How to dress up in Linen and Chinos for hot weather

A little compromise goes a long way

You don’t need to suffer for fashion when it’s hot. At least, not much.
  • You don’t need to suffer for fashion when it’s hot. At least, not much.

Last summer was punishing. This one looks to be brutal, too. If you’re concerned with looking good when it’s hot, I have a few suggestions.

Let me begin by saying that if style isn’t your top priority, that’s understandable. I’m not here to wag my finger at you for wanting to be as comfortable as possible. A little compromise goes a long way, though. There’s a happy medium between “melting in a suit” and “wearing your underwear in public.”

My recommendations, from the top down:

The most stylish headwear is a ball cap in a solid, neutral color with no graphic on it. The black hat is my favorite. A white hat is a good alternative if black is too hot.

Avoid sleeveless t-shirts. Also avoid athletic shirts. They’re more breathable, but they don’t look as good. Cotton polo shirts and button-ups are probably going to be sweltering, unless the fabric is thin. The best alternative is a linen shirt. Linen isn’t as soft as cotton, but it’s the optimal hot-weather material.

For your bottom half, I prescribe flat-front chino shorts that stop at least an inch or two above the knee. Linen also comes in pants form, if you don’t like shorts.

Instead of sandals, try canvas shoes or nicer sneakers. Wear them without socks, or with no-show socks that make it look like you’re sockless.

I’m a hardliner on your clothes needing to fit perfectly, except in this circumstance. A looser fit will keep you cooler. That’s “looser,” not “loose.”

If you’re missing any of these pieces, go secondhand over new. Consider thrift stores. It’s not hard to find all of the above at any thrift that has a large clothing inventory. That describes most Goodwill and Salvation Army locations in San Diego.

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