Hot date? Cause for celebration. Hot-weather date? Prepare for perspiration.
When the seasons switch from sweater weather to sweatier weather, you’ll face one of the trickiest style challenges: how to dress well without turning into a soggy, pit-stained mess over the course of the evening.
The answer breaks down into two categories: fit and fabrication.
Looser Fits for Comfort in the Heat
Save your sharpest, most tailored threads for cooler temperatures. When it’s hazy, hot, and humid, reach for looser, drapier items. The shirt is a little looser than you’d probably wear your usual button-up; the shorts, while not baggy by any means, have a great not-too-loose-not-too-tight cut that helps keep the “smart” in Smart Casual.
Best Fabrics for Summer
Linen is THE quintessential hot-weather fabric. Not only is it lightweight, it’s highly breathable and quick-drying, so any sweat quickly gets absorbed and then evaporates. Best of all, it looks good even when it’s a little rumpled, so the inevitable creases and wrinkles come off as smart, not sloppy. When paired with the smooth, crisp lines of the shorts, the overall effect is laid-back yet sophisticated.
With the main pieces squared away, it’s time to talk about:
It’s easy to grab a pair of simple white kicks, or even slide on some sandals. Take a walk on the (slightly) dressier side with a pair of preppy-inspired driving mocs, which borrow a few stylistic touches from another summer classic: the driving loafer.
Another overlooked summer swap: the watch strap. If you usually buckle on a leather or canvas band, try a cool Milanese mesh watch band instead. The thin links are smooth and light, so sweat won’t collect the way it would under a thicker, more densely woven band.
Read more: A Comprehensive Guide to Watch Straps
Once you’ve nailed the look, it’s on to the trickiest part: getting to your destination in one (reasonably unsweaty) piece.
Adapting Your Grooming Routine for Summer Heat
The first step is stopping sweat — or at least minimizing it. Apply a body powder anywhere there might be chafing and you’ll cut down on sweat and odors, which is easier than trying to clean yourself up on the go. Choose one that’s talc-free with a light, grown-up scent to avoid any unfortunate baby powder associations.
If you’re taking public transit, or if your car’s AC isn’t what it used to be, you can stash a small pack of body wipes in your bag (or the glove compartment) so you don’t show up looking like you took a wrong turn at Death Valley. Pick a fragrance-free option, which won’t clash with your cologne.
Speaking of scent: your body heat will make any odor more intense, whether it’s your own “natural musk” or a favorite fragrance. Heavier scents, like those with earthy notes (think woods, tobacco, musks) are better for cooler nights. Lighter colognes, typically those that feature citrus and aquatic notes, will help you feel (and smell) fresh and clean.