When your iPhone tells you it’s 95 degrees in New York City, it doesn’t account for the steam from sewer grates, and boiling hotdog water wafting in your face — to say nothing of the fact that standing next to the M16 bus can raise the heat level index to at least another sixteen degrees.
New York City weather in July is not for the faint of heart. So how do most men, who rarely make a conscious effort to alter their wardrobe, deal with the sweltering heat and remain comfortable? The answer, unfortunately, is usually a “fashion don’t.” Heat and humidity are not excuses to dress shabbily, and there are many subtle modifications that you, or your man, can try that will make all the difference. So, buck it up, and style it up, gents.
Suits Suited for Summer
There is no need to abandon your well-tailored business suit in hot weather. If you plan on being outdoors for a brief period of time, perhaps hailing a cab or commuting a short distance, it won’t kill you to keep it all intact just for a few moments.
Men’s summer suits and sports coats can be quite comfortable. Your suit jackets and trousers should be of lightweight, breathable fabrics, such as cottons, silks, and linens, whereas man-made fabrics should be avoided at all costs.
And for the adventurous, the classic seersucker makes for a great option to beat the heat. Even looking at it makes you feel cooler. If Atticus Finch could wear it in an un-air-conditioned Alabamian courtroom and still look dapper, you can, too.
For longer periods of time in the soup, it’s perfectly acceptable to remove your jacket and either hold it using one finger as a hook or fold it neatly over your arm.
Casual Can Still be Chic
When circumstances allow, casual wear is unsurprisingly the best alternative to dealing with the heat. Younger blokes and men of my generation can stay cool and stylish by, again, keeping to the lighter weight of natural fabrics. A summer sports jacket with cotton trousers and a softer, less starchy shirt or even a polo are perfect.
Depending on the situation, you may not require or want a jacket, so feel free to fold up, not roll up, your sleeves. There are also some very fashionable, tailored short-sleeved shirts that can be worn open or even with a tie.
Unless you’re spending time in the Hamptons or Bermuda, dress shorts with a jacket and tie are likely not the most practical look. However, if you do find yourself in such a spot, feel free. It’s a stylish, fresh way to keep cool while sipping your bubbles. Add a hat and/or pocket square just for kicks.
Foppish and Faddish
Sans-socked hipsters and their rolled-up or high-cuffed pants are in such proliferation now that it seems as if Bill Cunningham of The New York Times’s Style section is documenting them overtime just to keep up.
While it’s certainly trendy, it’s not for every workplace environment or age group, but on the right guy with the right look, it’s a great style for the summer months. Keep the shoes just as fashionable as the cuffs — and don’t go crazy with the cuff-cutting.
The return of the fedora! Accessories for the fashionable man are limited: cufflinks, the pocket square, a great watch and, most recently, the hat. It’s refreshing seeing men back away from baseball caps, baggy shorts, and flip-flops and move toward tailored jeans or well-fitting shorts with button shirts and topping off their looks with fedoras, Panamas, and boaters. It’s a terrific look and a great way to keep cool.
What Lies Beneath
Keep handy some refreshing, sweat-absorbing wipes in your briefcase or office. These are terrific for a quick cool swipe of the brow or placed behind the neck. Japan’s deodorant body paper is the best invention since air conditioning, and my favorite is Gatsby Ice-Type. This product will change your life.
Magic wands and prayer circles are far more effective at eliminating body odor than those all-natural crystals. Save those pretty rocks for your bookshelves and cocktail tables and buy a deodorant made for grownups. Some people still think these work but their coworkers will tell you otherwise.
And if all else fails, have a refreshing cocktail — summer will be over before we know it.