Summer Layering – Stylish or Sweltering?

When most people think of masculine summer fashion, they think of guys in T-shirts, tank tops, or other one-layer outfits. But from time to time, you might need to participate in summer layering, wearing more than one outfit on your chest and upper body. But will that cause you to sweat excessively and overheat?

Not necessarily, at least if you fully understand summer layering tricks. Today, let’s break down how you can master summer layering and look stylish without suffering under sweltering heat.

How to Master Summer Layering

At its core, summer layering is a matter of choosing the right clothing and wearing the right number of layers. Make no mistake, you shouldn’t wear more than two layers of clothing in the summer. But the devil is in the details.

Wear the Right Fabrics

First and foremost, it’s vital that you wear the right fabrics if you plan to layer your clothes in the summer. There are certain fabrics that are better for summer apparel on any social occasion, including:

  • Linen, which is breathable, moisture-wicking, and very lightweight. Thus, it's a popular choice for summer suit jackets, trousers, and everything in between. You might also find plenty of twill pants, like these Classic Vintage Twill Pants. Twill is a variation of cotton
  • Seersucker, which is a stylish and unique fabric. Like linen, it's lightweight and moisture-wicking, but it's also exceptionally breathable
  • Cotton, which is cost-effective and very versatile. Cotton shorts, shirts, and other articles are popular choices for summer articles thanks to their breathability, though it isn’t very moisture wicking

Generally, sticking to these three fabrics will help you layer successfully and coolly. When in doubt, try to wear two of the same fabric type, rather than mixing and matching (e.g., a seersucker shirt and jacket rather than a seersucker jacket and cotton shirt).

Two Layers Maximum

As touched on earlier, you should only wear about two layers maximum when layering in the summer. That's because no matter how cool your clothing is, your body will still produce ample heat. Keeping the layers to two maximum will prevent you from overheating as you walk around or otherwise exert yourself.

Coordinate Your Colors for Heat Absorption

Lastly, don’t forget to coordinate colors for proper heat absorption. For the best summer layering results, wear your lightest clothing on the outermost layer and the darkest clothing on the innermost layer. As an example, if you have a pure white suit jacket, you can wear that and have a beige or even gray undershirt.

This is important because lighter colors reflect more sunlight, preventing you from heating up as quickly.

When to Layer in Summer

Wearing the right clothing is just as important as knowing when you should be layering in summer at all. It’s true that, during the majority of summer social occasions, you won’t need to layer. That said, there are plenty of times when summer layering is appropriate or even socially required, including:

  • Summertime weddings, when you might be expected to wear a button-down shirt and suit jacket, for instance
  • Work occasions or get-togethers that take place outdoors. In these cases, you might be served by wearing a tank top and a button-down shirt appropriate for your workplace. Or you can wear a T-shirt, like this Vintage 1946 crew neck, with a durable workplace flannel
  • Formal or semi-formal dinners and cocktail parties. Again, these may require you to wear a suit and undershirt or two shirt layers, though this may not be a terrible thing if the dinner or party takes place during a cool summer evening

Kevin all of these occasions and more, you should keep the above tips in mind. That way, you can layer stylishly and successfully without feeling uncomfortable or overheated.

Examples of Summer Layering

Need some examples of summer layering in action? Here are just a couple of ideas:

  • Wear a button-down shirt and a tank top for work or semi-formal occasions
  • Wear a light shirt and a seersucker suit jacket for weddings and other summer get-togethers
  • Wear a t-shirt and flannel for a summer date night when you know that it’s going to get a little cooler once the sun goes down


As you can see, summer layering is more than possible, and you can do it stylishly by choosing the right garments and by ensuring the garments are made of the right fabrics. Vintage 1946 has the perfect articles you need to look stylish in summer and beyond, so check out our selection today!