How to Escape the Summer Heat Yet Still Dress Stylish

June 21, 2017

There’s no sugarcoating it– Nashville’s (and the South in general) humidity in the summer is miserable. If you’re like me, you sweat…a lot. I’m not embarrassed by it. Sweating is natural and everyone does it. Some just sweat more than others. I love to wear suits and sport coats (obviously), but during the warmer months I’m incredibly discouraged to.

Here are a few tips to dress your best in the summer heat:

1. Select a lighter-weight sport coat/blazer/suit jacket

When purchasing suits/sport coats/blazers off-the-rack, most people do not take into consideration the weight of the fabric. To me, this is one of the most important aspects. The weight of the fabric is measured in grams or ounces. Fabric weights that you can wear year-round range from around 200-300 grams. I try to stick to the lighter side- around 240 grams- but am also comfortable in 280 grams (depending on how hot it is outside). I recently sold a sport coat that was 120 grams. To me, the lighter the better. You can always add layers or wear an overcoat in the winter if your jacket is lighter in weight– you can only remove so many layers in the summer.

Linen is your safest option. According to style laws, you’re not allowed to wear linen (as well as summer whites, eyelet, seersucker, or plaid madras) before Memorial Day/after Labor Day. These “laws” didn’t take into consideration that in the South (particularly Middle TN), it’s not uncommon to have an 80 degree Christmas.

2. Customize your suit jacket/sport coat/blazer to be unlined, quarter-lined, or half-lined

A lot of people are unaware jackets without linings exist. The reasoning is because they are used to purchasing jackets off-the-rack where they’re not given this option. When customizing your jacket with Richards Bespoke, I give you the option of how you’d like to line your jacket. Regardless of season, some of my clients choose to have their jackets half-lined year-round.

The only issue with not having a fully-lined jacket is durability. The back of your jacket is more prone to wrinkles without the canvassing/liner. The canvas and liner also help keep the structure of the jacket– thus making it more durable. This is a compromise you’re going to have to live with if you want to stay cool.

3. Select lighter weight fabric for shirts

Like jackets, when purchasing a shirt you need to take into consideration the weight of it. Poplin and Twill are popular lighter weight fabrics and you can never go wrong with linen. Despite what you may think, Wool can be a viable option as well. If you select a lightweight 100% Wool fabric, you should be OK. Lighter weight fabrics also dry faster in the event you do sweat.

A few tips to help select the right fabric:
– Feel the weight of the cloth: What you feel is what you get with shirt fabrics. Unlike jackets, there is no liner or canvassing.

– Hold it up to the light: If you can see through the fabric, this is a good sign.

– Select lighter colors: If it’s spring or summer, you don’t need to be wearing darker colors anyways. Whites are always the best option because they don’t show sweat as much. Light blues/purples/pinks can be hazardous depending upon the level of sweat. If you would still like to add some color to the shirt, select a pattern (such as gingham) that is either 50/50 white vs. color or more white than color.

4. Stay away from cotton undershirts

An undershirt can be a blessing and a curse. I, for one, am not a fan of undershirts. Undershirts may hide the fact that you are perspiring but at the same time they can make you warmer. When necessary, I wear Tommy John undershirts. You’ve probably seen their Facebook Ads– and for a reason. They are made of 90% Non-Pilling Micro Modal/10% Spandex that is lighter in weight and holds in sweat (think Nike Dri-Fit or Under Armour material). You can purchase these undershirts here.

5. Never wear/store your jacket in the car

If you’re in and out of your car all day (perhaps in a sales role), hang your jacket up or lay it across the backseat. If you are going into the office or somewhere you won’t be needing to wear your jacket for a long period of time, DO NOT keep your jacket in the car. When it comes time to put your jacket on, the temperature of your jacket will be the temperature of your car– Thus making you even hotter. Hang your jacket in your office or wherever you are.

PSA: One should never wear their jacket in a car regardless of the temperature outside. It causes the back of your jacket to wrinkle and will hold in heat during the warmer months.

6. Carry a handkerchief in your inside jacket pocket or back pants pocket

Will this keep you cooler? No. But if you do happen to start sweating you can use it to wipe off your forehead, face, etc. It’s the gentlemanly thing to do and you don’t want to use your coat/shirt sleeve.

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