Improve Your Taste

A Man’s Guide to Not Dressing Like a Goon in Sweaty Summer Heat

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My roommate is a sweaty guy. He sweats like Shaq used to, but he doesn’t have the excuse that he weighs 350 pounds and runs and has people hacking at him all the time. He can just be sitting and watching TV and he’ll look and smell like he was working out in a field all day. His sweating is at its worst in the summer months, of course. During the summer, his methods for staying cool and relatively dry are all clothing-related (his methods never include deodorant. He’s the worst). The side effect is that what he wears makes him look like a big gross goon. Tank tops and t-shirts with the sides cut out, a bandana around his neck, ratty old cutoff jeans. He just got a good job that requires him to look presentable. So I developed this guide for him, which can hopefully help all sweaty, sticky summertime dudes dress like civilized human beings despite the heat.

Head

andygarcia
via arianehats

There are foolish men, many of whom live in or are from Los Angeles, who wear beanies year round. They think they look like Colin Farrell, but they actually look like they’re conducting a home test for cystic fibrosis. It should go without saying, but beanies are cold-weather hats. In the summer, no one has to wear a hat. Summer, with its naturally moist air and, you know, warm weather that renders hats unnecessary, is a time for rocking hairstyles that stand up and stand out. I’ve been sporting a less-extreme Macklemore haircut for a few weeks now. The Macklemore and its variations are the trendiest haircuts for men at the moment, and they look pretty good on everyone. So find a side length that you’re comfortable with, leave it alone on top, comb some Murray’s through it, and try not to make smug Macklemore faces.

If you really want to wear a hat, wear a vintage or Mitchell & Ness baseball cap. There are a few circumstances where it’s acceptable to wear a straw Panama hat, such as you’re a middle-aged Cuban man or you’re selling heroin to Lou Reed. They’re not for everyone, but ask some friends whose judgement you trust if you can pull off a straw hat. They can be cool, or they can be Summer Fedoras. Bucket hats are trendy, but they’re trash. I’ve covered them extensively.

If you’re wearing a hat to keep the sun out of your eyes, just wear sunglasses. They work better, and Ray-Bans, Vuarnets, even those Warby Parkers, they look good on everybody. That’s their whole thing. It’s some magical feat of design.

Ultimately, hats are kinda over. The world has moved on from hats. If you’re a young man who insists on wearing a hat, you often look like you’re trying to cling to an era you weren’t part of. Hats are antebellum. The Kentucky Derby is mostly about hats, and the Kentucky Derby is a racist race.

Body

shirt
via hong2kd 

Wear linen. Linen, linen, linen is your friend. It’s the best. It’s breathable, it’s durable, and it looks dope most of the time. A long-sleeved linen shirt with the sleeves rolled up is the best summer look. You’ll look like a boss pimp without cooking. It’s like, “yeah, I’m so cool I wear a long-sleeved shirt in the summer, it ain’t no thing, I know what I’m doing.” Linen makes a dude look like he knows what he’s doing.

A closet full of linen shirts isn’t very practical or cost-effective, though, so supplement with some Uniqlo polos. They have “quick-dry properties” that work and they’re cut nicely. They don’t have that long tail, which is good for tucking in, but you don’t tuck in a polo unless you’re Tucker Carlson.

Avoid baggy polos. Polos need to be a little tight around your upper arm. Flappy polo sleeves make me think of Jared from Subway. And don’t wear tank tops or sleeveless tees out in the world, for the love of God. The world is not a music festival, bro. Put them nips away. Women who aren’t already your Stockholm-syndromed girlfriend will run away in terror.

Legs

shorts
via youprobablylike

It used to be a given that shorts were undignified and should be avoided by any self-respecting man. That’s changed. Shorts are fine, as long as they’re done correctly. By “correctly,” I mean non-athletic, not too long, not too short, and not garishly patterned. Basically, a short version of the jeans or chinos or slacks you wear during cold months. Keep it simple. A little bit above the knee. Clean cutoffs, not with lots of white strings hanging off of them like albino spider legs. Not too loose.

If you’re not comfortable wearing shorts, that’s great. You don’t need them. Once again, linen is your friend. Regular-ass jeans and pants are good too, provided the fabric isn’t skin tight and can breathe. Air has to circulate beneath the fabric to evaporate your sweat. Go slim-straight instead of skinny. Just don’t go too baggy. Naked & Famous and Gustin have handsome and comfortable lightweight selvedge jeans that won’t kill you financially. 

Feet

loafers
via roguesandregs

For feet, it’s much easier to say what not to do. Never, ever, under any circumstance, should you wear high socks with shorts, or any socks with sandals or boat shoes. White tube socks are the worst invention in the history of clothes. Abolish them. In fact, if you wanna go sockless in the summer and avoid the whole issue, go ahead. That’s a good look. Consult this guide for how much mankle is appropriate, though. If you’re wearing sneakers, you should probably wear ankle socks, though. Too smelly and blistery otherwise.

No flip-flops unless you’re at the beach.

What should you wear, though? Boat shoes, penny loafers, canvas sneakers, stuff like that. Kasual Klassicks.

One final tip: Uniqlo’s Airism underwear is the best underwear you will ever wear, I swear. All other underwear will make you feel like your ass is being waterboarded. Swampass is a thing of the past for me now. They’re expensive, but they’re soooooo worth it. It’s like buying a good mattress, you know? It’s worth spending money on something so important.

And one final final note, confidential to my roommate: please don’t leave your socks on the bathroom floor. The smell makes me gag.