We're in heatwave season, with New York City becoming the latest U.S. city to endure rising temperatures. The words "scorching," "sizzling" and "simmering" have never seemed more fitting for summer's unforgiving rays.
Which means one thing: sweat.
Think shirts that have become translucent, as if they've been worn to a water park, said Diego León of the men's style blog Dandy in the Bronx, to Mic. In one mortifying experience, he said, one of his friend's shirt was so soaked that they took a detour to the bathroom to dry it with the hand dryer.
Unlike women, whose professional looks can switch to sleeveless tops and flowing dresses in summer, the expectation for men's work outfits essentially stays the same. If it's suits in the winter, it's suits in the summer. Pants and button-down collared shirts are worn all-year-round, and leather shoes don't get swapped for sandals — especially when you're a millennial guy trying to look grown up.
For professional men, it would seem, there's no hope for summer clothes — except, well, there is. The simple thing dudes can do, Mic found from speaking with men's style experts, is this: Change up the material of those clothes.
Yes, men have summer work clothes: Linen, lightweight cotton blends and seersucker are breathable fabrics that will help you avoid the drenched look, the bloggers said. The overwhelming winner, though is linen, which will inevitably become "your best friend fabric," León said. He added that he has linen suits, as well as shirts and even ties he has on rotation during the summer.
"Go with lightweight, breathable fabrics so you can avoid embarrassing sweat spots. My personal go-to's are linen or linen/cotton blends," Mustafa Kacar, of the style blog Astute Attire, told Mic via email. He added that guys should avoid thick linings in jackets (which are good during the winter, too) and look for unlined or partially lined ones, he said.
If all new suits sounds extreme, consider that wearing the same wool suit year-round can quickly spell disaster. Heavier fabrics, lining and darker colors in the summer will only ensure you're walking around feeling like you're in a sauna.
As for staying chill under the suit, v-necks, polos and other short-sleeve shirts with lightweight jackets also work for work in the summer, according to Leo Chan, the blogger behind Levitate Style. Chan, who works in finance in New York, even offered that shorts can work if combined with tucked-in polos, loafers or even the occasional vest.
Other details, like wearing moisture-wicking shirts, rolling up the sleeves and wearing no-show socks with shoes can also make a difference, said Jamal Jackson, the blogger behind Style Society Guy. And, nerdy though they sound, chinos are cooler than suit pants, said Chan.
Even in a linen suit jacket, there will still be sweaty style snafus at work. The good thing is the backup plans are easy: Have a spare shirt at your desk and store some Gold-Bond in a drawer. Some men walk around with an extra hand towel on the subways in New York City, though León said he sees plenty of men still struggling, when they could just carry an extra pocket square.
"Men don't want to admit defeat, you'll see them dying in the subway," León said. "Don't be ashamed [of being prepared], you look worse dripping wet."
Don't let the sweat happen. Go shopping.