Deciding on men’s summer outfits can paradoxically seem like a tricky choice. In this detailed guide, we cover considerations for men’s summer attire, including fabric, fit & color, in addition to 10 men’s summer outfit ideas and how to accessorize summer wear!
As that crisp, cool breeze delicately balanced against that pleasant, warmer climate starts to transition towards enervating, energy zapping heat that leaves you ironically clambering around for the upcoming Fall & Winter seasons, the transition from spring to summer can seem replete with difficulties.
And adding to that ever growing list of grievances as each passing day seems to imbue you with a new sense of dread, is the decision fatigue around what to wear to look clean, crisp, and above all, smart & dapper during the summer months. How do you flip convention on its head – the outdated notion that dressing well should simply be reserved for cooler or more pleasant climates?
Courtesy of www.bewakoof.com
Well, we are hear to solve that sartorial rubik’s cube and break the conundrum apart, so that you can continue look suave, sassy and dare I say, sartorially inclined during what are often the most dreaded months of the year – if at the very least, stylistically speaking.
Again, dressing clean and crisp during the summer months does not have to entail simply replacing a woolen suit with a cotton or seersucker one. From fashionable and stylistic short / polo combinations to strutting your favorite white chinos, we will cover summer outfit combinations that you can pull off with aplomb this season.
Courtesy of www.hespokestyle.com
In this detailed summer outfits guide, we will cover the types of fabrics to consider, the range of colors to choose from, summer season fit and our ten best men's summer outfit ideas for you to draw inspiration from! Finally, we will break down accessorizing your summer ensembles.
The ideal summer wardrobe essentially boils down to three indisputable factors:
- Appropriate, breathable fabrics
- Lighter / pastel colors
- A relaxed fit
Summer time is all about embracing lighter, breathable fabrics. Try adopting your fall season clothing for the spring & summer seasons, and you will quickly realize that they were designed with insulative properties – that is, to trap heat and keep you warm. And those very same qualities can quickly turn an otherwise suave ensemble into that experience from hell, ensuring that you’re dripping with heat like you’ve just walked out of a damn sauna.
Scratch that. Summertime fabrics will are accompanied by a looser, open weave allowing heat to escape and keep you looking and feeling cool.
A secondary benefit to utilizing a range of summer fabrics is that each of these fabrics have a unique texture. Sometimes, when clothing options seem limited, incorporating a variety of summer fabrics into otherwise commonplace ensembles introduces a sense of flair and textural depth that you wouldn’t see otherwise.
The mother of all summer fabrics, cotton is incredibly flexible and breathable. Whilst cotton is breathable, it has a tighter weave than summer counterparts such as linen, resulting in a more sturdy fabric that is less susceptible to creasing.
Cotton works well with button-down dress shirts, polos and t-shirts, in addition to casual pants such as chinos. Smart, dressier shorts can also be of the cotton variety.
Courtesy of www.llbean.com
It is likely that the majority of your summer pieces will be comprised of cotton.
Linen is derived from the flax plant, and is a common summer alternative to cotton. This means that anywhere you find cotton, you will likely see a linen variation. Linen fabrics are constructed with an open, breathable weave that lends to an extremely easy, airy wearing experience. This fabric breathability is absolutely critical during the summer months, which is why dressier items such as summer time suits are typically offered in linen.
Courtesy of www.pinterest.com
A downside of a more breathable, open woven fabric is that it creases easily. However, this added wrinkle (pun intended) is what can accentuate that ultimate relaxed, effortless chic summer aesthetic!
Linen fabrics are typically offered through button down dress shirts, polos and t-shirts. With regards to lower body wear, chinos are sometimes offered in linen, as are dressier shorts.
Finally, linen suits make for an extremely persuasive dapper summer look during the warmer months!
Tropical / Lighterweight Woolen Fabrics
While the term ‘wool’ more often conjures up images of rugged tundra than intensely hot summer heat in the Arizona desert, lighter weight woolen fabrics are ideal for summer months.
Similar to cotton and linen, lighter weight woolen fabrics are designed to be worn specifically in the summer. It is for this reason that a bespoke tailor will often point out that while Super 150’s (finer yarn woolen suits) are often of higher quality, they are also best suited towards warmer months as they are lighter by nature and hence less insulative.
Tropical / lighter weight woolen suits are great for dressing dapper without sacrificing (vs cotton or linen) the requisite sheen and fabric polish that you see with their fall / winter season counterparts.
While any mention of the forbidden word ‘synthetic’ can often yield looks of contempt from your ‘fashion forward’ snobbish friends, embracing fabrics that are not entirely natural can often help with keeping away that heat during the summer months.
Moreover, today, synthetics are made primarily of natural byproducts, making them more sustainable.
Either way, synthetic fabrics can be ideal during the summer months, especially by providing an answer to fabric wrinkling that is typically associated with fabrics such as linen and to a lesser extent cotton.
The warmer season is the perfect opportunity to embrace color variation. Given that layering is typically difficult to accomplish during the summer months, introducing color variation is an easy way to spruce up your ensembles.
While it is easy to default to neutral, darker colors such as navy, greys and black during the fall & winter seasons, summer time allows your ensembles to pop with splashes of color, with more sunlight simply making outfits seem more dynamic.
Pastels are a great way to accentuate that summer look! Courtesy of www.regalgentleman.com
A key component of dressing well for the spring / summer months is to simply add a ‘tint’ or essentially a lighter variant of the darker colors that you wear during the fall & winter months i.e lighter blue, lighter greys, lighter browns (beige or khaki). Hence, eschewing brighter colors such as pink or yellow is possible for those of you that are more conservatively inclined with your dress sensibilities.
Less traditional pastels such as lilac can work incredibly well during the summer months! Courtesy of www.southernscholar.com
However, for those of you that like to experiment with larger doses of color – embracing stronger pastels such as green, pink, lilac or yellow can certainly spice up your ensembles. The trick is to incorporate one or two colors maximum into your ensemble, counterbalancing them with neutrals such as a white, off white or light grey item to seamlessly pull the ensemble together.
Contrary to what we’ve been preaching on this blog for the better part of ten years, fit, as paramount as it is, is not the most crucial aspect of dressing well during the summer months.
Summer is generally one of the few times where it is considered apropos to loosen up on your fit a bit. After all, what good is fit if it serves to work against any functional benefit, especially when a looser, airy fit is going to work wonders regarding your comfort.
Men’s Summer Attire should ideally have a bit more room. Courtesy of www.mensjournal.com
Opt for roomier cuts. Give your skin some room to breathe – with a relaxed t-shirt or a buttoned down dress shirt. Looking for clothing with a ‘relaxed cut’ label will allow you to dress well and feel comfortable at the same time – and who wouldn’t want that as the temperature starts to notch up on the daily?
Opting for a relaxed cut can afford you more breathing room while also fitting properly in all the important areas, like length of the body and sleeve.
Paying Attention To Details
A quick way of adding dimension to your summer attire is to accessorize. Paying attention to your belt, watch, sunglasses or jewelry (bracelets, rings etc) can instantly elevate your look, without much requisite effort. It is important, however, to pay attention to fabrics, colors & styles so as to keep your look coordinated.
10 Best Summer Outfit Ideas
1. Summer Classic
Few things are as classic and timeless as dress shorts and a polo shirt. Ensure that the fit of both works well, and try and keep your color palette to a minimum. Off whites, whites, light browns or light to mid greys can work extremely effectively here.
A classic summer look featuring navy shorts & a white polo shirt. Courtesy of www.lookastic.com
Minimal color coordination and well fitted clothing leads to a classic look here. A definitely must have in your summer capsule wardrobe.
2. Summer Striped (Breton) Shirts
Few shirts scream summer like the Breton does. A classic design originally utilized by French Sailors so that they would be easily spotted, the Breton striped shirt is the perfect match for relaxed chinos and canvas sneakers.
Tuck in your Breton for a smartened up aesthetic, or leave it untucked for a more casual vibe!
Breton Shirts provide a timeless, classic summer look. Courtesy of www.pinterest.com
3. White Trousers
While white trousers can be difficult to pull off, they are best suited towards spring / summer seasons for good reason. While white chinos can work incredibly well with navy blazers for a tailored look, they can also be dressed down with a polo shirt or a lighter weight linen jacket.
Opt for the latter and bookend the look with casual loafers for a smart, casual, dapper summertime look!
White Chinos….bold, yet emphatic summer style. Courtesy of www.pinterest.com
As mentioned above, summer is an ideal time to incorporate color into your wardrobe. Start by incorporating lighter pastel tones of light blue, light pink, light green or light purple (lilac). Pastel colors can work incredibly well when paired with smart shorts.
Building your look from the ground up, a pair of white sneakers, paired with chino shorts in a block, understated color (think navy), and relatively well fitted, lighter colored shirt. This can include a solid dress shirt in a block color or something incorporating a subtle print.
Pastels. Key to establishing a great summer look! Courtesy of www.crewclothing.co.uk
5. Bold Summer Prints
Few articles of clothing attest to that perfect summer vibe like bolder prints. A printed shirt is a warm weather must have, especially if you are looking to make an impression.
Looking for the perfect pairing option for that unique, bold print? Opt for chinos in white or khaki to really stand out. Cuffing them will make that look even more sublime!
Courtesy of www.pinterest.com
6. All White
Unless your syndicate is being chased by the DEA all over Miami, all white may seem like a definitive no-no in the summer months.
While they can be worn during the summer months, we suggest mixing in an off white like beige, or a Breton shirt, to help balance the look. If you must insist on all white, it should be strutted with a fedora at night – and on south beach only!
7. Monochromatic Tones
Looking for that perfect summer look, but are refraining from diving headfirst into unchartered territories of bolder color coordination? How about employing a monochromatic color sequence. Navy shorts with a light blue tee or polo. Or, another timeless classic: khaki or brown shorts with an off white t-shirt.
Chic, classy & casual all at once. And above all else, effortless.
Monochromatic Tones are an effortless, seamless look to pull off during the summer months! Courtesy of www.lookbook.nu
8. Tuck In That Tee
Looking for something elegant yet casual enough that it exudes effortless chic? A well fitted t-shirt, tucked into a pair of chinos or trousers will undoubtedly accomplish said mission during summer season. This lighter fabric attire will ensure that you are not sweating profusely throughout the day!
Tucking in that tee makes for a great summer look! Courtesy of www.stylevore.com
9. Summer Suits
While the idea of summer tailored suits seems anathema to everything related to comfort during the warmer months, fabric choice, as mentioned above, can go a long way towards helping you look suave and put together, while maintaining composure during the stifling heat.
Summer Suits in fabrics such as cotton, linen or seersucker can go a long way towards ensuring that you not only look the part, but remain comfortable while doing so.
Courtesy of www.hiconsumption.com
A great alternative to linen and cotton suits during the summer months is seersucker. A suiting staple in the southern gentleman’s wardrobe, seersucker suits have come to personify casual chic.
Popular on summer weekends, derby meets and other formal events, the seersucker suit will ensure that you stand out, alluding to your ability to dress well even when the weather may seem restrictive!
The term seersucker hails from India, where it was known as ‘Shir-O-Shakar’, which in persian translates to ‘Milk or Sugar’ – referencing the contrasting nature of the fabric, which is smooth yet crinkled.
Seersucker Suits exude relaxed debonair style. Courtesy of www.pinterest.com
Seersucker is a light weight, crinkled, striped summer fabric comprising of puckered cotton. The stripes allow air into the fabric, helping you too keep cool.
Seersucker’s light weight cotton properties make it ideal for summer months and allow for some incredibly striking color schemes.
10. Summer Separates
Looking to make an impression without the fully blown sartorial experience? Cue summer separates. Allowing for more creativity than a traditional suiting look, separates may just be your thing.
A mismatched blazer and pair of pants is more experimental will allow you to make an impactful statement.
Separates can make an emphatic statement! Courtesy of www.dmarge.com
Dressing for a summer wedding? An off white pair of trousers with a navy or grey jacket will have looking the part and then some!
Accessorizing Your Summer Look
As alluded to above, accessorizing your summer attire is a quick and surefire way to spruce up your look! Here are some accessories that we think work particularly well during summer months:
Stackable Beaded Bracelets
Beaded bracelets exude charm, stylistic points and summer wearability all at once. Multiple beaded bracelets stacked together? Now that’s a winner. Add in a stack of white, light browns, light creams or light blue bracelets to your wrist game, and you’ll quickly elevate your look by a few notches.
Nautical Themed Bracelets
Nothing quite conjures up images of the summer season like sailing or boat trips do. An anchor clasp bracelet references the summer months perfectly, and is hence highly appropriate during the summer months.
Courtesy of www.etsy.com
As we’ve hammered home over and over in this article, adopting breathable fabrics during the summer months is paramount to your level of comfort. As such, we highly recommend wearing knit ties as an alternative. Knitted ties are characterized by an open, knitted weave (as the name suggests) and square ends, resulting in a less formal aesthetic.
Knitted ties are therefore not only easier to wear during the summer months given that the fabric is more breathable, but they also help provide a more relaxed look to what may otherwise be a stuffy, overtly formal ensemble.
Courtesy of www.gq.com
In addition to providing textural variation, knit ties are offered in a range of patterns, namely: horizontal stripes, polka dot and anchor patterns. While all three can work great during the summer months, we think polka dot and anchor patterned ties work particularly well given there more playful vibe.
Linen / Cotton Ties
Similar to Knit Ties, linen / cotton ties can work wonders during the spring / summer seasons. Whether you are accessorizing a suit at a summer wedding, or just strutting your stuff around town, a linen or cotton tie can inject your attire with extra flair and pop.
Cotton ties, in particular, are often offered with floral prints, which makes for perfect summer wear!
Please feel free to view The Dark Knot's exquisite range of cotton ties.
Linen / Cotton Pocket Squares
Few items can significantly enhance an outfit like a pocket square can. While silk pocket squares can be worn year round, linen or cotton pocket squares look particularly good during the summer months, helping accentuate that summer vibe!
Please feel free to view The Dark Knot's range of stunning linen pocket squares!
Linen Pocket Squares. Sprucing up that summer ensemble! Courtesy of www.bespokeedge.com
Looking for some extra flair and panache? Consider The Dark Knot’s Linen Pocket Squares, with hand rolled contrasting edges providing further sophistication.
Men’s Colorful Socks
As a general rule of thumb, the less formal your attire, the bolder your socks combinations can be. Given that, summer months are the perfect time to be incorporating some wild, colorful socks into your outfits!
Whether you are simply looking to add a splash of color, or to go downright full throttle and add in some extra bold patterns, summer season is the time to do it!
Courtesy of www.realmenrealstyle.com
And that’s a wrap for this one! We hope that you have enjoyed reading this as much as we have writing it!