Right now is that few week lull in between spring and summer here in Philadelphia. The temperature ranges between 60 and 80 and the humidity has not reached claustrophobic levels yet. Perfect weather for golf, napping, runs along the Schuylkill or really anything. But this prelude to summer is in fact just that, a prelude. High temps and high levels of humidity are staring us down; then wearing a suit will be like being in a straight jacket and the idea will be to wear as little clothing as possible.
On many days I simply wear two items of clothing, my drawstring reds (they are worn sans undergarments) and a button up shirt, preferably one in linen. Other days will require a bit more, sometimes even a suit or dinner jacket. Weddings certainly will require some form of jacket; but I will talk more on summer weddings soon. Anyway, I realize I am a bit behind the ball on talking about this, but nonetheless I feel it may be useful to share a few tips on making a few acquisitions for your wardrobe this summer.
Summer style is typically lighter in both appearance and feel. The obvious ideas are to reflect the warmer colors of life as well as try to keep the body as cool as possible. The colors you choose to wear are up to you so I would like to briefly dwell on fabric, which is my mind plays the largest role in dictating how cool or warm wearing any piece of clothing is. The idea is to allow for the maximum amount of air to pass through a fabric. Basically, you want the heat coming off your body to pass through the clothes you are wearing. Generally speaking, lightweight fabrics wear cooler than heavier ones. However, the type of weave play a crucial importance as well, Fresco is a prime example of this.
I believe in the past I have professed my love for Fresco, which is a high twist wool suiting fabric made by Hardy Minnis. I recently had a suit made in the material by Mohan’s in NYC; a review is to come but the tux is amazing. Fresco, and other high twist wools are a great summer fabric, because they are typically a more open weave than your standard worsted wool; which means that air will more easily pass through the fabric. They can be cool wearing while still of a decent weight. Mohair and blends with it are also a solid option. The mohair adds a little bit of shine to any fabric but it also tends to be moderately cool wearing. Personally, I am not the biggest fan of ‘tropical’ wool, which is basically a light weight wool. I find that it wrinkles quite a bit and does not drape as well while not being that much cooler than slightly heavier wools.
For more casual needs there are a plethora of other options. Seersucker is one of my favorite fabrics, partly because of its texture and partly because it is relatively cool wearing. Fortunately brands are starting to play around with it more. Historically reserved for the more preppy set tonal seersucker is a more practical and wearable option for most guys. I am currently lusting over these blue seersucker pants from J. Crew (pictured top). Light weight cotton is also a good bet. However, linen is cooler wearing and also more casual. The well documented problem with linen is that is wrinkles an unbelievable amount, which is up to you whether or not you like that. Cotton/linen blends are perhaps the most ideal fabric for both shirts and pants. It has much of the cool wearing properties of linen with a little wrinkle resistance offered from the cotton.
Lastly, avoid polyester or other synthetic fabrics like the plague for tailored wear, shirts and slacks. In jackets and outerwear I think synthetics are slightly more acceptable, but outside of that, stick with what is natural. There are obviously other fabrics and things you can wear to try
Note: FYGblog did not receive compensation of any form from any brand mentioned in this post in exchange for being mentioned.