The summer solstice is upon us and along with the sunshine and warmth that is its trademark — unless of course you live in the Emerald city like this writer where the appearance of rain is as constant as a Starbucks — brings the need for a change of wardrobe. Yes, a nice three piece wool suit or vest with trousers will certainly display your dapper style but in the summertime it will also communicate an utter lack of common sense, as sweat stains make the most deplorable of accessories to a Gentleman’s wardrobe. So what then is a true gentleman to do? Is he to sacrifice his impeccable taste in clothing and be forced to conform to wearing the rags of the masses simply because he has the good fortune of living in the Northern Hemisphere, June through August? Not in the least. In true Darwinian fashion, no pun intended, he must simply adapt.
The summertime is when the gentleman engages in what the French call degage. That means studied nonchalance to the rest of us. This is a combination of the comfort stimulating qualities of a warm climate and the complex demands of a gentleman’s profession. Unfortunately most of us can not completely have our wardrobe descend into a routine of tank tops and board shorts even if we wanted to; I can only hope that that is not the want for anyone reading this. In a professional setting the summer is the opportune time to break out suits and business dress that is made out of lighter fabrics. This is the time for the cotton and seersucker to take center stage. These light fabrics allow your skin to breath which leaves you cooler throughout the day. The Kentucky Derby is a perfect example of a collection of these fabrics as the majority of spectators dress in cotton and seersucker for both tradition and necessity. Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren also have a tremendous selection of suits made out of these materials. Another option in the summer time that has long been forgotten is the garbardine suit which is simply a blend of tightly woven cotton and rayon. It gives the wearer a very unique and slick look and is only proper during hot months or a Caribbean vacation. A nice linen suit will work as well as long as it fits the traditional business colors of navy, black and brown, any other color in regards to linen is seen as being suitable for a remake of Miami Vice.
For those looking for a strictly casual look that still refers to taste as a companion, just as with professional wear, should stick to very lightweight fabrics. This rule applies from the bottom of your feet to the top of your head. Recommended shoes are usually those made from canvas with a rubber sole attached to them. They keep your feet ventilated and also provide an air of practicality. Should you be pairing your shoes with shorts make sure that your socks are no more than ankle length high, if you wear socks at all. If they are longer than that then you are broadcasting that you have absolutely no idea of how to dress yourself. For shorts you will want to stick with a khaki or linen, do keep in mind that linen wrinkles extremely easily so if you are looking for a crisp look to your clothes it is best to shy away from it. As far as your shirts our concerned, if worn with shorts and with few exceptions, they should always be of the short-sleeved variety. They can be made of any of the assortment of materials that we discussed and you should take the liberty to be as colorful as you possibly can, as some assortments of colors that you would never be caught dead with any of the other nine months out of the year can come to life. Summer after all is not a time to mute the effects of your style but to put it on full display. Is there any better time to do it?
Marcus Green is the author of A Year Without April, and lives in Seattle,WA. His motto is that “90% of life is simply showing up…dressed well.”