Dressing for the office in summer

At the height of summer, while everyone is in a Caribbean resort posting Mojito pictures, you are probably still in the office. If this is one of those years for you, here are some very practical tips about what to wear at work over the next few weeks to survive the heat, muggy days, air conditioning and resist “the shorts temptation”.

1. Do the transitioning to a summer wardrobe

If your office has a specific dress code, you will probably enjoy air conditioning, won’t you? If it’s freezing cold in your office, it doesn’t mean you should wear the same old autumn suit. First of all, because you will be hot in a 280 g herringbone suit when you have to walk long distances. Secondly, your heavyweight wardrobe needs breathing, allow it a break, it will last longer.

2. Check your suit jacket construction

Let’s be honest, your jacket is your worst enemy in the heatwave. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t wear it and if you are about to put it off, don’t do it! Just pick the right office jacket. Have a quick look at all your summer jackets and make sure they are unlined or half-lined, better if they are not provided with shoulder pads.

3. Learn to tell differences among fabrics

Cotton and linen are the best materials to use in summer: this is a fact (and we keep repeating it!). Yet, staying cool is not just a matter of fibres, but also a matter of weaving. So, opt for garments cut from plain-weave fabrics, such as hopsack, which helps create air flow. One step behind: what’s a plain weave? It’s the most basic weave, since every weft thread crosses a warp thread, making it hard-wearing.

4. Do not wear loose-fitting clothing

You are looking forward to wearing loose-fitting clothes, right? A baggy garment can spoil anybody’s style. Do allow a small distance between your clothes and you, your sweat will be able to evaporate then – one centimeter will be enough.

5. Choose the right accessories

Do you like braces? We do understand you, yet, they are ideal for colder months, because they prevent sweat from evaporating. As to the main accessory of man’s clothing, the necktie, we are sure that nobody will blame you for not wearing it. Show off a pocket square instead!

6. Always wear socks (or a kind of)

Socks are now allowed in the most conservative workplaces: in an unbearably-hot summer you are allowed to bare your ankles a bit. Wearing a pair of no-show cotton socks will save your feet from excessively sweating and then smelling.

7. Wear an undershirt

It’s hard to believe, yet wearing a thick undershirt will help you stay cooler. Its absorption properties help sweat evaporate from your body and protect your shirts from bleaching in the sleeve area.

BRULI summer wardrobe

Lightness, comfort and colour: these are the keywords of every summer dress code. Blue colour with all its shades, red and beige dominate other nuances. Natural, lightweight and breathable fabrics, entirely made of cotton, silk or linen, for a flawless look even on the hottest days.

BRULI Spring Summer 2018 collection is enriched with new shades and textures. Pure and essential lines, never extreme, designed for contemporary travellers and all detail lovers.


Before we break down the 5 major dress shirt fabrics, it is important to point out the fundamentals of what makes a great fabric.

Step one:  Identifying the core: is it cotton, man-made fibers or silk? Ideally, you want to stick with cotton as it is the undisputed king of dress shirt fabrics. A finely woven cotton fabric has all the properties a man could want from a garment worn close to the body: good heat and moisture conduction, durability, smoothness, and the ability to take shape when ironed.

Man-made fibers, on the other hand, don’t offer the same comfort as a cotton shirt but do have their own set of advantages. They are often wrinkle and stain resistant and can be ideal for budget minded individuals. Lastly, there is silk, often associated as a luxury fabric, silk offers that high sheen and light drape.

Step two: Know your ply. Ply is how many yarns are twisted together to make a single thread. Dress shirt fabrics are most often two-ply or single ply. Two-ply fabrics are generally superior to single-ply fabrics.

Step three: The count. Thread count indicates the size of the thread in the fabric and therefore how many threads per square inch and is often referred to with a number like 50s, 80s, 100s, 120s, 140s 160s, etc up to 200s. For example, 140s means there are 140 hanks (1 hank = 840 yards) of yarn in one pound. Higher numbers mean that the threads are finer which results in a softer, smoother and lighter fabric.

Step four: The finish. Often overlooked, the finish of the fabric is the production process used to actually mill the fabric. A 2-ply 200s fabric sounds impressive but if it’s made with low quality cotton by a dubious manufacturer then it is no better and probably worse than a 1-ply 50s fabric made by a reputable mill.

  • Similar to pinpoint oxford- slightly heavier thread and looser weave
  • Slightly rougher texture but is more durable than most fabrics
  • Symmetrical basket weave where one yarn may cross two yarns
  • Originally developed for sports, the oxford shirt is great as a casual button down shirt


  • A plain weave fabric with a colored warp and a white weft
  • Generally made with heavier yarns for a rugged,  blue-collar workwear appeal
  • Great for casual wear


  • A sturdy cotton twill textile- possibly coarser twill.
  • Typically softer, lighter versions of the fabric then that of your jeans
  • Great for casual wear


  • Made from a plain weave of fine yarns, creating a thin, soft, smooth, long-lasting fabric
  • Thin and breathable – great for under jackets or blazers
  • Can be slightly transparent due to it’s thinness
  • Does well with retaining smoothness after being ironed


  • Distinctive diagonal weave
  • Soft, and a bit thicker and warmer than poplin
  • Has a tendency to wrinkle easily for some
  • Works under a jacket, but not quite as breathable as poplin
  • Seems to be difficult to remove stains from twill

“The pocket square for a man is like the bag for a woman, it should be never missing”.

            Inexplicably absent in the breast pocket of politicians and showbiz personalities, one could think it is only worn by people of the industry and style lovers. Nothing wronger: that pocket is there for a reason, which is not only to hold the sunglasses. Sufficient reason for social disapproval is surely to choose identically patterned pochette and tie. Elegance means “balance” and the trick is to find the right match between shirt, jacket, tie and pocket square as for the fabric and the pattern. For instance, a wool or cashmere pocket square is better with a tweed jacket just like a solid one is more advisable if combined with a striped shirt and a patterned tie. Fabrics range from silk, to wool and from cashmere to linen and cotton; measures are diverse, but 40x40cm, hand-rolled pocket squares have a particular charm.

           Regarding this mysterious accessory, a common and old doubt is about “how to wear it”. The web is charged with photos of origami-shaped or ufo-shaped handkerchiefs and there are many ways of folding, but surely those stiff four peaks coming out of the breast pocket do not get on well with the so-loved and all-Italian sprezzatura.

           Whether it be squared, with two, three of four peaks outside, “rose-shaped”, with just the center outside or with both center and peaks outside (the last one is very elegant), the best is to wear it with nonchalance. An old saying goes: “Elegance means forgetting what you are wearing”. Wise words.










Written by Fabio Attanasio – author of the blog thebespokedudes.com

Nicolai Popovici

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