Easy and Elegant Life

The Search for Everyday Elegance and the Art of Living Well.

The Heat Is On: Elegant Dressing in Warmer Months


This topic is near and dear to the heart of any Southerner. When summer comes we often talk of the “three h’s.” Hazy. Hot. Humid.  Even as far north as Washington, D.C., which we all know was built on a swamp. It’s not easy to stay elegantly attired in the swamp. We do embrace seersucker and to some extent, cotton, but linen hasn’t really caught on. People just can’t get around the wrinkling that happens as soon as the garment comes  off the hangar.

Our man above has done it one better. He has custom linen shirts made up. This particularly well-tailored model will be worn with a linen blazer and linen trousers. Did I mention that he is a corporate lawyer?


Another secret brought to us via Napoli, is to strip all the unnecessary padding and lining out of your suit coats and blazers. Call them “unconstructed,” if you will. They fit very well, but leave little room for error. Again, rigorous tailoring is necessary to ensure you don’t look like you’re wearing a blanket. Larry Wood, of Leviner Wood, shows off a quarter lined wool suit coat that has a linen look. The seams are taped to finish them  off neatly.  Making a coat like this takes more time than machining in a lining. Making one up in a fresco cloth, or other similarly open weave fabric, will increase wearability of the garment and make you aware of just how much we over-aircondition our offices in the summer.


Here in Richmond, VA, you’ll also find a lot of folks going in for more color. Blazers are royal blue or tan instead of navy. The stronger colors aren’t as jarring in the stronger sunlight. Rarely will you see this at work, but rather, at the weekend, at the club, in church, at brunch or cocktails.

For those of you who work in a casual environment, or default to khakis and  a polo shirt at the weekend, I can’t recommend Sunspel’s Riviera shirt highly enough. It has a very open piqué-like weave that lets every breath of air straight through.

Finally, liberal doses of Gold Bond body powder in shoes helps feet keep cool.

2 thoughts on “The Heat Is On: Elegant Dressing in Warmer Months

  1. Dear Chris,
    Linen is by far THE most comfortable fabric to wear during hot and humid days. Very smart alternative is the unconstructed blazer without the lining and padding. Of course tropical weight wool does help as well.
    Enjoy your upcoming hot weather and try to stay cool.

  2. I love the advice. My wife and I have been committed to trying to live without depending on the a/c quite as much, but sometimes even here in the mid west it’s “too darn hot.”

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