Winter is dead. Many of us are looking at our closets, chock full of heavy wools, boots, and dark denim, and we’re thinking: it’s time to make the switch. It’s time to take the cold weather stuff, pack it up, pack it in, and get setup for the warmer months. Weep not for your tweeds & lambswool sweaters. You shall see them again. And fear not, since their alternatives will be more comfortable to wear, while also looking better among the bright sun & laid back vibes of spring & summer. Here are ten switches to consider making ASAP.
Your Pants: Jeans –> Lightweight cotton / linen pants
- B.R. Factory Aiden Fit Slim Linen Blend Chino – $44.99 ($64.99)
- J. Crew Factory Summerweight Chino – $35.50
- J. Crew Factory Slim Chambray Bedford Pant – $64.50.
- Old Navy Ultimate Lightweight Slim Khakis – $39.94
- Bonobos Summerweight Washed Chinos – $98.00
This is a tough one for jeans addicts (my hand is raised). But denim, even if it’s in a trendier, lighter wash, can feel awfully weighty and suffocating once the mercury heads north of 80. The key here is to not just switch to chinos, but chinos that are specifically designed for the warmer months. Look for the words “summer weight” or “light weight” in product descriptions. Or? An infusion of linen helps air out otherwise dense cotton chino too. It makes all the difference. Otherwise, might as well just wear the jeans.
Your Shoes: Boots –> Loafers, Especially in Suede
- Banana Republic Paul Penny Loafer – $148 (wait for a sale, review here)
- Brooks Bros. Suede Monk Straps – $273.50 (if you buy & use a $150 gift card & it’s free $25 card companion)
- J. Crew Kenton Suede Penny Loafer – $148.50 w/ GETSHOPPING ($198)
Bye boots. See you in September. And Oxfords? Oxfords and bluchers are obviously year-round worthy, but less laces = a little more laid back, and isn’t that what summer is all about? If penny loafers don’t seem dressed up enough, try monk straps. And suede, with its matte texture, helps reflect the casual feel of the season, all while not reflecting the sun’s rays.
Your Sportcoats: Tweed/Thick Wool –> Lightweight Wools, Linen, or Cotton
- Bonobos Unconstructed Italian Loose Weave Wool Sportcoat – $398
- J. Crew Ludlow Linen/Cotton Summerweight Sportcoat – $168
- UNIQLO Linen/Cotton Jacket – $79.90
As much as some of us love those J. Crew Legacy Blazers (and other deep navy blue blazers like em’)… even those get shelved for most of the summer. Unless there’s an unusually cold stretch or it’s after dark and plenty cool out, favor lighter-weight wools, linen, or crisp cotton sportcoats. And the less lining the better. More options here.
Your Sweaters: Heavy Wool –> Lightweight Merino, Cotton, or Linen
- J. Crew Cotton/Cashmere Crew – $69.50
- UNIQLO Extra Fine Merino V – $39.90 (very lightweight and perfect for year round)
- B.R. 100% Italian Linen Crew Sweater – $74.50 ($89.00)
- L.E. Breton Stripe Cashmere Crew – $199 (wait for a sale)
Heavy winter sweaters are probably the first thing to hit storage once spring rolls around. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea to have a couple options on hand for cool nights and the occasional cold snap. For fabric, think lightweight merino (or, if you’re splurging, cashmere) and linen blends. Cotton is good too, just be aware that thicker knits can get swampy if it warms back up while you’re wearing it.
Your Ties: Smooth Silk or Wool –> Knit silk/Linen/Cotton
- TheTieBar Chambray Tie in Warm Blue – $19.00
- TheTieBar Silk Knit Necktie – $25.00
- 1901 Stanford Check Cotton Tie – $39.50
- Brooks Brothers Italian Silk Knit Wide Stripe Tie – $41.73 ($79.50)
Sun’s out? Skip the shine. Work in a knit silk (007 approved no less), linen, or cotton tie. It’ll spring-up and summerfy even the most sober of suits or sportcoats.
Your Belts: Heavy Leather –> Cotton or Ribbon
- J. Crew Ticking Stripe Belt – $29.50
- Jomers Made in the USA Sagamore Cotton Macrame – $20 (currently sold out)
- BB#1 Stripe Ribbon Belt – $14.40 ($48)
- Polo RL Reversible Striped Belt – $50.99 w/ PRIVATE16
- J. Crew Cotton Stretch Web Belt in Navy, Black, or Green – $39.50
- UNIQLO Stretch Tape Belt – $19.90
Like switching from boots and smooth leather dress shoes to loafers and suede bucks, losing some weight at the belt line is also a good idea. While some guys might be afraid that one of these belts won’t match their shoes (and you’re “supposed” to match your belt to your shoes), this is where that rule has wiggle room. As long as the belt is in the same ballpark in terms of shade/color, working a woven belt in with suede shoes or leather loafers shouldn’t clash too much. In fact, the opposite is true. Sometimes that contrast can look terrific. Just don’t take it too far (i.e. black polished oxfords with a cotton woven belt or something).
Your Hair: Long –> Short
No, you don’t have to go full buzz cut. But if you do, more power to you. Ask your barber or stylist for a shorter version of what you’ve been carrying around all winter. Plus, reducing your scalp sweater can help keep you cooler. Less hair = less product = less weight and better air flow.
Your Watchstrap: Leather –> Rubber/Fabric NATO
- Clockwork Synergy NATO Strap – $17.49 (shown above on Casio’s terrific diver)
- Maratac Silicone Deployment Clasp Strap – 18.00
Not only can this give an old, favorite watch a new look and therefor new life… it can also prevent stanky sweat funk from infiltrating your leather strap. Rubber/Nylon/Cloth straps are just easier to wash and won’t rot out like leather will after repeated submerging. BUT… if you do end up with a stinky leather watch band? Try washing your strap gently with some saddle soap.
Your Underwear: Contrasting –> Try to match your Skin Tone
The key is to go for something that’s a relative match to your epidermis. Tighty Whities under lighter colored chinos/linen pants can often result in an embarrassing outline showing through. Same goes for something on the dark end of the spectrum if you’re pale and pasty. Grey seems to work pretty well for anyone with a medium to light complexion, while burgundy and blues can work for those with darker skin tones. You might think that pair of summer-weight pants isn’t translucent in the least, but check your arse before you walk out the door to see if your underwear is showing through. You might be surprised.
Your Shower Temperature: Hot –> As cool as you can stand it
Waking up in a cold bedroom and hopping in a hot shower might be one of life’s great pleasures in the fall and winter, but it can set your blood to boil once we hit spring. Try and work your way down over the next couple of weeks in terms of shower temperature, and by the time the dead of summer hits? You’ll be starting the day with a brisk, body invigorating shower. Plus, hot water can strip your skin of moisture. Doing that can cause your skin to over-compensate with more oil, which is probably the last thing you want on a hot and sweaty day.