Summer Casual, but Workplace Sharp
Memorial Day has come and gone, the real first day of summer is just around the corner, and everyone is settling into their summer schedules. Maybe your boss offers summer hours or maybe your co-workers are more inclined to grab a beer during lunch on Friday. Around here, the kids are off to camp during the week, the grill is an integral component of preparing dinner, and the dog park is a must. I think the most common workplace change during the summer is the change in wardrobe. I mean, even bankers switch from suits to slacks and a blazer on some days. More likely than not, the preferred dress for your office has relaxed too. I think this is one of the more challenging areas of dress that men face, actually. Suits are easy. That’s why we wear them. Grungy yardwork clothes are easy too. But what do you do in that middle area known as “business casual” while still remaining stylish, especially during those dog days of summer?
From observation, I think the most common answer is to wear the same wool slacks or heavy khakis that you wore all year long, but mix it up with that free polo shirt from last week’s golf tournament or last year’s company picnic. Viable options to be sure, but I’d like to make a few suggestions that will allow you to beat the heat while remaining stylish and workplace appropriate.
First, ditch the socks. Seriously, I mean it. I’ve done this every summer no matter where I worked, and the only place it wasn’t approved was in my restaurant days due to the guests’ perception of the health code. It’s not like I was putting my feet all over the restaurant, but in that world the only thing that matters is the guests’ perception. If you have qualms about odor and sweat issues, these “Signature Invisible” socks from Sperry are a perfect compromise. And yes, you can even pull this off with a suit.
Seriously, ditch the socks.
Speaking of suits, if you still need to wear one during the summer, you do have options. Take a look at the BrooksCool line from Brooks Brothers. These lighter weight wool suits will have you turning heads without breaking a sweat. Cotton and linen suits are great for summer wear too, but I prefer to keep those for the weekends if possible.
Summer can get sweaty in a moment. We’ve all been there, heading back to the office after a lunch out, and before you know it your shirt is soaked. Hot and humid, ninety degree days can be a style killer. A relative newcomer to the world of shirtmaking is looking to stop all that. Developed by athletes, Mizzen+Main offers a line of athletic-fit, moisture-wicking shirts that look as great as they perform. If these shirts can go from the washer to dry in sixteen minutes, then a little sweat is no trouble at all.
Okay, I know it wouldn’t be a T&B blog post without mentioning Bonobos, but this is seriously one of my favorite brands right now, and their summer weight chinos are perfect for those hot days when every other pair of pants seem to weigh you down. For some guys ditching the socks might be enough, but if you’re one of those guys that gets a little “swampy” these are the summer pants for you.
I hope these suggestions help you stay cool in more ways than one this summer. Feel free to drop a comment with any other suggestions for our readers.