The Do’s & Don’ts Of Summer Dressing

by Jamie Wilson
The Do's & Don'ts Of Summer Dressing

Reviewed & updated: October 19, 2022 by Jamie Wilson BA

When it comes to fashion choices, what to wear in the summer can undoubtedly be tricky to figure out. So if you can’t get the question “what should I wear this summer?” out of your head, you’ve come to the right place.

What Not to Wear in Summer

Choosing what not to wear during summer can be a tough process and you’ll have to operate by exclusion. You need to figure out what’ll keep you cool and what pieces go well together. It may be all well and good having a load of summer clothes in your wardrobe, but if they don’t go well together, things just won’t look good.

The Do's & Don'ts Of Summer Dressing
@chiến bá via pexels

If you’re landing on this page, you must be after some tips for men about what not to wear in the summer. It’s warm, it’s sunny and you want to look cool, and stay cool at the same time. Complaining won’t result in lowering temperatures, so you better get ready to fight the hot weather in style. Summer is always fun – there’s barbecues every weekend, you can happily sit in a pub garden all day and you don’t have to wake up in the dark. But when it comes to what to wear, summer is a minefield of fashion faux pas. So, here’s what you should steer clear of.

Not Wearing a Shirt

If you’re anywhere other than the beach or garden, you’ve officially crossed the proverbial line if you walk around shirtless. No matter how proud you are of your ripped body, it’s still not acceptable to walk around topless in the middle of the city. It’s understandable that with desperate times come desperate measures, but please, keep it classy, and by all means enjoy that sun in your garden but in public, save something for the imagination.

Sunglasses Indoors

This is a rule for all seasons, but it can be more tempting to wear sunglasses indoors during summer. Because even Tinie Tempah looks a bit like a tw*t when he does this. Unless you happen to take a step in doors quickly, please don’t wear sunglasses inside – you’re not in The Matrix. Plus, putting them on your head or on your shirt collar isn’t that hard, is it?

Leather Jackets

Leather jackets are the epitome of cool, don’t get me wrong. But they’re not exactly ideal during the summer. If you’ll be sweating in your leather jacket, it doesn’t really make you look cool, right? Denim jackets and lightweight bomber jackets are perfect for this season, so why not give them a go instead?

Capri Pants

The Do's & Don'ts Of Summer Dressing
@Vlad Chețan via pexels

Just because you can buy crocs, it doesn’t mean you should. The same goes for Capri pants – just because they exist, you don’t have to buy them. Unless you take tourists for rides on a gondola in the canals of Venice for a living, there should be no reason why you should wear them. Capri pants create awkward proportions as they break the natural line of your leg and therefore make you look shorter. Nobody wants that.

Cargo Shorts

The same rules as Capri Pants apply. 3/4 lengths are just not flattering, forget they even exist, put that thought to the back of your mind and hope it doesn’t come back. Sure, all those pockets can be helpful making cargo shorts a tempting option, but let’s be honest, no one has that much stuff to carry around.

Sandals with Socks

This rule shouldn’t be limited to summertime. You should never wear sandals with socks. Never. Especially white socks. That’s where fashion and style go to die holding hands. It ranks pretty high in the seven ‘what not to wear as a fashion statement’ deadly sins. There’s not much else to say about this other than don’t even think about doing it, no matter how many times people have tried, we’re just not fans.

What Not to Wear to Work

Working in the heat isn’t something we look forward to. We’d much rather be outside, embracing the rays before the standard British weather returns. Ideally, we should have three months of a holiday but we can’t put business on hold just because we’d rather be at the beach. Therefore, nailing the men’s summer business attire can be tricky.

Now, no matter how high the temperature is, it’s unlikely that you work on the set of a Sean Paul video. For that reason, try to avoid exposing too much skin. You should aim to keep it professional no matter how hot it is outside. There are cool fabrics to go for like linen and lightweight cottons, and if you try to go for light colours instead of black and dark navy, you’ll be able to stay a little cooler.

Vests and Tank Tops

If you’re going to the gym or doing some gardening, by all means, wear a vest. The only profession in which vests are tolerated is if you’re a lifeguard. There’s a substantial difference between a relaxed look and looking like you’ve been stranded on a deserted island for weeks. T-shirts, polo shirts, shirts with rolled up sleeves or striped short sleeved shirts all make excellent choices and look at lot more professional.

Short Shorts

Shorts are a summer essential – you couldn’t possibly survive the heat without them, but don’t get all excited and cut up your old jeans and turn them into short shorts. As a ‘what not to wear tip’, no matter how great your legs and bum may look, your co-workers really don’t need to see that much of your thighs. So keep your shorts at a reasonable length. If you can wear shorts to the office, make sure they’re tailored and smart and make sure you pair them with a polo or short sleeved shirt to maintain the office appropriate look.

Sweatpants and Sweat Shorts

The Do's & Don'ts Of Summer Dressing
@Edgar Rodrigo via pexels

Once again, save these for the gym or taking your dog out for a walk – if you really must wear them. But the office isn’t your living-room, and giving the mental image of you chilling on your couch being lazy is the last thing you want in a work environment – unless you’re a personal trainer, or a rapper, of course.

How to Dress for Summer

Now that we’re half way through and have the summer fashion don’ts out of the way, we can take a look at some men’s fashion tips for summer. The aim here is to be functional whilst keeping it cool, quite literally as well. Here are a few basic summer pieces you need in your wardrobe.


Even thought you might use them for only two or three months of the year, having the perfect pair of sunglasses is a great investment and does make one hell of a difference. A pair of classic Ray-Ban sunglasses are famous for looking good on pretty much everyone, so experiment with different frames until you find the best one for you. 

Summer Layering

As counterintuitive as summer layering sounds, we all know that you can’t rely on the British weather. One second it’s sunny and the sky is totally clear and then before you know it you’ll find yourself in the middle of a thunderstorm. So don’t be fooled by the nice weather, it lies to us and doesn’t come around that often. It’s always a good idea to plan ahead and carry a summer blazer or a lightweight or denim jacket with you, just in case.


T-Shirts are one of the best ways to keep cool during the summer. You can play around with colours to create a summery look. Just beware of the dreaded sweat patches – if you know you can’t handle a bright coloured T-shirt without looking a little hot and wet, stick to white as this won’t show up as much. If the weather is unbelievably hot, beware of fitted T-shirts as they will contribute to you feeling warmer, so try to choose a relaxed, loose fit instead.

If you want a basic T-shirt, stick to a selection of simple colours. Plus, try to keep things fairly light, because opposed to black, white reflects sunlight instead of absorbing it, therefore making you feel warmer if you’re in black. White tees are incredibly versatile and go with anything from jeans to chinos to shorts.

Baseball Hats

Baseball hats and caps are a summer essential that’ll constantly be a source of shade for your face. Ideal for a relaxed stroll in the park or a casual BBQ day. Caps and hats are the key to nailing the street style look and can be paired with so many casual outfits.

Summer Office Wear

Short Sleeved Shirts

If you need to dress up a little, forget the T-shirts and go for something smarter. Summer always calls for short sleeved shirts – they’re a mandatory men’s fashion tip for summer and we can’t recommend them enough. Patterned shirts are a great example of how functional and versatile dressing for the summer can be – spot on for any casual gathering with your friends. They add some fun and festival vibes to your outfit while also keeping you super cool. Just wear it open over a plain tee and you’ll have a look that’ll go from day to night.

With shirts, you need to think about the fabric. Both cotton and linen come from a natural fibre and are great allies to have during summer. Linen is fairly absorbent and incredibly fresh, breezy and transpiring. So if you’re thinking about the material, linen should be one of your top choices.

Suit Shorts

Unless you’re required to wear a suit, wearing shorts to work will do wonders for you. If you’re lucky enough to work in a casual office you can treat yourself to a pair of chino or denim shorts. Keep the shorts a decent length and the colours fairly minimal. Tailor, chino shorts are probably better as the material and cut is a lot smarter.

The Do's & Don'ts Of Summer Dressing
@Teddy Joseph via pexels

Polo Shirts

If you don’t want to wear a full on shirt, a polo shirt can be romantically described as the love child of a shirt and a T-shirt, so it gives you that good smart casual balance. With polo shirts, the best qualities of shirts and T-shirts come together and are a great asset if you’re undecided on what to wear to work. They come in a variety of fabric compositions, but just like T-shirts, cotton polo shirts are indispensable for the summer, and the collar they’ve inherited from their shirt side of the family make them an excellent choice for the office.

What Shoes to Wear

Tennis Shoes

Canvas, rubber-soled sneakers such as Converse All Stars or Vans are the perfect summer shoe. Keep them light and clean and you’ll have a business casual look, and paired with chinos and a shirt, this outfit can be worn both to work and the pub.

Boat Shoes

Boat shoes are a great alternative to trainers if you’re looking for something slightly more smart-casual. But remember, try not to wear them with socks or if you don’t like the feeling of wearing shoes on naked feet, make sure you wear a pair of rich cotton invisible socks. These are light and perfect for summer. They also look smart and suitable for the smart casual office.

Desert Boots

You can never do wrong with a classic pair of desert boots. They suit many occasions so you can go to your BBQ straight from the office without having to bring a change of shoes with you. Suitable for both the summer and winter months, investing in a pair is definitely worth your time.

What Not to Wear During Summer

  • Be selective when it comes to what you need, it’s all about light coloured basics that you can mix and match.
  • Think about the materials you go for, something light like cotton or linen will work best.
  • Remove the existence of Capri pants, cargo shorts and socks and sandals from your brain. They don’t suit anyone.
  • Wearing shorts is always a good idea, just remember that there’s a time and place as well as a style you should go for.
  • Make sensible choices when it comes to footwear. Carefully avoid flip flops and espadrilles when at work and opt for desert boots or tennis shoes instead.

On That Note

Battling the hot weather is no easy task, but now you have the know-how on avoiding all the fashion crimes that unbearable temperatures might lead you to commit, you’ll never be in doubt again. So if you feel like you need to edit and update your wardrobe, this is the perfect time to do so.

Feature image from Pexels

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