The Suggestion: Chinos, Chukkas, & a Polo for Hot Weather Casual
There are endless combinations. It’s timeless. It’s comfortable. And if you get your fit right, it looks terrific.
No one is saying you can’t wear shorts. What IS being said, is that chinos, chukkas and a fitted polo should be strongly considered by anyone who wants to look grown-up, put together, and athletic, yet still feel comfortable and look relaxed in the heat of spring and summer.
Now imagine this scene if Craig was wearing shorts and flip flops.
The man is in Haiti. Yes, it’s fiction, but there are a few reasons why wearing pants and boots (instead of shorts and sneakers) really isn’t as hot and stuffy as some might think:
#1. Chinos & Boots allow you to wear medium to lightweight wool socks: It seems counter-intuitive to many, but thinner wool socks (not boot/cabin weight) PREVENT summer swamp foot. That’s worth repeating. Wearing thin wool socks PREVENTS SWAMPY FEET. Wool is a temperature and moisture regulator. Cotton is not. Wearing thin, wool socks is much, much more comfortable than even going sockless. Sweaty hot feet = sweaty hot person, no matter if you’re in shorts or not. And thin wool socks will keep your feet dryer and cooler than alternatives.
#2. Chinos keep the sun off your legs: There’s a reason why the Tuareg are constantly covered. Keep the fabric light, crisp, and breezy, and you won’t feel gross.
#3. Pants elongate your frame: This is purely aesthetic, but shorts chop you up, visually, into more pieces than pants. Pants are more slimming than shorts, and they make you look taller.
Here’s more proof that this combination works. Same character, different movie:
Casino Royale came out in 2006. Notice the boot cut flare to Bond’s pants.
Fits change over time, but the combination still works.
Pretty much the same outfit in Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. Yet there are 8 million other ways to do this. Change the polo color. Change the chino color. And so on and so on. As the season wanes on, we’ll show off a few different ways to do it. For now? Here’s an easy, basic way to execute this look:
The Polo: Old Navy Ultra-Soft Breathe ON Polo for Men in “Goodnight Nora” – $10.50 ($26.99). Doesn’t get more affordable than that. A super inexpensive tech-fabric polo. And they come with this rave review from reader Jeff H. who said: I bought several of Old Navy’s Ultra-Soft Breathe ON Polos last year and highly recommend them. The fabric feels really good, and I find the fit spot on (though with the usual Old Navy inconsistency). Also worth a shout would be the Luxe Touch polo from Banana Republic. All cotton there though, and some people have trouble with them shrinking.
The Chinos: Target Goodfellow & Co Tech Chinos in Beige – $29.99. A traditional “British Khaki” color sported by 007. Has a bit more richness to it, while still remaining light in shade, than some sickly looking pleated dockers out there. Don’t go with those. Go with these instead. If you want something even lighter in shade, try these from Bonobos in “Soft Grey”.
The Chukkas: Sanders Made in the UK Hi Top Chukka Boot in Snuff Suede – $206. Take care of your feet. Totally worth the investment. One of the most comfortable pairs of shoes (athletic, dress, or otherwise) I’ve ever put on my feet. Super springy. Full disclosure, I’ve never ordered from Stuarts of London but their prices are hard to beat. Returns would probably be a huge pain. But a size 9.5 UK fits my normally 10.5 D US perfectly. Don’t want to spend so big? Get a pair of Clarks for $80 – $90.
The Sunglasses: American Optical Original Pilots in Matte Grey – $99. These USED to go for around $60, but the secret got out. Still though, made in the USA and a timeless classic. 52mm is for smallish heads. 55mm is for average sized noggins. Got a huge gourd? Go for the 57mm size. I can’t find mine (drat) and that’s why you’re seeing a pair of Ray-Ban modern clubmasters at the very top of this post. Really, any timeless pair of shades (aviator or wayfarer or clubmaster) will do.
The Belt: GAP Basic Belt in Brown – $34 ($39.95). Still, forever, and always.
The Socks: Made in the USA Skull & Cross Bones Merino Cool Dress Socks – $9.97 ($19.95). Medium weight here, so terrific cushioning. If you want thinner/lighter weight, go with the tried and true Nordy dress sock.
Want more of these Chinos/Chukkas/Polos outfits? Head here for the archive. We’ll be rebooting this series as the warm weather rolls on with currently available items. But this is the archive if you want it.