Summer Style Upgrades – Casual Wear

As we come fully into the summer season, many gentlemen find themselves equally stifled by the ideas of either adjusting their wardrobe to match the changing temperatures or forgoing the seasonal adjustments and staying with outfits best suited to keeping cooler climes. I understand. I struggled with this myself for many years, both as a youth and as a young adult. It truly is a challenge to find a way of dressing comfortably while still carrying something of a level of sophistication and class slightly above average.

Luckily, the fixes for the situation are not all that difficult.

Today I am going to share what I think are the two best style upgrades for someone dressing for a casual environment during the hot, sweaty, sticky months of summer. Namely the polo shirt and linen slacks.

During the summer, short sleeves are the staple. That might go without saying, but often the only short sleeve shirts in a wardrobe of the man beginning a stylish wardrobe is the t-shirt. While they are certainly more relaxed than regular business wear, they are sometimes a bit too relaxed. Additionally, they have become a favorite target for corporate tagging, complete with logos, catch phrases and other various bits of marketing flotsam.

The polo stands as a step between this land of youthful play-at-any-moment attitude and the seemingly stodgy realm of cabana shirts so common in the retiree set.

The polo is often woven of the same light, breathable fabrics as their down market cousins, but carry these off with a slightly more sophisticated air. Rather than being mistaken for moving billboards, they often carry a small logo on the left breast to indicate manufacturer. While many use this as a status symbol, I find them to be little more than a nod to our current commercial culture, and I buy my polos not for the log, but for the color, fit and comfort the shirt will provide.

As with all forays into new challenges, it may be wise to make your first purchases carefully and conservatively. Stripes and patterns are how designers ensure that the more fashion conscious consumers will buy “the latest and greatest” but solids smartly bought will likely wear out before they look out of place.  Additionally, the polo can be smartly layered with a sweater or light jacket making it perfect for early fall weather as well.

What do you think?  As always, feel free to leave a comment below.