20 Stylish Summer Outfits For Men: How To Dress For Hot Weather
Summer dressing is more than just T-shirt and shorts. Here's how to up your warm-weather style game.
Let’s face it, getting dressed when it’s boiling outside isn’t difficult or complicated. Essentially, you want to wear as little as possible while still keeping your dignity intact, which more often than not means a simple T-shirt and shorts combination. But that can quickly get boring, so how do you go about mixing things up while keeping cool?
Below we’ve set out some easy ways you can stay looking fresh as the mercury rises, as well as 20 foolproof men’s summer outfit combinations, so if you want to work on your warm-weather style game, you’re in the right place.
How to dress for summer
Fabric choice is crucial in hot weather; pick the wrong materials and you’ll quickly feel stifled and uncomfortable. The ideal summer cloths are breathable, lightweight and often loosely woven, which allows air to easily pass through the fibres to keep you cool. Think linen, cotton jersey, tencel and pique – all fabrics which you’ll often find cut in warm-weather garments such as polo shirts, T-shirts, Cuban collar shirts, shorts and more.
The secondary benefit of utilising these traditional summer fabrics is that each has its own unique texture. Again, when clothing options are limited, mixing fabrics – a pique cotton polo (ribbed, woven texture) with a pair of grey cotton jersey shorts (flatter, mottled texture), for example – is a subtle way to introduce variety into an otherwise simple outfit.
Experiment with colour
Summer is the perfect time for experimenting with colour. In the colder months it’s easy to default to shades of grey, black and navy, but when it comes to warm-weather dressing, you have more leeway with your palette.
It helps that the sun makes everything look better, which means pops of colour – from primary reds and yellows to washed-out pastel shades – suddenly feel appropriate, rather than ‘too much’.
Summer dressing is also relatively restrictive in what you can actually wear. The heat means layering is often out of the equation, unless you want to sweat profusely, so the ability to inject a bit of personality into an outfit is limited. Colour is the saviour here, ensuring you can add individuality while wearing less.
Pay attention to the details
One way to stop your summer outfits becoming monotonous – aside from adding colour – is to bolster your accessory game.
The finer details take on more importance when your look is stripped back, so pay attention to your choice of belt (fabric, colour, style), watch (strap choice, dial colour) and sunglasses (frame shape, lens colour), and consider adding a piece of jewellery (bracelet, ring, simple pendant/chain necklace). You want to introduce points of interest as well as a little personality.
Pay attention to fit
If you’re a fan of slim fits, you might want to broaden your horizons in the summer. Tailored garments quickly become uncomfortable in the warm months, as the fabric clinging to you can feel restrictive and overbearing.
Relaxed fits are infinitely more comfortable as the fabric sits further away from the body, ensuring you can move freely and air can flow between your skin and the garments, ultimately keeping you cooler.
Don’t mistake ‘relaxed’ with ‘baggy’ though. Oversized isn’t the solution; you still want your clothes to fit. So, instead of slim-fitting T-shirts, for example, try more boxy cuts, and consider opting for straight-legged or pleated shorts over tailored versions.
Another point to bear in mind is comfort on the whole. Seemingly small alterations – like wearing drawstring shorts or trousers (key men’s fashion trends this year) in place of fixed waistbands, and picking comfortable sneakers over hard-soled shoes – can make dressing for the heat much more bearable.
20 cool summer 2023 outfits for men
When it comes to summer garments, the Cuban collar shirt remains one of the most stylish investments you can make. Wear it with shorts, chinos, jeans or, for something smarter, tailored drawstring trousers.
Finish with sneakers or loafers and you’ve got a versatile fit that’ll be comfortable even when the heat becomes stifling.
Keep it classic
You can’t really go wrong with a polo shirt and shorts. Just make sure you nail the fit of both, and keep the colour palette minimal.
Go for a classic pique cotton shirt, or mix it up with a Riviera-inspired knitted take (especially in merino wool, which is an excellent temperature regulator) to give a slightly dressier feel to this traditionally casual look.
Let it breathe
As previously mentioned, fabric choice is the key to summer dressing. Go for heavy materials and you’ll quickly overheat; instead you want to seek out lightweight cotton and linen, which are both breathable and will keep you cool when the mercury rises.
Linen shirts are perfect for wearing with swim shorts in the day – throw it on over the top and finish with leather sandals and classic shades for look that will take you from the pool to an alfresco lunch without needing to change.
There are plenty of opportunities for wearing a suit in the summer; namely weddings. For a sharp take on warm-weather occasion dressing, look for a stone coloured suit in an unstructured cut and flattering fit, then team it with suede shoes, a clean white shirt and knitted or silk tie.
For something slightly more creative, separates might be more your thing. Just as smart as a full suit, a mismatched blazer and trousers is more experimental and arguably allows for more of your personality to shine.
Try an off-white pair of tailored trousers with a check blazer, navy shirt and suede loafers, and you’ll be the best dressed guy at the wedding.
Once you try drawstring shorts, it will be difficult to go back to anything else. From a comfort standpoint they’re unbeatable – they feel like pyjama shorts, which is reason enough to give them a go.
They’re readily available in all manner of fabrics and styles, but for high summer we’d recommend a light cotton design with a slight amount of stretch for added comfort.
Combine them with a long sleeve tee and leather sneakers, and reap the rewards.
Tucked in tee
For a smart casual look that won’t have you sweating by midday, try swapping the collared shirt for a T-shirt.
You can still tuck it in for a contemporary take on office wear, but the light fabric and short sleeves ensure you’ll be comfortable for longer.
Shorts in the office
Many offices have relaxed their dress codes so it’s no longer required for staff to turn up looking like Wall Street bankers from the 80s.
In the summer months it’s even acceptable to wear shorts, so take advantage of the fact and combine a drawstring pair with a classic linen-blend shirt. Finish with minimal sneakers and you’ll be smart enough without breaking a sweat.
It’s difficult to be creative with summer dressing, given that you’re generally wearing as little as possible to stay cool. For times when you might want to layer up though, keep things light and pay attention to fabric.
Begin with a light cotton tee and linen shorts. Then build on the look with a chambray shirt and, in cooler evenings perhaps, a denim jacket to counteract any wind chill.
Most men wouldn’t consider knitwear in warm weather, given that it is traditionally woven tightly and designed to keep the wearer toasty.
However, certain light-gauge fabrics such as merino wool and linen-silk blends offer breathability on par with cotton, giving you a creative way of introducing some much-needed texture to your stripped-back looks.
When it comes to design, a cardigan is a smart choice as it can be buttoned up or left open, giving you the ability to modify your outfit depending on the weather.
As highlighted above, summer is the perfect time to introduce colour to your wardrobe. If you don’t want to stray too far out your comfort zone, a great place to start is with pastel tones of blue, green and pale pink.
Here we go for the latter in striped shirt form, combining with stone shorts and suede slip-on sneakers. This is a laid-back look suitable for casual BBQs, outdoor drinks and weekend getaways alike.
Summer doesn’t automatically mean no clouds and pelting sun, so for times when the weather is a tad more unpredictable, you need a lightweight jacket.
A Harrington or bomber made from cotton is always a good choice, and will combine well with tailored trousers, shorts or jeans, making them incredibly versatile.
If you’re at a loss for inspiration, try going with a single shade and running with it. Navy is an obvious choice but for something more fun, try an all-green look, consisting of a knitted polo shirt and tailored shorts.
Finish with a contrast down below, in the form of brown suede derbies, which will keep the fit from looking too matchy-matchy.
Simplicity never fails
The simple looks are often the best. This is never more true than when it comes to summer dressing. Blue jeans and a T-shirt is about as classic as it gets and can work just as effectively in the warmer months.
Mix things up subtly with a textured light brown tee and complement it with matching suede loafers, which tie the top and bottom half together perfectly.
Few tops scream summer quite as much as the Breton. A classic design originally used by French sailors so they’d be easily spotted when overboard, the Breton stripe top is the perfect match for relaxed chinos and canvas sneakers.
Try one with a subtly oversized stripe and tuck it in to smarten the look up, or leave it untucked for a more relaxed take.
Take inspiration from the mid-century movie stars of yesteryear and smarten up your summer wear with tailored pleated trousers and a sharp Cuban collar shirt.
Ideal for an evening on the town, this is a sharp take on warm-weather attire that can be further dressed up with an unstructured blazer should the occasion call for it.
Admittedly, white jeans and trousers are difficult to wear. But if you’re going to try them, there’s no better time than summer.
They work well with navy blazers for a tailored look, but can also be dressed down with polo shirts and a lightweight jacket. Go for the latter and finish with a pair of derbies or boat shoes for an alternative take on smart casual summer wear.
Despite it being surprisingly hard wearing, suede is not a fabric you want to get wet, meaning it’s often out of the picture for 3-4 months of the year. Summer is its time to shine though, so for milder days or warm evenings it’s ideal as a layering piece that’ll add plenty of character to a look.
Wear one above a simple outfit consisting of a polo shirt and jeans to channel your own bit of 70s Steve McQueen.
Summer is really the only season when going sockless is appropriate. It’s almost essential when wearing any leather or suede shoes with shorts and will add a relaxed, summery feel to chinos or tailored trousers.
Just remember that ‘sockless’ really means wearing ‘invisible socks’ – your shoes and feet will thank you.
Again, there’s a strong argument that all-white outfits should only be worn in summer. It can be quite a harsh look, so try breaking it up slightly with a Breton stripe T-shirt, which softens the overall fit and keeps it from being too stark.
Alternatively, go for off-white tones, which help to dial down the brightness and combine well with other neutrals like stone, beige and sand.