Summer is the time for dropping layers and wearing whatever you feel like. Compared with the colder months, not needing to plan ahead for the possibility of rain, cold winds or snow is the beauty of this time of year.
But you can also get insanely uncomfortable if you’re not ready for the summer heat – and this year has been exceptionally hot to say the least.
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Rather than run for the shade, take a look at this list of 10 clothing ideas to help keep you cool in summer.
We’ve covered everything from cotton to caps and linen to slides, everything you’ll need to keep cool as temperatures are high.
1. Wear lighter colours
The first thing to do when selecting clothes to keep you cool is to think of the colour palette you’re working with. No matter how breathable the fabric is and no matter how little sleeve there is covering your arms, there is one universal truth that should be at the top of your list – wear lighter colours.
Better yet, wear white if possible. Darker colours absorb more light and heat, while lighter colours reflect. If you haven’t noticed this already, try it out next time you’re experiencing heat soak at the beach. A black shirt will leave you sweatier every time.
Shop light colours here:
- Comme des Garçons Play White Heart Patch Shirt (opens in new tab)
- Hartford Tanker Drawstring Trousers (opens in new tab)
2. Wear a cotton T-shirt
This might seem like a no-brainer, but it is until you’re caught inside the Tube wearing a thick collared shirt and waiting for every stop so you can exhale and breath when the doors open. You don’t want to be that guy.
A cotton T-shirt is not only a staple wardrobe item that you’ll get a lot of mileage out of, but it’s also light and breathable. Sticking with lighter colours, you’ll also avoid showing off nasty sweat patches as the hours pass. There’s no reason not to have a collection of tees at the ready.
Shop T-shirts here:
- Check out the best t-shirts for men
- Y-3 Cotton-Jersey T-Shirt (opens in new tab)
- Stone Island Cotton-Jersey T-Shirt (opens in new tab)
3. Wear slides
While you give your head and torso some fresh air, think of your toes as well. Slides are right up there on the list of clothes that’ll keep you cool in hot weather. Not only do they look great when paired with thrown-on shorts and shirts, but they are insanely practical.
They’re great for wearing to the pool but also pottering about the house. And it doesn’t have to be your dirty little secret that you wear socks with slides – this is a genuine fashion statement, the way jeans and ugg boots were (or weren’t) for a minute back in the ‘00s. Slides are cool and they’ll keep you cool as well.
Shop slides here:
- Adidas Adilette Core Slide Sandal (opens in new tab)
- Maison Margiela Future Slides (opens in new tab)
4. Wear a cap
While it’s true that a lot of heat heat escapes the body through the head, letting the sun sizzle your crown won’t keep you cool either. Therefore, do yourself a favour and grab a cap – preferably in a lighter colour – to keep the sun off your scalp.
Not only can a cap provide shade for your face, it also works well with casual styling, especially if you’re into streetwear. There are stacks of streetwear-focused brands producing five- and six-panel caps and all the rest, so choice is plentiful.
Shop caps here:
- Check out the best baseball caps
- Balenciaga Logo Cap (opens in new tab)
- Off-White Cotton-Twill Baseball Cap (opens in new tab)
5. Wear linen
Like most of the items in this list, linen serves more than one purpose for keeping cool in summer. Fabrics that are breathable and absorb sweat, rather than trap it all in, should be your go to choices. Linen is up there with cotton for this.
Not only is linen known for its cooling properties, but it also has a nicely-textured weave in shirts and pants. It’s light as well, meaning you’ll feel as fresh as the shirt on your back. Definitely a solid investment, even if cotton usually costs less.
Shop linen here:
- James Perse Slub Linen Shirt (opens in new tab)
- Anderson & Sheppard Linen Trousers (opens in new tab)
6. Wear shorts
Like the T-shirt, shorts are a no-brainer when it comes to dressing for hot weather. But what are the best shorts to wear for any given situation? There are tennis shorts, denim shorts, swimming trunks and running shorts. Deciding what you need them for first is a good starting point.
But, at the very least, the most versatile options are going to be denim shorts and swimming trunks. These you’ll want and need to wear regularly, so it’s a good ideas to stock up. Not only that, but they’re ultra comfy and will always be on the list of summer essentials.
- Check out the best shorts for men
- NN07 Washed Stretch-Denim Shorts (opens in new tab)
- Stüssy Camouflage-Print Shell Shorts (opens in new tab)
7. Wear chambray
Chambray shirts are an underrated summer clothing item due to their seemingly heavy fabric. While they’re also comfortable to wear in the cooler months, chambray has a lighter weave than cotton’s twill pattern and so has better cooling properties.
Whether you’re after a shirt with short or long sleeves, shorts or trousers, chambray comes in many forms and price points. So it’s a good investment not only for flexing your style, but also for practicality sake in the searing heat.
Shop chambray here:
- De Bonne Facture Slub Cotton-Chambray Shirt (opens in new tab)
- Acne Studios Boxa Cotton-Chambray Boxer Shorts (opens in new tab)
8. Wear canvas shoes
Canvas shoes tick practically every box you’ll need for handling hot weather. They’re affordable, comfortable, allow heat to escape and absolutely never go out of fashion. There’s no reason to not wear canvas shoes in all but icy weather.
Not only great for comfort and easy throw-on treatment, they look great when paired with practically everything else in this list. Canvas shoes are a great option for balmy weather and, of course, styling yourself for fun.
Shop canvas shoes here:
9. Wear sports gear
Workout clothing is a great choice for hot weather, even if you’re not planning to run a half marathon. Sports clothing is designed with fabrics that absorb sweat and allow heat to pass through the weave, keeping you cooler in the process. A big plus.
The silhouettes of many sports items are also designed to allow freer movement of your body, which adds to comfort levels and prevents chafing. While you can’t exactly walk into a business meeting in track leggings, you can definitely step up your athleisure game with the right sportswear items.
Shop sports gear here:
- Nike Running Miler Dri-FIT Mesh T-Shirt (opens in new tab)
- Under Armour Speedpocket Stretch-Shell Shorts (opens in new tab)
10. Wear a tank top
Choosing cuts that naturally allow for heat and sweat transfer make a lot of sense in summer. This brings us to the tank top, which is one of the first things we often grab from our wardrobes as soon as the forecast spikes each year, and the one we reminisce about in winter as we scroll through our summer festival photos.
A loose cut and fit for a tank top is ideal to let wafts of air pass through. If you go for a lighter colour and – you got it – cotton fabric, then you’re on your way to feeling comfortable no matter how aggressively the mercury rises.
Shop tank tops here:
- John Elliott White Mercer Tank Top (opens in new tab)
- Patagonia P-6 Responsibili-Tee Jersey Tank (opens in new tab)