What to Wear and When …
To Be Cool & Look Cool In Warm Weather
How To Be Cool and Look Cool!
The official summer season in the USA is from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Those are the days my friends, between which you can legitimately wear traditional summer garb such as linen, sandals and white.
I have had questions from gentlemen in England about this! The same England that set in concrete most men’s clothing rules! But their holidays are different. So if you’re not in the USA go with the summer dates and you will be close.
Of course, where you are has some bearing on the matter. In the tropics, you can lengthen the time you wear a white dinner jacket. But if you’re in Palm Springs in January, even if it’s 80 degrees, you look a little silly in a tank top. Dress for the weather but also be cognizant of the season.
Use common sense; you wouldn’t automatically wear your tweed jacket the day after Labor Day if you lived in Florida or Southern California.
Summer is no excuse to dress like a beach bum!
Shorts and a tank top are not the most flattering attire. If you’re dining in a fine restaurant having to look at someone dressed accordingly might even spoil your meal!
Dressing appropriately is about respecting your fellow human beings and their institutions, like a restaurant, not thumbing your nose at manners and common courtesy for the sake of being comfortable.
Commuting to work in your suit on a 90-degree day is not a pleasant experience. The human body sweats! You want to feel cool and comfortable and still look like you mean business.
Here are some tips:
Choose fabrics that breathe.
Cotton, linen and other natural fibers breathe and are good at absorbing moisture.Nylon and polyester are heat traps, although the new microfiber is said to breathe. With its natural ability to breathe, wool is better than poly, especially in tropical weight wool suits.
Broadcloth cotton dress shirts will be cooler than the heavier weave oxford.
This is the season for Seersucker, but is it appropriate for the office? Seersucker suits recall a more leisurely era, of old money Southern gentlemen sipping mint juleps on the veranda of their plantations, not exactly a strong business image.
Likewise, Linen, because of it’s guaranteed-to-wrinkle ability, may be best for social or after work occasions. You just have to use your good judgment in evaluating your specific business situation.
Khaki colored suits of cotton, poplin or tropical weight wool are acceptable for work and play during the heat of the summer.
- Lighten up – Shop for partially lined summer suits or suits and sports jackets with no lining (“unconstructed”)!
- Stay loose – go for the generous cut to let the air flow.
- Starch your dress shirts – they will hold their shape and not cling to your body. If you have an important meeting late in the day bring a fresh shirt and change just before the meeting.
Just for looks you should make certain that all your attire (even khaki shorts, linen shirts and chinos) are pressed, clean and presentable!
And we do not have to reiterate, NO short sleeves with a tie, do we?
- Wear a T-shirt – A T-shirt under a dress shirt or open collar sports shirt is a fine summer look and it helps with perspiration problems. A T-shirt absorbs moisture, protects your shirt from perspiration stains, prevents your skin and body hair from showing through a fine dress shirt and feels good against your skin. Unlike an A-shirt (athletic or tank top), the T-shirt has a tasteful image and protects under arm areas.
A 1980 US Army study reported that a T-shirt worn under a shirt on hot days keeps you cooler. The cotton absorbs perspiration, which then evaporates which physicists call a cooling process.
Wear light colors — Lighter colors are traditional for summer and they help reflect the sun’s rays.
Khaki’s come in a range of shades. Wear your lighter colored ones in the summer, and save the darker pairs for winter.
- Hats can prevent sunstroke from overexposure to the sun’s rays.
- Smell like Summer – Use lighter scent cologne, such as citrus or lavender based. Keep your cologne in the fridge for a really invigorating cool blast.
Powder (talcum or baby) sprinkled on your groin or armpits can disperse moisture and keep you cooler.
Deodorant and anti-perspirant becomes more important during the summertime!
- Be prepared. You’re having summer cocktails at a friend’s beach house, the sun sets, the ladies are beautiful,the gentlemen are interesting. Sensible guest have brought cotton sweaters and light jackets. Remember to bring that extra layer for chilly mornings or evenings even in summer. And you may have to lend it to that beautiful woman you just met.
- Avoid any men’s apparel that adopts a theme like little life preservers, cowboy hats or golf motifs.
- Shoes and socks (or not)
Tradition allows for lighter shoes and sandals for summer wear,and white bucks, de rigueur with seersucker. The only white shoes you would ever wear, right? Well maybe golf, and spectator or correspondent shoes, but never a white belt!
Sandals are OK, for social events, but flip-flops are only for the beach. Just be aware of what your shoes are saying about you! Fisherman sandals say, “I’ve been to Europe” and Birkenstocks say, “I’m a sensitive guy who recycles”.
Going without socks is a summer look, but probably doesn’t keep you cooler since perspiration stays on your foot and is not wicked away by the sock. Moisture can ruin leather. There are 125,000 sweat glands in your feet that can leave a quarter cup of moisture in your shoes every day!
Sweat is the biggest problem with sandals since you never wear socks with sandals, unless you are in Europe!
You might want to spray sandals inside and out with a stain and water protective spray for leather (available at most shoe repair shops, grocery and drug stores). It might be a good idea for any shoe you wear sans socks as well as your leather watchband!
How to eliminate perspiration odors in sandals
Liberally spray the inside of your sandals or shoes with Lysol spray to kill the germs. Follow up with Febreze brand deodorant spray to draw the smell out of the leather and then let them dry overnight
Another solution is to cut the legs off a pair of pantyhose so that you have two tubes about 12″-18″ long. Fill them with any name-brand cat litter that advertises itself as “odor absorbing”. The chunkier ones work better than the sand (granular) types, which”leak” through the hose. Tie a knot in the top of each tube after filling. Put them in your sandals and leave for at least 24 hours.
Shorts and Swim Trunks
By Body Style:
Buy your true waist size.
The Shorts Effect — Shorts provide a horizontal line at the knee that can make you look shorter. Great for tall guys, but short men should be aware of this effect.
- Tall guys would do well in longer boxer style shorts or swim trunks.
- Shorter men look best in shorts or swim trunks with shorter legs.
- Thin men should steer clear of shorts or swim trunks with very short or very wide legs.
- If you are heavy around the middle, you can de-emphasize your stomach by choosing shorts or swim trunks with a flat front and short band ofelastic or better, no elastic. If you’re really heavy, you might try wearing as hort sleeve shirt open with your swimsuit to balance the look.
To reduce the Shorts Effect shorter gentlemen can wear shorts that are solid or have vertical patterns (corduroy’s rib counts as a vertical pattern). Only tall men can go for the plaids!
The width of leg style on shorts you chose will depend on your leg size. Guys with thin legs should wear a tapered design while heavy legs will look better in wider styles. The shorts leg should not be tight. Shorts look best when they are mid thigh to just above the knee.
Swim trunks are appropriate at the beach or by the pool, only. Most men look best in swim trunks that are mid thigh to just above the knee, and not tight.
The shorter the short the more appropriate it is for casual events or sports rather than dressier social occasions.
Bermuda shorts which come to just above the knee can actually be dressy (even worn with a sport jacket). Some tuxedos, mainly in the Southern part of the U.S. come with “formal” shorts.
Bermuda’s are not a good length on shorter men, who may want to consider the Jamaica short which is 2 to 3 inches higher.
Be Kind to Your Body
- Avoid dehydration – Water replenishes fluids and helps lower and controls body temperature. So drink plenty of water, go easy on alcohol and caffeine, and eat frequent small meals (heavy meals can slow down the rate at which fluids leave the stomach to be available for replacing sweat losses). Eat foods high in water (fruits and vegetables) not high protein foods, which are low in water content. Exercise less outdoors and avoid exercising during the warm, middle part of the day.
- Use sunscreen as your summer after-shave and on any exposed skin such as your hands or legs if you are going to wear shorts.What is SPF? SPF is an acronym for Sun Protection Factor. Take the amount of time it would take to burn without sunscreen (UV Index) and multiply it by the sunscreen’s SPF to figure out how long you can be outside with sunscreen.For example, if it will take 15 minutes to burn today without sunscreen, and you use an SPF 8 product, you can say outside 2 hours without burning (8 x 15= 120 minutes or 2 hours).
- If you do get sunburned take a cool shower, or a bath to which you’ve added baking soda or white vinegar. Take Aspirin or ibuprofen and Vitamin “e” to decrease the inflammation.
- Wear shades
Roman Emperor, Nero (born 37 A.D., Emperor 54–68 A.D.) held an emerald up to his eye to watch gladiators fight. This may have been the first recorded use of sunglasses.
Blocking ultraviolet, or UV, rays will protect your eyes, plus you’ll look “cool”.
Exposure to UV radiation increases the risk of cataracts, a clouding of the eye’s natural lens, and can also lead to macular degeneration, a retina damage that is the major cause of blindness among Americans older than 55.
Outdoor light can be 25 times brighter than indoors. A chemical coating on the lens surface of UV-protected sunglasses screens out UV-A rays,which constitute more than 90% of ultraviolet radiation and are most intense in the early morning and afternoon, and UV-B rays, most pronounced at midday. Look for lenses that block both Ultra Violet A and UV B.
Sun-glass standards are set by the American National Standards Institute, a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization, are voluntary. But Commerce Department regulations bar manufacturers from falsely labeling claims like UV protection.
Sunglasses should transmit only 15 to 35% of the available light. Test them in the store by trying them on and looking for your eyes in a mirror. If you can see your eyes the lenses are probably too light.
The good news is the quality of UV protection is as likely inexpensive drugstore shades as on designer brands, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Contact lenses that claim to be UV-absorbing have not yet been proven to block UV rays. If you wear contacts use sunglasses as well.
Parental note: Infants and children are more vulnerable to UV damage than adults. Eye experts recommend keeping children out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when UV rays are strongest.Since eye damage from the sun is cumulative, they also recommend wearing sunglasses year-round.
Other sun glass considerations:
Fit. Glasses should fit close to your face and the lenses should be large enough to cover your entire eye area. Wraparound lenses may offer added protection.
Optical clarity. Wearing lenses that are optically precise and distortion-free helps prevent eyestrain and fatigue. Just because the price of the sunglasses is high doesn’t mean that the optical clarity is the best. Test for distortion by turning your head while looking through the glasses at a pole or a tree; a pole that appears to waver indicates a minor distortion.
Polarized lenses minimize the sun’s direct and reflected glare from smooth surfaces like pavement or water. Polarization,however, has nothing to do with UV protection. Check the lenses for surface distortion.
Anti-reflective coating can reduce glare, reflections and ghost images (unless the ghost is real). It’s useful for driving at night, but the lenses are difficult to keep clean.
Infrared protection. While sunlight contains some infrared light, research has not linked it closely with eye disease.
Mirror-coated lenses. A thin metallic coating reduces the amount of light entering your eyes and may be handy to hide behind, but it doesn’t protect fully against UV rays.
Photo-chromatic lenses automatically darken in sunlight and lighten indoors. They are convenient for people who don’t like to switch from regular glasses to sunglasses. The disadvantages are they are not as dark as sunglasses inside a car, since the windshield blocks many of the light rays that trigger darkening, and indoors they may be darker than standard glasses thus hindering your eye-to-eye communication. They are available in glass or plastic lenses.
Tint. Lens color choices depend on what environment you will be wearing them. Tint doesn’t really matter when it comes to UV blockage. Darker-tinted sunglasses don’t block more UV rays than lighter-colored lenses. Tints can help light sensitivity and cosmetically help to add color to your face plus hide wrinkles and dark circles under the eyes.
Gray prevents distortion so that colors remain true.
Green allows high levels of green-yellow light waves, the ones to which the eye is most responsive.
Yellow or Pink lenses help for hazy days and at dusk
Brown and brown-amber absorb blue light waves, which are refracted on hazy days to improve contrast and reduce glare.
Orange seems to work for brighter days.
Cool Blue and Warm Yellow are mostly for fun although some yellow tints enhance contrast. Scientists disagree on whether blue light poses a risk to the eye, but this is not a high-priority summer concern, since the greatest exposure to blue light comes from snow reflection.
And keeping your cool also requires an attitude of good humor!