Winter is (hopefully) 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 once spring decides to stick around.
Your Pants: Jeans –> Lightweight Cotton/Tech/Linen/Tropical Wool Pants
- Banana Republic Core Temp Chinos – $58.80 when 40% off ($98)
- J.C.F Lightweight Flex Chinos in Slim or Straight Fit – $30ish
- Spier & Mackay Tropical Wool “Fresco” Trousers – $128
- Spier and Mackay Cotton/Linen Trousers – $128
- Bonobos Oxford Cloth Stretch Chinos – $70.40 w/ ECLIPSE20 ($88)
- GAP Cotton/Linen Khakis – $41.97 when 40% off ($69.95)
This is a tough one for jeans addicts, but denim, even if it’s in a trendier, lighter wash, can feel awfully weighty and suffocating once the mercury heads north. 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 chinos too. Maybe even a tech chino. It makes all the difference.
Your Suits: Navy & Charcoal –> Med. Blue & Light Gray
- Suitsupply Napoli Fit Mid Blue Suit – $399
- Black Lapel Light Gray Fresco Suit – $599
- Suitsupply Lazio Fit Mid Gray Suit – $569
- Spier and Mackay Light Gray Tropical Wool Suit – $348
- Spier and Mackay Postal Blue Suit – $348
Navy and charcoal are always appropriate for job interviews and other important occasions, but for daily wear, or, if you’re headed out for a nice dinner? Switch to a color that’s less London financial district in December. There are a TON of medium blue options out there these days, and the pale, almost dove gray look is catching up quick.
Your Shoes: Heavy Leather Boots –> Suede Shoes & Chukkas
- Allen Edmonds Nomad Suede Chukka – $225 ($375)
- Banana Republic Nyle Italian Lace-Up Oxford – $94.80 ($158)
- Nordstrom 1901 Stucker Bucks – $109.95
- Banana Republic Suede Wingtips – $94.80 ($158)
Bye sh*t kicking boots. See you in September. Meanwhile, suede, with its matte texture, helps reflect the casual feel of the season, all while not reflecting the sun’s rays. Look for lighter weight (physically and visually) shoes for the warmer months. And chukkas? Don’t dismiss chukkas. They can look and feel great in the warm weather.
Your Sportcoats: Tweed/Thick Wool –> Lightweight Wools, Linen, or Cotton
- Bonobos Unconstructed Italian Hopsack Wool Sportcoat – $320 – $360 w/ ECLIPSE20 ($400 – $450)
- Spier & Mackay Linen/Wool Windowpane Sportcoat – $348
- J. Crew Factory Cotton/Linen Sportcoat – $99ish
- Suitsupply Havana Fit Linen Blend Sportcoats – $399 – $499
As much as some of us love an updated, dark blue blazer… 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, be sure to favor lighter-weight wools, linen, or crisp cotton sportcoats. And the less lining the better.
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 Sweaters: Heavy Wool –> Lightweight Merino, Cotton, or Linen
- B.R. Supima Cotton Button-Shoulder Sweater – $59.10 ($98.50)
- B.R. Silk Linen Stripe Sweater – $47.70 ($79.50)
- UNIQLO Extra Fine Merino V – $39.90 (very lightweight and perfect for year round)
- J.C.F. Chunky Cardigan Sweater in Marled Cotton – $45ish
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 Belts: Heavy Leather –> Cotton, Ribbon, or Suede
- Jomers Made in the USA Sagamore Cotton Macrame – $20
- Banana Republic Stretch Belt – $32.70 ($54.50)
- BB#1 Stripe Ribbon Belt – $48
- Suitsupply Gray Suede Belt – $59
Like switching from boots and smooth leather dress shoes to suede chukkas and wingtips, 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 (because you’re “supposed” to match your belt to your shoes), this is where that rule has wiggle room. 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 Watchstrap: Leather –> Rubber/Fabric NATO
- Clockwork Synergy NATO Strap – $17.49
- Crown and Buckle HD NATO Strap – $15.00
- 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. Watch shown above is the sadly out of production old Seiko SNZJ series. But you could always get the cheap Casio Diver and slap it on the same strap. Would look just as good.
Your Ties: Smooth Silk or Wool –> Knit Silk/Linen/Chambray
- TheTieBar Chambray Tie – $19.00
- TheTieBar Pointed Tip Knit Ties – $25
- Suitsupply Cotton/Silk Knit Striped Tie – $69
- Kent Wang Knit Navy Tie with White Dots – $70
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 Underwear: Cotton –> Something wicking and quick drying
If you’re not gonna make the switch during swamp-ass season, then you have no hope. FOR THE WIND AND THE RAIN MAN, MAKE THE SWITCH. Please. You deserve a serene perineum.
A version of this post originally ran in 2016, but has since been updated with current product suggestions.