finally note that the un-tucked style looks best on the younger man, especially when he is wearing jeans. Although you may think you are the exception (don’t we all), past middle age,d the un-tucked shirt begins to look unkempt.

The Summer Jacket

Weddings, outdoor parties, and other events that call for a professional presentation in hot weather make the summer jacket a necessity.  So what’s the difference between a summer jacket and a regular blazer or sports coat?

Summer Jacket Fabrics

Cotton is king during the summer months; its natural wicking properties along with its strength and durability make it the choice for those looking to stay cool and get years of wear.  However, because of their tendency to wrinkle, they do require frequent attention and are considered less casual – because of this I recommend a man have at least two well fitting suits in his wardrobe before purchasing a cotton jacket. Tropical weight wools are a hot weather alternative, but even though lightweight, they are still a bit warmer than cotton and require care when cleaning. On the other hand, the drape and feel of wool is unmatched, and if the jacket is half-lined and conservative in color, it may be the most versatile garment in your closet.

seersucker

Seersucker – often seen in the American southeast, this fabric’s origins are Indian.  Picked up by the English, it made its way to the US where it has transformed itself into a modern classic.  Most commonly made from cotton with a striped pattern (blue, brown, gray, although other colors and patterns can be sourced), seersucker’s strength lies in its slack tension weave where two warp beams enable a tight weave one direction while a loose on the other.  The result is an incredibly breathable fabric that allows air to move through with ease.

Linen – like cotton, this is a fabric made from a plant based fiber (flax) and has the perfect summer characteristics of wicking away moisture and dissipating heat.  However, linen fabrics are often rougher and easily wrinkle, making them the least casual of summer fabrics despite their high price (this is a result more of so few producers and low demand compared with cotton). Despite the cost, a well informed gentleman realizes linen fabric is the most durable of fabrics, and a classic linen sports coat can last a lifetime if taken care of.

Unlined and Half-Lined Jackets – Adjusting the inner construction of a jacket is another method of reducing its propensity to retain heat.  Completely unlined jackets are perfect for warm weather as that they dispense with entire layers of fabric.  However, these unlined and thus unstructured jackets are by definition less formal than their more rigid brethren and look best matched with casual cotton garments supported by classic accessories.  Half-lined jackets are where all but the essential lining is dispensed with; these jackets still retain their structure (linings & shoulder pads) but eliminate lining on the lower half of the jacket.  Both half and unlined jackets require skilled seam work on the part of the garment maker, as there is no lining to hide unsightly edging.  When choosing half-lined jackets ensure the lining is made with a viscous Bemberg material vs. silk.  Developed over 70 years ago, Bemberg is a natural man-made fiber that comes from wood pulp; it does a better job than silk of wicking moisture from the body and is more durable.

Read Part 2 of our guide to summer dress!

Written by
Antonio Centeno
President, www.ATailoredSuit.com
Quality Custom Clothing & Sound Style Advice
Join our Facebook Page for a chance to Win Custom Clothing

{ 59 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Shaun July 24, 2009 at 12:36 am

Where are these informal garage graduation parties held? They sound like fun!

Seriously though, great article – it’s winter where I’m at, so I’ll have to wait to put it into place, but seing as most of the shops are already gearing up for summer, I suppose it’s probably a timely read.

2 STREET ETIQUETTE July 24, 2009 at 1:09 am

Hey Antonio ,

I’m so glad you guys linked to us , I had no idea a site like this for males existed on the Internet. I’m intrigued to read every article on here just simply because the content is so worth it to do so. We appreciate the good words about us we will continue to bring the goodness to the masses. Definitely should talk more !

Great post!

3 epidion July 24, 2009 at 1:34 am

Great write up Tony, I always really enjoy your work. You’re definitely my favorite guest-contributor to the site.

I’m glad you mentioned seersucker, because I’ve been on a wild goose chase for weeks looking for a seersucker suit.

I have two limitations:
1. I’m a poor college student, and I’ll spend $250 at most on a seersucker suit
2. I require an unusual size.

After trying every thrift store I could find, I went into Jos A Bank (the only place in Denver I could find seersucker) and they said I need a 38 long for the jacket but that they make a 38 regular and a 40 long. I asked about tailoring and the salesman told me that to tailor the jacket to my size would cost more than the suit itself, but I’m not very inclined to trust him because he made absolutely no effort to find something that would work for me.

I guess I have a few questions:
1. Does anybody have any suggestions as to where I can find a suit my size? Obviously Denver isn’t the best place to look since it’s a bit out of seersucker territory, but I’m happy to shop online as long as I can return it if I’m not happy with the fit.
2. How much can a tailor really work with a suit? I have no experience with a tailor but I’m assuming it would be easier to buy a jacket that fit me in the shoulders and to let out the sleeves for my long arms, rather than altering the back and shoulders to fit. At what size do you think I could buy it and have it tailored to me?

Any light you can shed on the subject would be great, thanks everyone!

4 K.C. July 24, 2009 at 4:34 am

Great write up, I have been switching my wardrobe over from my teenaged surf and skate t shirts to more polos and button ups. Feels nice to wear something other than just another t shirt every day.

epidion,

If you are willing to up your $250 to $280, I’d recommend indochino, they have a seersucker for 280 free shipping. Link:

http://www.indochino.com/product/Seersucker_Suit.html

I am not paid by them at all, but I have ordered a suit from them and am very happy with it, and after being measured and ordering it, it got here really quick.

I don’t know the policy on linking in comments here, and I’m sorry if I broke the policy.

Again, great writeup!

5 Thad July 24, 2009 at 5:04 am

What about hats? May I recommend a good panama hat – http://www.rtp3.com/blog/1852 – or, at least, a decent straw hat.

@epidon – do you have a local men’s wear shop that you could visit? They may be able to find something that will fit you exactly. Or, do you regularly travel anyplace that has a Brooks Brothers outlet store? I have regularly found very good deals in them … recently picked up a $70 linen shirt for $16 in the Hilton Head outlet.

6 Cowboy Bob July 24, 2009 at 6:05 am

Now AoM has gone too far! You are being irresponsible in posting this. All I needed to do was to read the title to get the jist of the article. I don’t even OWN a summer dress, I think they’re evil. Can you imagine if some poor schmuck read this and felt that men HAVE TO wear dresses? Oh, the feminization of modern man…

7 ThomsonsPier July 24, 2009 at 6:17 am

I concur with the above poster regarding the lack of hats in this article.

My main point for posting, however, is to argue with the assertion that wearing light colours will result in cooler dress. This is a long held myth; dark colours may well absorb more radiation, but they emit more as well. Unless your light colour is some form of exciting breathable foil, it will make no difference. Dark colours can be beneficial, in fact, as they radiate more in the shade and will help you to lose heat more rapidly.

8 HeelEsq July 24, 2009 at 7:02 am

While I agree with the discussion for the most part, short sleeve button-downs and short sleeve dress shirts should be left at the store. They look horrible even when appropriately fit and worse when not.

Seersucker, though, is a great fabric that should be respected more. It cannot be matched for summer suit comfort and when worn appropriately is the classic summer fabric. However, puerile inclinations to wear patchwork seersucker in multiple colors or to deviate from blue, tan, and grey should have dissipated with graduation from high school at the latest.

9 oliver July 24, 2009 at 7:31 am

What kind of gun should I buy with my summer dress? Just in case the seersucker suit won’t do it, I need something to feel like a real man.

10 Rafael Contreras Jr July 24, 2009 at 7:58 am

As always no matter what the subject your articles are excellent ! You are right on that the button front shirt and or “camp shirt ” is the most under utilized garment. And there are so many variations such as the camp shirts that I personally design(and make in the USA,D’Accord Shirts with Style Since 1980) such as the ever popular “Two and a Half Men” aka “Charlie Sheen” shirts.Please go to my website http://www.guayaberas.com and see the shirt Charlie Sheen would love to wear.
Another rising star is the Guayabera aka”Mexican wedding shirt”.This is a classic garment that is perfect for summer as it was designed to be worn untucked and may be worn to weddings and is acceptable at most outings. You won’t know the power of wearing a cool 100% linen guayabera to a summer event where you will look great and be comfortable while the guy next to you is cringing in his suit and tie fighting the summer heat and humidity.I urge you to please visit both of my websites and see for yourself the vast variety of Guayaberas and camp shirts and much more.
Enjoy the rest of the summer !
Rafael Contreras Jr
D’Accord Shirts with Style Since 1980

11 Brian B. July 24, 2009 at 8:49 am

A great article!

Though it missed the cardinal rule of the short sleaved button down shirt. NEVER wear a tie with one. It makes you look like a door to door vacuume cleaner salesmen and if an event is formal enough to require a tie it is too formal for short sleeves.

I concur on the lack of mention of manly summer hats.

12 Carson Chittom July 24, 2009 at 9:06 am

I have to take issue with some of this advice, although really it’s more in the way of a clarification. A sharp distinction should be drawn with regard to short-sleeve dress shirts. A nice one that suits you well (such as is shown in the picture) is fine for casual wear out and about or to an informal gathering. For business attire, I have exactly the opposite opinion to the columnist: they should never be worn (unless it’s part of your company’s uniform, of course–UPS springs to mind), in my opinion; if it’s informal enough that you can wear a short-sleeve dress shirt to work, you’d do better to wear a polo shirt–or if you’re working inside where it would be comfortable, a long-sleeve dress shirt without a tie.

13 art July 24, 2009 at 9:19 am

To add to Brian B’s comment, if you go the rolled sleeves and no tie route the shirt had better have a button down collar. I see too many point collared shirts worn without a jacket and tie, and even with the stays pulled out they look plain stupid.

Also, the article neglected footwear. Since it’s summer, Top Siders or something similar with no socks will match absolutely everything mentioned above.

14 Antonio July 24, 2009 at 9:36 am

Shaun – The ones I attended were in Mt. Vernon, IA…..but I think for much of the Midwest in the spring a garage is a perfect place to throw low key parties for 20+……….when it rains you’re covered!

Street E – I think AOM readers will appreciate your style……your blog is full of beautiful photos and great content…..keep up the hard work!

Epidion – Have you searched E-Bay or Craigslist? Instead of relying on size alone, expand your search by measuring your body and then look for jackets which match up….no matter what their size. One manufacturer’s 38 is another’s 40. Also, look for a European cut as they tend to run more form fitting than their American counterparts (although Seersucker is harder to find abroad). As to your tailor question, I’m working on that article for Brett as we speak addressing just this (along with dry cleaning) but it depends on a few things 1) What does the tailor have to work with and 2) how well does it fit you to begin with and 3) what are your tailors capabilities. If your tailor has room in the sleeves to lengthen, then the strategy you mentioned sounds fine. However he most likely will not be able to lengthen the jacket, and the amount he can bring in the stomach depends on the positioning of the pockets. Think proportion – he could make it fit, but it would look all wrong (hence why my company exists!).

K.C. – That is an option!

Thad – I’ll cover hats in Part 2!

Cowboy Bob – I was worried you might read it that way. Thank you for sounding the alarm and protecting the innocent!

ThomsonsPier – I have never heard that about dark colors…..can you point me to the research/reference where you learned this. I’d love to learn more.

HeelEsq – Did you watch Casino Royale? What did you think of D. Craig’s short sleeve in the Bahamas? I agree, the button down short sleeve is hard to wear but if done properly it’s a sight to behold and can’t be beat in extremely hot weather.

Oliver – Remember….. Clean, Light, and Understated…..how about a Glock 19?

Rafael – Thanks for the interesting link and info.

Brian B – Agreed, no ties.

Carson – Did not mean to imply the short sleeve button down was from business wear, just that it’s more professional than a t-shirt or polo. I personally wear a long sleeve rolled-up, unless I’m in Texas during July and going to time outdoors….then you have to make concessions to the weather.

Art – Button-down collars are not your only option, consider a medium spread collar. The angle of the cut keeps the collar out of your way when wearing without a tie. Footwear will be covered in part 2!

Best regards,

Antonio
President, http://www.ATailoredSuit.com

15 Cowboy Bob July 24, 2009 at 10:32 am

Just wanted to say that I’m glad people “got it” with my silly comment from before. Readers are bright enough to recognize a joke.

As for the fashion advice, I have to cherry pick based on preferences, budget and the literal office climate (it gets hot in there!).

16 Mark H July 24, 2009 at 11:25 am

Does Cowboy Bob wear bolo ties to work? Unique fashion statement.http://tinyurl.com/l8ur69

17 Jason Y July 24, 2009 at 11:30 am

I’ve never seen a $150 T-shirt. But maybe that’s because even my polo shirts cost 0 to 5 USD. Or because I live under the rock–you know, the one with the cheap rent–so that I can put food on the table.

18 Jack July 24, 2009 at 1:05 pm

Haha good one CowboyBob

I always love your guest posts Antonio! Keep it up!

“His hair is washed and its ends cut regularly, with excess hair on the back of the neck trimmed.”

I don’t necessarily agree. Does this not take into account of the modern man’s bigger variety of hairstyles in terms of length? Or are you proposing one cannot be a gentlemen or stylish man with longer hair? Or did I just mistake you talking about short hair and how it should be constantly and properly groomed?

“…his clothing never detracts from the ladies in his company.”

Just needed clarification on this one. Do you mean that a man should be so stylish as to out do the ladies? What if the ladies are just poor dressers?

Thanks for your time. Can’t wait for part two. And that http://www.streetetiquette.com/ link is PERFECT for me. Thank you so much

19 MIKEY July 24, 2009 at 1:20 pm

I FOUND THESE REALLY COOL HAWAIIAN TYPE SHIRTS AT WALMART OF ALL PLACES.. THEY’RE MADE OF RAYON I THINK… VERY LIGHT AND AIRY AND NOT GAUDY… I LOVE THEM CAUSE THEY’RE COMFORTABLE AND THE WIFE LOVES THEM CAUSE ALL SHE HAS TO DO IS PLUCK THEM OUT OF THE DRYER AND PUT THEM ON A HANGER AND VIOLA! THEY’RE DONE! BEST PART… THEY STARTED OUT AT $9.00 A POP NOW MARKED DOWN TO $7.50 AND TO ME LOOK JUST AS GOOD AS THE $40-$60 VARIETY…. THEY’RE ALSO SUBDUED ENOUGH THAT I CAN WEAR THEM TO WORK WHERE WE HAVE A VERY CASUAL DRESS CODE… AS FAR AS LIGHT COLORED CLOTHING… I CAN GO WITH LIGHT COLORED SHORTS BUT GOTTA WEAR A DARK SHIRT OR VICE VERSA… ALL LIGHT AND I FEEL LIKE A HOSPITAL ATTENDANT OR AN GOOD HUMOR ICE CREAM MAN…

I ONCE WENT TO A FUNCTION IN SOUTHWEST FLORIDA WHICH CALLED FOR FORMAL TYPE DRESS.. I WORE A SUIT AND TIE… EVERYONE ELSE SHOWED UP IN POLO SHIRTS SHORTS AND SANDALS AND SNEAKERS…. COME TO FIND OUT “FORMAL” MEANT YOU ACTUALLY WEAR A SHIRT!

20 Jack July 24, 2009 at 2:23 pm

@MIKEY

Now I don’t think there is a specific rule here at AoM regarding caps but I wanted to respectfully point out that all caps in forums and the like are considered shouting. It may sound silly but its generally looked at as rude. On top of that it can be a little harder to read especially with the wrong font.

21 MIKEY July 24, 2009 at 2:47 pm

oops my bad i’m at work and i use caps for what i do

22 Eric July 24, 2009 at 3:46 pm

Unless you purposely want to get laughed at, no self-respecting man would EVER wear a short sleeve button-down shirt. Dwight Schrute wears short sleeve button-downs. Enough said.

23 Jack July 24, 2009 at 4:22 pm

@Mikey
No problem man! Make sense.

@ Eric

I used to have a thing against the short sleeve button down mainly because any of my long sleeves, I figured, could just be rolled up. My main thing against the short sleeve button down is that I was taught that it shows incompetence in the work place. Lately though I’ve been giving it a shot (not at work) and its not hard to pull off. Especially in this god awful weather.

24 Thad July 24, 2009 at 5:15 pm

@Antonio – Glad to hear that you will be covering hats in the next part. They are an important part of any summer wardrobe!

In general, I think that short sleeved button-down shirts can be worn but you need to be careful about the cut, fabric, and pattern. I love to wear them when I am out but then I do not have to go into an office or worry about business affairs being an academic.

Cheers!

25 Torrey July 24, 2009 at 5:28 pm

Really enjoyed this post. The main takeaway I got is that real men can look good and not compromise integrity. I get so tired of grown men trying to dress like their still in high school or college.

26 Phil C. July 24, 2009 at 6:28 pm

Whatever you do, if you decide to tuck in your shirt PLEASE wear a belt!

27 Mike July 24, 2009 at 7:14 pm

Stubb’s?? Is this author in Austin Tx perhaps??

28 CoffeeZombie July 24, 2009 at 9:36 pm

Okay, so, this was a great article, and all, and I’m glad that someone agrees with me that short-sleeve, button-down shirts are a viable option for men, but Mikey pointed out a very, very grave oversight here:

The Hawaiian Shirt

Oh, we may say “that’s to casual” or “too silly” or whatever, but how, I ask you, is the Hawaiian shirt more casual or silly than a t-shirt?

While my work environment precludes casual dress except for on Fridays, whenever I can you’ll see me rocking the Hawaiian shirt. With the straw hat. And, depending on my mood, I may actually be wearing slacks instead of jeans. And perhaps “boat shoes” (or whatever they’re called, casual summer shoes) or sandals.

But no tennis shoes. Tennis shoes are for working out. I wear them when working in the yard, also. But, that’s as far as that goes.

29 Pete July 24, 2009 at 11:08 pm

Re: wearing short sleeve button-ups for work, instead of polos….any suggestions on styles? I like short sleeve button shirts, and will wear them with jeans or shorts…but for work it’s usually polos or long sleeve button down shirts. I don’t know what it is, but I feel like the short sleeve button up shirts look funny tucked in. Maybe it’s the pant choice with them? Any suggestions?

30 Cowboy Bob July 25, 2009 at 9:56 am

@Mark H, I knew that pic would come back to haunt me. Yes, I wear bolo ties, cowboy hats and boots (hope we hear about cowboy boots in the next installment, since they seem to be making a comeback) to my office. In New York. I’m not a slave to fashion trends, just express myself as I see fit — except when it’s inappropriate, naturally. Didn’t dress like that for my father’s funeral.

31 Julian July 27, 2009 at 4:11 am

Excellent article! I’ll be using it as part of my style guide for years to come and while I’m picking up a few clothing items for the coming college semester year.

Now I finally understand why so many of my peers think I’m a horrible dresser. I feel a touch of anger towards my mom for not giving me good dressing advice…I can’t blame her too much though, she’s only trying to dress me to the image of what she wants me to be, too bad her image and my requirements are worlds apart!

Can’t wait for part 2. Try to get it out before August is up, I want to step back into university with style :-)

32 Chris Cruz July 27, 2009 at 1:46 pm

Since I’m in my mid 20′s now I’ve eliminated all my graphic T’s except for a few a work out in and switched them out for just plain great fitting solid color T shirts. I buy them at the Polo outlet and they’re only $10 a shirt so I’ve gotten multiple colors to match any outfit. I also do the same with polo shirts, I try to stay away from stripes and patterns. I like to buy Ralph Lauren Polo shirts because they NEVER go out of style. I’ve sold a few on Ebay that didn’t fit right and still sold for around $20 a shirt. With summer fashion it really helps to have a nice body since you cant really cover up your love handles with jackets and sweaters. Whenever I wear shorts I never tuck in my shirt. I just feel like a golfer when I tuck in my shirt with shorts. You can wear sneakers as long as they’re plain like Jack Purcells or some white Converse Chucks. A definite no no is denim shorts.

33 Ryan Waldron July 27, 2009 at 6:23 pm

Epidion,

For Seersucker Suits, I suggest Haspel, but if you can’t afford one from then, then get one from JoS. A. Bank usually sells them for around $150 at the end of the summer. That is where mine is from, and I’m quite happy with it (still would prefer a Haspel though!).

34 Ryan Waldron July 27, 2009 at 7:19 pm

Epidion,

Here are Haspel suit separates that will total up to less than $200. Jump on that now! http://www.belk.com/AST/Boutiques/Boutiques_Primary/Haspel.jsp

35 John M. Brown August 1, 2009 at 11:27 pm

Great stuff! So many men have never been taught how to dress appropriately for different occasions.

36 Antonio August 2, 2009 at 11:20 am

@ Mike
Lived there for 2 years while attending UT – oh, how I loved that town! Few places in the world can match the attitude of that place.

Antonio

37 Antonio August 2, 2009 at 11:31 am

Jack – I purposely worded it that way to not exclude men with longer hair. I’m simply saying you need to take care of what you have, whether you’re bald or have hair that reaches your backside, you need to take care of it and wear it appropriately (My Punjabi friends are masters at wearing a suit with long hair). And if the ladies are poor dressers…..well, just keep it simple and classic. It’s a fine line you have to walk here. And glad you liked the Street Etiquette link – those two young men have a great eye for street wear style.

38 Michael August 16, 2009 at 11:06 pm

I really enjoyed this entry. Is part two going to be posted? I am looking forward to reading what you have to say about the rest of summer dress.

39 mens jewellery September 29, 2009 at 1:00 pm

Hey, this is great! Ive been lookingfor articles on this summer dress thing i loved it.

40 Steven November 9, 2009 at 7:15 pm

I live in the American Southwestern desert. It’s 120F in the summer, and 80F in the winter. It seems a “summer” fashion guide is a year-round guide for me.

41 Jordan December 2, 2009 at 10:06 pm

Where’s How to Dress for Summer Part 2?? I would really like to see what you have to say about jeans and footwear, etc.

42 Esani February 21, 2010 at 1:56 pm

I like the attention given to the bicep circumference of short-sleeve dress shirts. This is a basic principle in beauty school. Never try to go beyong something that’s more than necessary. Would you really want to use more than two buckets of water for a two-bucket-size pail? You probably would, if you don’t have some good water hose system. But that’s certainly part of the topic.

–Esani of Esani Beauty School Atlanta
3348 Peachtree Road Northeast
Atlanta, GA 30326, United States
(404) 952-2244
Google listing should just be googled.

43 Boris April 3, 2010 at 11:44 am

Isn’t it the time for the second part? Summer is coming soon. Would really appreciate the sequel.

44 Will Novak May 17, 2010 at 2:32 am

Where’s part 2? I found Part 1 very helpful and here in the Sonoran Desert temperatures are already in the mid 90s with the 100s just around the corner and Id love to see Part 2 to get some good ideas on how to help battle the intense summer heat.

45 Nick June 25, 2010 at 9:29 am

Great article but I disagree with the short sheeve comments.

“The most under utilized shirt in a man’s wardrobe is the button-down short sleeve shirt. A step up from the polo, this shirt style is often avoided because of the difficulty in achieving a “great look.”"

I think its sadly the most overutilized shirt in a man’s wardrobe. I see guys who normally wear t-shirts wearing them at times that call for a good long sleeve or perhaps even a jacket. Also, many guys, who like me have longer arms, just not bother to find a long sleeve that fits and instead go for the short. Also, you mentioned how important fit is but I see too many guys, with a bigger belly, wearing this option because they think its looser fit is more forgiving than a long sleeve while instead the opposite is true.

46 Gabriel June 28, 2010 at 3:23 pm

Oh dear lord! Get your terminology right. You lose any credibility when you show that you don’t know what you’re talking about:

Button-down doesn’t mean what you think it does.

A button-down shirt has buttons that fasten the collar points to the front of the shirt. The short-sleeve shirt in the picture (with a collar that doesn’t button-down) is a button-front or button-up. Because the collar lays down, but isn’t fastened down, it is NOT a button-down. You’ll very rarely find a short-sleeved button-down shirt.

47 Gabriel June 28, 2010 at 3:28 pm

Ironically, the man in the seersucker suit pictured later in the article IS wearing a button-down shirt. If that was a more formal suit (wool instead of seersucker), then he would look foolish. Technically, a button-down shirt is not a dress shirt. The button-down collar is a sport shirt, first designed for polo players.

Button-down with sportcoat: OK.
Button-down with suit: not OK.

48 Bo Cappella July 3, 2010 at 11:45 am

The only short-sleeved, button front shirt I would ever wear is a Hawaiian shirt, the mainstay of tropical and sub -tropical menswear here in Florida. As well as being cool, comfortable, and colorful, un-tucked it does a great job of covering my side-arm, usually a Springfield Armory V-10 .45.

49 Mark F. July 3, 2010 at 4:32 pm

“COME TO FIND OUT “FORMAL” MEANT YOU ACTUALLY WEAR A SHIRT!”

Wow, “formal” used to mean a tuxedo or, alternatively, a dark suit with tie.

No gentlemen EVER appears in public without a shirt, unless he is at the beach or taking a dip in a swimming pool.

50 Steven July 3, 2010 at 9:53 pm

Nice article, but a few comments:

(1) Searsuckers are for colonel sanders and foghorn leghorn. Only wear one if you are in a friendly part of the South. Otherwise you will look ridiculous and distract others, undermining the point of gentlemen’s wear.

(2) The best summer dress shirt is the guayabera. If you are fit, look for a smaller size to give it a more tailored and upscale look. For work, in the contemporary US, a nice polo is often acceptable as business casual wear, but should only be resorted to if you know what you are doing, and are a good performer with a good reputation.

(3) Don’t wear antiperspirant. It’s bad for you, prevents natural sweating, and poisons you with unnecessary aluminum. Use only a deodorant (e.g. Arm&Hammer, Tom’s of Maine brand), and wear a V-Neck undershirt.

51 Dan July 3, 2010 at 9:57 pm

I would like to see a reasonable explanation for that look in which middle-aged men wear a T-shirt beneath an un-bloused button-down long-sleeve shirt, open at the front with the sleeves rolled up. It typifies the men I see in TV ads, and in my opinion is emblematic of emasculation. Maybe these ads are actually aimed at women who enjoy seeing the men whose buying decisions they make emasculated, or maybe the products are aimed at effeminate men. In either case, is this what manhood has degenerated to in America, or is the media/Hollywood/advertising cabal of sissies trying to subvert manliness?

52 SteveO July 4, 2010 at 12:24 am

you completely forgot about silk. I have two silk suits, one blue with red and light blue stripes and one in khaki that are my summer best. The dark one for warm nights, the khaki for the days. I dress up and down with the polo or button up shirt and tie.
they also travel well and never need ironing, the girls love them!

53 blacksmith July 4, 2010 at 1:39 pm

I’d first like to say that I’m NOT a “well dressed” man at all.
Levi 501 shrink-to-fit and a tshirt or -if dressing up- a polo shirt
have been virtually the only thing I’ve worn for almost 4 decades.
My “funeral/wedding/interview” clothes get very very little wear.

All that being said, there are plenty of men out there who have the
desire -and often need- to dress well, if not all the time, then at
least on occasion. While I know what looks good when I see it, I’ve
never had the ability to put the package together for myself without
a great deal of pain and outside advice.

This series of articles goes a long way toward providing an education
on the subject in the event that the desire and/or need to class up
our act comes along.

If I’ve guessed correctly about what the “serious website” mentioned by
the other poster, -probably the same one that directed me here for the
first time many weeks ago- I’d have to say that maybe the poster should
consider the fact that -as much as some of us might want to fight it-
society DOES make initial judgements based on dress and looks.
(I like it no better than he does, but facts are facts.)

In the event that we are ever called on to speak in public or to a member of
society that DOES have to dress well as part of their job, (possibly to spread
a message and make our views known), dressing well will go a long way toward
having that message taken seriously.

If nothing else, articles like this are valuable tools to use when needed,
even if we have little interest or use for them at other times.

Thank you for an excellent series of articles and another thank you to the
editors of the website that brought me here for bringing this article to my
attention. We may not need the information today, but who knows what
tomorrow may bring!

54 Johnny Petraborg July 8, 2010 at 12:06 pm

I’d encourage the author to try bamboo fabrics. Another natural fiber that is naturally antibacterial, super soft, wears great and has many of cotton’s wicking properties. Tommy Bahama has some really nice (if you can afford them) button down bamboo short sleeve shirts.

55 Caleb Gardner July 10, 2010 at 11:44 am

Agree with most of this, but disagree on two fronts: I think a short sleeve button up shirt is almost always more casual than the wearer intends, and I vehemently disagree with always wearing an undershirt. If you’re not wearing a tie, I think being able to see an undershirt makes you look childish, unconfident. I go like the Italians: no tie, no undershirt.

Now, for those who sweat profusely, this may not be an option. But I’d suggest to try using a deodorant supplement like Certain Dri before going the undershirt route.

56 B. W. Blackwood July 23, 2010 at 7:05 pm

I thought the short sleeve button up shirt example was a little weak. I would suggest this one: http://hisfashioneye.buy.co.uk/files/2008/11/lacoste.jpg

I would highly suggest avoiding the 1950′s bowler looking shirt. It looks cheap and is less versatile because most people will shun it as too casual.

57 Phillip Bass April 17, 2013 at 10:25 am

Dear Sir:
My late Father who was stationed in tropical climates, used to wear a shirt/short sleeve jacket that tropical political leaders wore in place of sports coats. What is the name of this shirt/jacket?
Thank you.

58 Lee June 18, 2013 at 12:50 pm

Short-sleeved button up shirts should be a capital crime, and the person who first developed them should be quietly buried in an unmarked grave. Seriously, buy a long sleeve shirt and roll the sleeves up, instead of looking like your base your dress on kindergarten!

59 nonamesinenomine March 6, 2014 at 8:45 am

whats all this cotton nonsence? 100 percent cotton? for your undershirt? no thanks it doesn’t take a genius to know that’s a bad idea .. cotton gets wet and stays wet.. ive heard you want loose fitting moisture wicking materials… and a nice mix of silk or linen or even hemp I heard was a good material for hot humid summers

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