Archives: summer style for men

Wearing sport coats in the summer – what you need to know

bevel-pockets

Summer is not over yet, fellas. You may be looking forward to Labor Day, but as I write this, I’m glancing at the weather forecast and seeing some 90 degree days – that’s right, we have several more weeks of summer left. And for those of you that may be familiar with Colorado’s fall weather, you’ll know that our fall can often feel like summer – up until October! That means your sport coats in the summer can still be useful.

And as a follow up on one of my more recent blog posts on staying cool during the summer time, I wanted to give you some pointers on wearing a jacket or sport coat during the warm months of summer.

If you’re out and about in Denver during the lunch hour, you’ll notice a lot of guys briskly walking from one air conditioned environment to another. For good reason too, because a lot of these guys are wearing their go-to suits – the woolen jackets that they reach for year round. Very little breathability and usually in a dark hue. As you may know from personal experience, it doesn’t take many city blocks to grow uncomfortably warm in a fall or winter-weight suit or jacket.

Even I was caught off guard a few weeks back. I was heading out for a cocktail on 14th street in Denver one evening at about 9:00 pm. The temperature was still in the 80s and the city sidewalk was still quite warm from the daytime sun. Although I had a linen/wool blend sport coat on, I made two big mistakes: (1) I wore a high thread count cotton shirt and (2) wool pants. Ugh. In my defense, it was a great looking summer outfit, and no one would have been the wiser had it not been for the beads of sweat on my forehead after walking two blocks. Needless to say, I skipped the neck tie, but the open collar simply wasn’t enough to ventilate.

What should I have done differently, you ask?

Sport coats in the summer – the jacket

There was nothing inherently wrong with the jacket. After all, it was a linen blend and I have worn it before and been just fine (although I didn’t have a heavy cotton shirt on). But an even better choice would have been a seersucker or 100% linen coat. Linen breathes like a screen door and the puckered fabric of a seersucker jacket helps to create little air channels to keep you cool. Wearing sport coats in the summer smartly is all about choosing the right fabric.

pick stitching on a custom jacket and an example of sport coats in the summer

The shirt

When the mercury really begins to rise, you almost have to go short sleeves. Now, everyone is different, and for you, maybe a seersucker dress shirt or linen shirt will work just fine. You can also leave the shirt sleeves unbuttoned to aid in ventilation and definitely go sans neck tie.

But what I want you to understand is that it’s completely OK for guys to wear a short sleeve button up or polo under a sport coat, or even a suit if done properly. If it’s a polo, just make sure it’s clean and that the collar hasn’t begun to roll up on itself. For a short sleeve button up, make sure that the collar is strong enough to stand up to the weight of the jacket lapel. And well ironed, too.

Bear in mind, that when you go the short sleeve route, you’re walking a little closer to the line of “too casual,” so you need to be sure that everything is spot on.

The pants

I love linen pants. I think they are the coolest thing ever. They feel like pajamas, and once you learn to accept them, the wrinkles are actually part of what makes linen pants so cool. However, you need to be careful that you don’t look like you actually are wearing pajamas. You can do this by building linen pants that are in a traditional pant style. You can also find linen/wool blends that will provide a more refined look – something that will pair better with a sport coat, than say, my favorite linen pants that have a drawstring (hence the reason I wasn’t wearing them during my night out).

Odds and ends

A few other helpful things to bear in mind when wearing a sport coats in the summer:

1. Regardless of what you’re wearing, if it begins to get too warm, take off the jacket. I think you’re better off carrying your jacket like a gentleman than you are sweating in your clothes. Sometimes it’s just too damn hot for a jacket, and that’s OK.

2. Skip the socks. And try to wear some breathable shoes to help ventilate your feet.

3. No neck tie. The last thing you should do when it’s 80 deg and above is tighten up your shirt collar and put another layer of fabric around your neck. But for those instances when you need to wear a tie, go with cotton. Save silk and knit varieties for the cooler months.

Wrap up

The key takeaway of this blog post is to realize that there’s nothing inherently wrong about sport coats in the summer. It’s just an opportunity to wear the lighter fabrics – cotton and linen. Heavier fabrics like wool are just going to be too warm when it gets really hot. Even the high quality merino wool – which actually breaths pretty darn well – is only going to take you so far.

And when you figure out how to dress appropriately for the warm weather, you’ll probably find that you’re the only one dressed up – this is especially true when you’re going out at night. On another evening, I was walking around downtown Boulder and in passing, overhead a group of guys exclaim, “ah man, we should have dressed up more.”

By Ryan Wagner

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5 smart ways to stay cool this summer – with style

summer-style

Before our first 90 degree day here in the Denver area, I thought it prudent to write an article on smart ways to stay cool this summer, but still look sharp.

Why is this important? As opposed to say, hopping from air conditioned box to air conditioned box?

Because sooner or later, you’re going to find yourself walking 4 city blocks for coffee (see tip #5) or on a hot patio for a lunch meeting with a client. In either scenario, you would be far better off if you didn’t need to worry about wet pits, right?

So, let’s get started. Here are 5 clever ways to keep cool as the mercury rises this summer.

1. Choose smart fabrics

Cotton and linen should be your go-to picks for the hot days of summer. They both breath well and are easy to clean. And linen, as you probably know, wrinkles like nobody’s business, but that’s perfectly OK. Honestly, I think it’s the wrinkles that make it look so great.

Then there’s seersucker – that quintessential Kentucky Derby material. The pucker of the fabric helps to create little air channels that will work to circulate air around you.

2. Unbutton your cuffs

This is a great way to vent your shirt, because any additional opening will help to transfer warm air and keep you cool.

But you have to be careful and make sure that this doesn’t look sloppy. Obviously, for French cuff shirts, once you take out the cuff link all hell breaks loose, but even traditional cuff shirts can sometimes act a little unruly. So, just make sure that your sleeve isn’t too baggy and I think you’ll be fine.

And of course, you can roll up your sleeves. However, you’ll find that on really warm days, this can actually restrict air flow down your arm, because bunching up all that fabric and cinching it above your elbow is basically acting as a blockage.

3. Short sleeves

Just because you joined the ranks of the adult population doesn’t mean that your short sleeve days are over, it just means that you need to be a little more careful in your selection. Steer clear of baggy shirts and anything that makes an effort to intentionally tell you it’s “relaxed.”

And remember, short sleeve button up dress shirts are just like long sleeve shirts in the sense that there is formal and there is casual. For instance, building a shirt with front pockets in seersucker is going to be a relatively casual looking shirt. On the other hand, choosing a fine linen with a clean front and with a strong collar is something that can be worn under a blazer.

Speaking of blazers, it is perfectly OK to wear a short sleeve button up dress shirt or crisp polo shirt under a blazer – so long as it’s hot outside. Most of the time, you want to wear long sleeves so that a little bit of your shirt peaks out from your jacket cuff and helps to frame your overall look. But in the summer, there’s nothing wrong with opting for a short sleeve linen shirt with a collar that can still hold its shape under the weight of a jacket lapel.

4. Unstructured jackets

Speaking of jackets, there is no reason to stop wearing them in the summertime, you just need to be smart about it. And that means wearing a lightweight, unstructured summer sportcoat. If you missed my blog a couple weeks back, here’s everything you need to know.

The takeaway, is that a summer jacket will have very little to no lining. Therefore, the jacket will be more breathable and comfortable in warm weather.

5. Skip the hot coffee

I’ll be the first to admit that hot coffee in the morning is an absolute necessity for many months of the year, but when it gets really warm, consider swapping out your favorite java for its iced cousin. Same goes for tea – if you’re usually drinking hot tea, switch it over to iced tea.

The reason being is that hot liquids are only going to warm up your core temperature. In the winter time this was obviously in your favor, but in the summer it’s detrimental to your efforts to stay cool and not sweat in your clothes.

Wrap Up

There are a handful of other clever things you can do to stay cool, but for now, this is a good starting point. What did I miss? What are your tricks to keeping cool in the dog days of summer?

And if you need a refresher on some of the most practical warm weather essentials, check out this article from The Modest Man.

By Ryan Wagner

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The Perfect Shirt for Summer – Part I

As I am sure you would expect, those of us at BE have ordered some summer shirts.

And as they begin to trickle in, we thought that it would be fun to feature each one in its own blog post. This way, we can give you some insight into how we design our own shirts.

Summer is a fun time to start something like this. Because shirt style is a little less formal and a little more playful. For instance, the business stripes and plaids take a back seat to the prints and the more textured fabrics, like linen.

Since Brett’s shirt arrived first, we are going to kick off the Perfect Shirt for Summer series with a versatile print style. In my opinion, it has Mediterranean vacation written all over it.

Consequently, we’re calling it the Sorrento, after the peninsula located in Southern Italy.

But don’t think that you need to be zipping around the Italian coastline in your vintage Fiat in order to wear a shirt like this; Brett drives a 4Runner!

So, let’s break it down.

Fabric

Brett wanted something semi-casual. A shirt that he could wear to the office, but that would also pass for poolside style. What he ended up with was a white with blue print. The abstract design has coastal references and just looks downright cool.

To dress it up, Brett can carefully choose a bow tie or neck tie (this is tricky though, for any print design), and wear the sleeves down and cuffs buttoned. Or, he can loosen the collar and roll the sleeves up for happy hour on a patio.

Cuffs

Regarding the cuffs, Brett wanted to do something a little different and so he chose the envelope style. This is a unique cuff design and one that you don’t see very often.

I think it has an almost vintage appeal.

Bretts-shirt-detail

Collar

Depending on which day of the week it is, I sometimes feel that the button down collar is formal and then sometimes I say just the opposite. Today, I’m thinking it depends on the fabric. And with the more casual print fabric of the Sorrento, I think Brett really nailed it with the button down collar. I say this because the buttons help to add some structure and help the collar maintain its shape. After all, there are no collar stays, so this is important.

Bretts-collar

Accents

You probably already noticed the red button hole stitching on the cuff, didn’t you? The bright red looks great up against the white of the shirt and blue background. And when you wear the sleeves down and buttoned, it provides you with an opportunity to show off the detail of the shirt.

However, you may notice that Brett didn’t carry the accent theme across all of the button holes, as that would make for a potentially distracting shirt (especially on a predominately white background).

Bretts-made-in-the-usa

Wrap up

Want to be just like Brett?! The Sorrento is available today in our online store.

And we will continue to build on this series.

By Ryan Wagner