Composure. It is one of the distinguishing marks of a gentleman. Poise under pressure makes you stand out as a leader, professional and even as a personal confidant. The thing about this inner strength is that it is one of few virtues that shows from the outside in. You could be the calming presence or grounded thinker someone needs, but if you look uneasy or uncomfortable, they would never know. As the temperature rises, it gets harder to look cool and stay cool, but don’t sweat. Here are some options that will help you maintain your composure and beat the heat this season.
Linen Suits & Suit Separates
Leave the wool suits and blazers in your closet. Between the heavy fabric and lining, you will be baking in the sun. Linen and cotton are lightweight fabrics that breathe. Linen suits tend to be the lightest, but can wrinkle easily. A linen/cotton blend is the best of both worlds with the structure and hold of cotton but the ventilation of linen. Tan, khaki or cream colors are most common, but you could also opt for shades of gray or blue for more versatility. Although we are not fans of fashion “rules,” the general guideline is the darker your complexion, the lighter the colors you should wear, and vice versa. Wearing a color that is too close to your skin tone causes the two to wash out. Contrast makes the outfit stand out. Other more casual lightweight fabrics to consider are chambray and seersucker.
Chinos and dockers are versatile bottoms that you can mix and match with blazers and vests. Keep in mind that the look should have some coordination to tie it all together, whether a tie or even just a belt/shoe combo.
One of the major factors to consider with a linen suit is price. Because it’ is linen, not an all-season suit, you do not want to break the bank on it. With seven different colors to choose from and a friendly price point, this two-button two-piece suit is a solid option. It is a linen/cotton blend, so it will breathe without wrinkling too easily. Now, buying a suit online is a bit like a blind date, it could go well, or you could discover that the manufacturer was “working the angles” in the product photos. But the price is such that you can take a risk and then enlist your tailor to get the right fit.
This 100 percent linen suit is constructed beautifully with a notch lapel and side vents. Half lining provides all the support needed for structural integrity while leaving portions of the jacket unlined for even more ventilation. The fit runs long in the sleeves so those will need to shortened by your tailor but the material and construction is surprising for the price. Because it is 100 percent linen, give it some space in your closet to avoid wrinkles.
With just about every color, shade, and size imaginable, these 100% percent cotton pants are versatile to complete any look comfortably. You can dress them up with a collared shirt or blazer, or down with a tee or henley.
Be mindful that with linen pants, the same separation between fibers that lets the air in also increases their “see through” quality. Be sure to wear light underwear to avoid a stark contrast that would be the male equivalent of a “panty-line.”
Vests & Waistcoats
The vest is a sleek piece that allows you to layer without the weight and heat, while leaving your arms free. Any fabric will allow you to breathe because with only your torso covered, simply unbuttoning the vest will keep you cool.
From $33.99, you can choose from an assortment of colors and styles. The sizes run small, so pay special attention to the measurements in the size information. A unique feature is the chest pocket with a sewn-in white pocket square, allowing you to either complete your look subtly or tuck it in to accessorize with a different small square.
Suit Sans Tie
There is an emerging trend to wear suits without the ties, with either a button-down shirt or even a t-shirt beneath the jacket. Depending on the office culture or situation, it can be done and gives you most of the seriousness of a suit without the constricted feeling of a necktie. One tip to tie this look together without a tie is to match your shirt with a pocket square for a cohesive and coordinated look.
Shirts & Sleeve Roll
Whether they come from working hard or playing hard, sweat stains are almost inevitable in summer. Shirt collars are especially prone to soaking up perspiration and sealing it in. These stains can be unsightly and even break down your garments over time. Disposable Collar Protectors or Collar Guards are crafty solutions to protect collars from permanent sweat stains. We especially recommend them for the summer months.
We have all seen the sweaty businessmen on subways with the desperately loosened ties and unbuttoned shirt collars sloppily trying to cool down. This, my friends, is not a good look. To avoid feeling choked and uncomfortable, the first step is to wear a shirt with the right neck size. For less than five dollars, or by going through your dad’s toolbox the next time you are home, you can pick up some measuring tape to get the most accurate measurements. Or, as a general rule of thumb, you should be able to slip your index and middle fingers comfortably between your collar and neck when sizing.
Whether you are wearing a vest or not, a proper sleeve roll (or sleeve fold) is another measure that can help you cool down without losing composure. The following method is sometimes called the J. Crew sleeve roll because of its use in the company’s catalogs. Simply unbutton the shirt buttons around your wrist and forearm, then fold the end of the cuff up just above the elbow. After that, fold one more time to bring top of the folded fabric up to the cuff, just above the elbow. This roll does not come untucked and has the added benefit of looking damn cool. If you are saving a pedestrian from being run down in the street and need the extra mobility, you can fold one more time to bring everything above the elbow, but that is usually not necessary (folding twice, not saving the pedestrian, that is necessary).