How Not to Sweat in Summer, Even When You’re Dressed Up
By now you are likely more than well aware that with the best aspect of summer (sunshine) also comes the most unfortunate one: the heat. And with heat comes the ever-present threat of perspiration.
The easiest way to beat the heat would be to find the nearest pool, throw on some swim trunks, and don't ever, ever leave until the Tuesday after Labor Day. But that's not a realistic solution for most of us who are not lifeguards. To help the rest of you out, I turned to associate market editor Moti Ankari. He has great personal fashion and more than 100,000 followers on his Instagram @themetroman, so you can trust him. Using the occasion of the inaugural New York Fashion Week: Men's as a backdrop, he dressed up to give you some styling lessons in looking cool, while staying cool, too.
If you follow these tips and rules, you too might become an Instagram street-style star. Or at least you'll look like one.
Replace Navy With Khaki
Especially in regard to suiting. Back in spring, we suggested five various khaki suits for you to try out—and for good reason. It's the most versatile of humidity-busting ensembles for men, and it's appropriate everywhere, from the workplace to whatever it is you're doing after hours. Just remember: The dressiness level depends on the shade and weight of the cotton. In general, the lighter in color it is, the more dress-up possibilities, and the darker (and thicker), the more casual.
Dissecting the Look: Here, Moti looks equal parts relaxed and polished, thanks to the cotton pocket square. The outfit gives a sense of, "Look, I know I could have worn a tie here, but I am choosing not to." Also, notice that in all the looks, Moti is sockless—or at least looks as if he is—he actually has on no-show shoe liners so he can bare his ankles freely and control unwanted sweating. (Here is our guide to going sockless in summer.)
There's a falsehood in men's style that arms are like legs—meaning, if you're showing them, you're definitely dressed down. And while I remain firm that you should probably steer clear of leg baring in any context other than a Saturday morning coffee run (or just a run), I do think you can show a little arm and look dressed up. Start by rolling your sleeves up to just below the elbow, get comfortable, and go from there.
Dissecting the Look: This look can easily replace a classic shirt, tie, and trouser combination for three reasons. 1) The shirt is perfectly fitted. 2) The invisible buttons lend a clean, toned-down look. (When you try this at home, you don't need to use a bold graphic print like Moti wears here. Start with a plain color or pattern.) 3) Not wearing a tie but buttoning your collar button—we call this "air tie"—makes you look more reserved and put-together. It's not just for nerds any more. A little roll of the sleeve is a nice added touch; just don't make it too tight or high.
Loosen It Up
Look, a fitted suit is inherently cleaner and more flattering, but sometimes the occasion (a day with temperatures above 85) calls for a little more room around you for air to circulate. If you do decide to pick up a new, roomier suit option—start with the material. Stay away from man-made fibers, such as polyester, and make sure your wares are cotton only. Look for twill, poplin, madras, or seersucker. And always choose an unlined suit, or half-lined.
Dissecting the Look: The crew-neck shirt here on Moti is actually a tank top. Smart. But the key to pulling that off is to commit to not taking your blazer off. Like, ever. The other thing is to look for a blazer with soft, natural shoulders and a higher armhole—like this option by Todd Snyder on Moti—for better, unrestricted movement.
Choose the Right Color
Every man should own a great, gray suit—but the thing about a gray suit, especially the lighter ones, is it can actually show off sweat. Nonetheless, if your gray suit is your best suit, and not wearing it for three months out of the year is not an option, then you have to style around it to pull it off.
Or you could just wear a darker suit. Despite the conventional belief that you shouldn't wear dark colors when the temperature rises, the darker colors—blue, charcoal—are actually better at disguising any unwanted perspiration.
Dissecting the Look: Black and gray are relatively work-or play-appropriate, and this look works with or without the blazer (giving two quite different feels, too). And the black T-shirt, which is the actual garment touching the skin, will disguise any unwanted tinges of sweat, so Moti can wear his favored icy-gray suit comfortably and confidently.
Wear an Undershirt
Sure, you could wear it under a blue oxford under your blue suit in the hopes it will keep you cooler and wick moisture away from you body—or you could just skip that extra layer all together and go right for the fashion editor-endorsed look of T-shirt under a blazer.
Dissecting the Look: Few things in a man's wardrobe are more classic than a white, v-neck T-shirt. If you're wearing it under a suit, like this custom linen one on Moti, make sure the T-shirt is either untucked and does not go past your belt-line or is tucked without being too billowy. Then try unbuttoning the jacket cuff (and maybe nonchalantly push it up like a shirt sleeve) to allow a little extra airflow into the sleeves.
Reimagine the Polo
There was a time (last season) when I would have never thought a polo would be appropriate under a blazer. But I've realized that is because I have seen it done so wrong so often. In other words, it's not just about a polo, but the right polo, if you are wearing it to replace a dressier shirt option. Try it, though; the polo is actually quite adaptable and can make a cool statement (for work, even) under your favorite unlined sport jacket. (More importantly, it's less fabric on your arms to heat you up.)
Dissecting the Look: Skip anything too busy or printed if you're pairing it under a blazer and opt for a classic solid, such as this crisp, white Polo Ralph Lauren one on Moti. Also, make sure it's fitted throughout the trunk and arms, and like the T-shirt above, hits right at or below your belt-line if wearing it untucked (my suggestion). And skip the neckerchief. Even Moti can't persuade me to believe in that runway-inspired trend.