Nothing wrong with wearing shorts. Some men’s fashion snobs might drop the “only children wear shorts” line, fully dripping with the pretentiousness that comes with desiring a crystal viewing case for their collection of freeze dried, formally worn boutineers, but… nobody likes those types. Feel bad for them. They’re lonely.
Yet sometimes in the summer you can’t wear shorts. Or you just flat out don’t want to. Maybe showing some leg would be inappropriate for the occasion. Or you want to keep the sun off your easy-to-burn calves. Or you’re heading out to a nice restaurant on a date. The good news is that men’s retail seems to have increased the availability of lighter weight, summer ready pants for all of those situations. Whether worn with a tee and sneakers, or a sportcoat and loafers, there’s a breezy pant for that outfit. Here’s ten of the best that fall into the affordable realm:
A true lightweight, all cotton chino made in warm weather colors. Noticeably airy, right out of the box, and wears extremely well in temps north of 80. They’re not as beefy as a standard chino, and that seems to add some wrinkling if you wear them a few times between washes (as shown above). Not nearly as bad as linen or a linen/cotton blend though. Their “Sutton” fit claims to be slim through hip & thigh, with a slim leg. 15.5″ opening at the leg. Trimmer, but not so tight that air can’t move around between the pants and your skin. Also available in their straight fit “Bleecker”, or super slim “Driggs”. Colors may vary depending on fit though. Size shown is 33×30.
Bonobos “Oxley” Oxford Cloth Pants – $68 – $98 (almost out of stock?)
Is Bonobos skipping their Oxleys this year, in favor of pushing their “summer weight” chinos? Not sure, but if they are, that’s a darn shame. Even though the Oxleys transformed from a more casual, soft pant at their initial release, to a more dressed up, crisper pant in the most recent runs… they were still a favorite for some.
Dressier than most of the rest, but sometimes that’s called for. Tab waist & leg creases on all three. Unless you’re super slim, consider their “classic” fit. Why? Because wearing super tight clothes in the summer can reduce ventilation. And the “classic” Bowery is anything but a ballooning classic fit pant. Fear not if you’re super slim, since J. Crew makes plenty of these summer Bowery pants in plenty of slimmer fits. Often on sale, and to get the price above you’ll need to use the 25% off code SHOPNOW.
Highly similar to the J. Crew Factory Sutton in both weight and fit. Maybe a little slimmer through the thighs. The 100% cotton chino isn’t quite as soft as the JCF option, but not rigid either. Six different warm-weather shades to pick from. Shown above is the already marked down, saturated dark teal “bodies of water” color. Always on sale. Size shown is 33×30.
And they are a true slim. Size shown is 32×30 and they felt shrink wrapped on 5’10” / 185. BUT, the fabric was noticeably lighter than their standard chinos, they come in five shades, and the cotton is soft without feeling squishy or brushed. Construction is pretty nice too. It’s a lightweight pant, but not cheap feeling. Do know that these have that branding tag just over the back right pocket (as shown above). Some guys hate that, some don’t care. Often on sale.
After their highly successful wool trousers sold out in a hot second (full review here), Jomers is now back with made in the USA pants for summer. Available in three oxfords, two chambrays, a seersucker, and a handful of lightweight twills. The size chart for these new summer-weight chinos appears to be exactly the same as the chart for their wool trousers, so most will see them as slim but not super tight. All pants come with a 34.5 inch inseam, ready to be hemmed by your tailor (or you, if you’re handy with a sewing machine). This collection isn’t live quite yet on their site, so if you want to beat the rush, now’s the time. Shipping is free, but you’re on the hook for returns.
Haven’t seen these in person yet, but UNIQLO does do a nice job of working in just enough technology (by way of polyester) into their fabrics. 85% cotton / 15% poly on their solid option, & 81% cotton / 19% poly on the cordlane. Also available in a grey Glen Plaid as well as Houndstooth.
A nice, do-anything pant for the summer. Has that more-formal leg crease, but the 54% cotton / 46% linen fabric puts off a more casual feel. So you could wear them casually, or pressed and dressed up a bit. Size shown is a 33×30 here, and is going to be much more comfortable than the Aiden fit for guys with a thicker lower body. Also available in solids. Often on sale, but BR is running a shorts/polos code through today (6/8) and it doesn’t apply to these summery pants.
Sure, Bonobos makes a summer-weight chino. But they’re gonna run you almost a hundred bucks. Meanwhile, their flagship washed cotton chino, the regular-ol’ non-summer weight version, is already pretty airy and lightweight. So if you want to save a few bucks, keep an eye out for on-sale/clearance Bonobos pants either direct through them, at Nordstrom, or on Nordstrom Rack or their flash sale site Hautelook. Usually the pants that make it to markdowns might be a little funky in shade… but that’s perfect for the hotter weather.
Slim or Straight GAP Linen/Cotton Khakis – $41.96 w/ BETTER
Best in show. Terrific 53% linen, 47% cotton blend that doesn’t wrinkle horribly. Just two shades offered, but both are spot on. The deeper navy blue (shown at top here) looks a little like chambray from a distance, but the tell-tale flecks of linen are easy to see closer up. The grey (only available in straight fit) or “mission tan” (only available in slim) should be perfect for those super hot days. 33×30 in straight fit shown above. Code BETTER is good for 30% off through today, but they do dip to 40% off every so often.