Warmer weather and longer days are two tell-tale signs that Summer is near. But, like every season, Summer calls for its own brand of fashion and style that has rules and guidelines just like Winter or Spring. That’s where we come in: we’re writing this guide now so that by the time Summer has officially begun, you will be ready to rock perfect Summer looks, whether you’re at dinner with coworkers or at a dock party with friends. Here at HARTTER | MANLY, we specialize in suits, but we’ll also take some time in this guide to give you some pointers on more casual looks as well.
For the more casual of Summer days, there are a number of staple pieces to keep in your wardrobe. For your upper half, stick with a chambray or a seersucker shirt. Chambray, a thin cotton plain-weave fabric, is an excellent choice for Summer, as is seersucker, also a thin cotton fabric, though it sits further away from the skin due to puckering in the fabric, so your Summer days are as comfortable as possible. Use these fabrics in lighter colors for a casual-cool look. Another staple is the Cuban collar shirt – an open, notch-lapel shirt collar, short sleeves, and a boxy shape, usually constructed from cotton, like most Summer shirt staples.
For your bottom half, try a pair of Chinos – a twill-weave trouser that is lighter and more breathable than your standard jeans. If you want to dress up a bit but keep your look comfortable in the Summer heat, go for a pair of linen pants. There’s a reason light-colored linen pants are a staple of Summer weddings.
If it happens to be on the breezier side, you’ve got options for outerwear, too. A tried-and-true staple is the overshirt, also known as the shirt-jacket. These are essentially button-up shirts made of a thicker material than your average shirt. They’re not too bulky, and fly under the radar in most situations. Another option is the bomber jacket. The bomber jacket is often leather, with a ribbed, gathered waistband and matching cuffs. It’s great for windy days, but is not hooded, so it’s not as great for rain. If there’s a chance of Summer showers in your neck of the woods, try an Anorak – a water-proof, hooded pull-over. It offers protection from the elements and can be worn with most casual Summer looks.
For footwear, there are a number of styles you can go for, depending on the situation. If it’s a more casual day, some light-colored low-top sneakers are a great bet. Going super-casual and spending a lot of time outside? Gotta love Birkenstocks; the strappy sandal staple. Heading to a dock party? Boat loafers, no socks, is your best bet.
For More Formal Summer Wear…
Got a wedding to go to? A business dinner? You can stay formal in the Summer warmth, you just have to approach your wardrobe a bit differently. The seersucker fabric we mentioned above can also be made into suits, so a seersucker suit is quite obviously the most common Summer formal wear. It does tend to sit on the more casual side of formal wear, but it is still a viable option. You can wear linen trousers for a more formal look, and you’ll typically want to wear your trousers in a lighter color.
Full linen suits are made, but in the Summer, you can typically get away with wearing light-colored linen trousers, a button-up, and a complementary sport coat. Summer warmth gives you a bit more leeway in formal situations, which means you can rock a look made up of separates. If you prefer darker looks but still want to fit in with Summer fashion, you can wear a darker sport coat and keep your pants and shirt on the lighter side. Accessorize with darker touches as well, like your tie, pocket square, or shoes.
To go all-out for Summer formal wear, you still want to keep it simple. A single-breasted, two-button suit, with a simple notch lapel is a timeless look. Cotton-linen blends are preferred for their temperature mitigating properties, but if you want to go classic, Merino wool is a great option as it’s lighter-weight. The colors you choose will be down to the occasion: evening or more formal events almost always call for darker colors.
Depending on where you live, the Summer months can be pleasantly warm or absolutely sweltering. You don’t have to suffer through Summer events in stifling, sweat-inducing fabrics: we’ve laid out these pointers for how to stay comfortable and look great during the Summer months.
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