Breathable Summer Style For Men – Beat The Heat With Linen
Something unusual has been happening in Sweden for the last 2.5 months. The sun has been shining 24/7 and temperatures are in the high 20’s almost every day. That presents a challenge for the well-dressed gentleman.
Many choose to stick with wool – the so called “four seasons fabric” and wonder why they are still hot. Wool is indeed an all-around breathable fabric but you will still feel the heat in higher temperatures. Many also forget that it is not just the outside that matters. Your suit can be made out of lightweight wool but it is the inside lining that counts. If the lining is out of artificial material you will still sweat. Read my comprehensive guide on buying your first suit here for more details.
Luckily there is a solution.
Fabric is the key. When we are talking about summer style for men there is one real answer. Linen. Linen is the most quintessential summer fabric that will keep you cool and looking stylish. Use it right and you will be looking your best in the office or that warm summer stroll in the park. In fact, I am going to share with you a short story from today’s day at work.
I work a lot in the field as a specialised consultant for an international company and we rate safety highly. This means wearing a high visibility vest, full body gear, a hard hat and using rubber gloves. Can you guess the fabric of the uniform? You guessed it right! Poly and Ester strike again!
Sweating at 27 degrees, the first thing that popped in my head was how wonderful it would be if everything was made of linen. That is how highly I rate it.
What Makes Linen So Special?
Linen is one of the oldest fabrics in the world. It has been used for centuries and was one of the most popular textiles in Egypt and Mesopotamia. It was so valuable that it was used as currency in some cases and the ancient Egyptians used it for mummification because it symbolised purity, light and wealth.
The key is in the weave. Made from the fibres of the flax plant, it has a very loose weave, allowing air to flow through freely. This makes linen literally the coolest kid (pun intended) on the block and allow for maximum breathability.
It is a cool fabric to touch and it gets softer with time after washing it. Lightweight, versatile, absorbent are perfect descriptions for linen. Linen is also inelastic, which means that it will crease much more than other fabrics. This brings us to the next point.
A Wrinkle In Time
Wrinkles then, are the standout characteristic of a linen garment. Should you try to iron them furiously or move in space like a mannequin? No unless you want your new linen shirt to feel like cardboard and you looking stiff as wood.
“Linen’s wrinkles symbolise the carefree, cool linen lifestyle. Accept them just like you accept your freckles or the warm summer heat. They are beautiful in their own way and they create character.”
Get In My Bed Baby
Linen is actually not so easy to make compared to other fabrics. That means that the cost is usually higher than your traditional cotton shirts. Given that, linen is everywhere. Suits, shirts, sports jackets, bed sheets – you name it.
In many occasions linen is blended with cotton and that creates a stronger combo that prevents the garment from creasing too much. A linen-cotton blend is also more affordable than pure linen, making it a great choice.
What Should I Buy?
For all these compelling reasons you should have at least one linen shirt for the summer. It will look great, keep you warm and light and you will never forget the first time you put it on and felt the freedom of the air flowing through.
Unless you are a man that lives in a tropic climate and has already a good collection of the important suits we have talked about, I would skip buying a linen suit first. It is not very formal, it will cost a fair amount of money and if you are on a limited budget you should buy a blazer instead.
My first investment though would be a shirt. Here you can see me rocking a dark green shirt from Brothers. I was looking for such a shirt for a long time. The closest one I found was from Hugo Boss and it was a cotton shirt. Unfortunately it was way too shiny so I was thrilled when this one came up in the store.
It is a beautiful undervalued colour that is perfect for summer and provides a stark contrast to lighter colours such as grey, beige or white.
Go Green, I Get It. What Should I Pair It With?
A way to minimise the effect of the creasing in your outfit is to pair it with another type of textile. Cotton chinos work perfectly with linen. Here you can see me rocking a beige cotton chino also by Brothers. Followers of my blog will notice my satisfaction with them. I am more than glad to recommend them as a clothing store in Sweden.
You can see what a beautiful contrast the darker colour has with beige or white. Elegant and playful at the same time. Pair them up with loafers or no socks look stylish all summer.
Do you want to up the ante? Dress up a little bit with a pair of Chelsea boots. Notice how the socks match the shirt?
Pro Tip: Always remember to match the colour of your belt to that of your shoes!
Summer Style For Men Is Easy
You read it right. It is not rocket science. In fact you actually do the same thing as with all your outfits. You match the colours, you decide on the patterns and you go out and rock that rooftop bar.
The difference is that you select a fabric that is fit for the occasion. You will feel cool and light while the pretender in the other group will be sweating in his woollen suit. You will then leave a smirk, shout “Victory and Glory” or “Muahahaha!” inside your head and sip your cocktail.
So there it is gentlemen. How do you incorporate linen in your outfits? Join the conversation in the comments section.
Thank you for reading,