With beautiful weather comes a more relaxed attitude that translates into flexible dress codes that lean towards comfort and summer weather utility. Even though temps may be rising toward 100 degrees you can’t afford to have the heat cost you a valuable first impression.
Here are a few ways to look great for work in the summer heat.
Hot Weather Dressing General Guidelines – Summed up in two words: Clean & Lightweight
Clean: Showered, well groomed and dressed in stain free clothing. You will perspire in the summer heat, but you need to be prepared. Knowing that you will perspire, you want to be ahead of body odor and any sign of beads of sweat that may run down your face as you rush into a meeting. To avoid those things make sure you use an antiperspirant deodorant and carry a clean handkerchief with you to wipe away any beads of sweat. Have a change of clothes on hand just in case you can’t take the heat and need to regroup to look your best.
Lightweight: Clothes made of breathable weaves in light natural fibers like: cotton, linen and light wool blends in light colors will help keep you cool.
Best Summer Shirt Styles
The Short Sleeve Polo
If you work in a business casual office or casual Friday work place then the polo shirt is probably already part of your weekly attire. It has become standard casual attire for men. Polo’s come in a large variety of colors, prints and patterns. Choose ones that fit your style but don’t drawl too much attention to you. Stay away from ones with large logo’s branded on the chest. Not all polos are made of 100% cotton, some have a small amount of synthetic fabrics that can trap heat and make you sweat more.
The Long Sleeve Dress Shirt
It’s 90 degrees out and you have no choice but to wear a dress shirt; select ones in light colors or lightly patterned fabric that shows off your individuality and doesn’t make you blend in with the sea of white dress shirts. Don’t just think that all 100% cotton shirts are alike, weaves and lightweights allow heat to escape from the body and keep you cool.
Rolling the sleeves versus wearing a short sleeve dress shirt: A long sleeve shirt rolled up to the mid-forearm is a very stylish look preferred by many over the short sleeve button-up. If your work environment allows it as the day progresses and the jackets come off and the ties become relaxed it’s okay to roll up your sleeves. If you’re on an interview or just learning the office dress code, it’s best to keep it all professional.
The Summer Jacket
Summer Jacket Fabrics
Cotton: Provides strength and durability in a summer jacket, helping you stay cool and providing years of wear. Tropical weight wools are another hot weather alternative. They are a bit warmer and do require professional cleaning.
Seersucker: a Southern Summer tradition most commonly made from cotton in a striped pattern (blue, brown, gray.) It is an incredibly breathable fabric that allows air to move through with ease.
Linen: This is a fabric made from a plant based fiber and has the perfect summer characteristics of wicking away moisture and dissipating heat. Linen fabrics are often rougher and easily wrinkle, making them the least casual of summer jacket.
Cotton Chinos: Made of a looser weave that allows more air to flow between the fabric and your legs. The fit of the chino plays a big part in keeping you cool and styled. Chinos should always sit right at the waist and correctly fit; not too big or not too tight, chinos can be worn without a break in the hem and are often shorter than dress pants.
Dress Pants: Tropical wools or high end cotton weaves should be your fabric of choice for the summer months. They provide the best lower body coverings for summer; lightweight and breathable. Cotton is usually less expensive, more durable, and found in more lively colors, but may not be the best style for your body type.
Three Must-Haves to Beat the Heat:
Handkerchief: keep your face dry and avoid a collection of dirty smelly tissues in your pocket.
An undershirt: Always wear a 100% cotton undershirt no matter what type of shirt you are wearing. A cotton undershirt protects the outer layer from sweat and fabric staining antiperspirants.
Bring a change of clothes: Although it requires a bit of forethought, bringing an extra set of clothing to change into can enable you to look your best as the day’s events unfold. There is nothing like breaking up a hot day with a cool shower and then changing into a new set of clothing. You’ll be refreshed and reinvigorated.