Academic Dress in Hot Weather
July 22, 2014 6:26 PM   Subscribe

What should a young male academic wear when it's hot?

I think I've figured out what to wear when it's cool: I typically wear dark blue jeans, brown leather boots and a dark green/brown tweed jacket. I like this outfit because:

1. It's smart enough for the academic environment, but not excessively smart (as a suit would be).
2. Both tweed and denim are hard-wearing.
3. Dark blue and brown suit me given my eye-colour, skin tone etc..
4. Dark blue and brown hide the odd bit of mud or bike grease.
5. The outfit doesn't require much effort. For example, jeans don't need to be carefully ironed.
6. I'm an outdoorsy person (I like hiking, mountainbiking etc.) so tweed suits me.

Now I want to figure out what to wear when it's hot. I like wearing linen, but linen trousers don't last nearly long enough.

Too formal is better than not formal enough. I like old-fashioned.

I'll shortly be moving to the bay area.
posted by HoraceH to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
How about chinos?

I'll say this though. It really depends on where you are in the Bay Area. San Francisco, your jeans will be fine, it rarely gets so hot that you'll be uncomfortable. If you're going to San Jose it gets pretty hot there in the summer. So perhaps chinos and an oxford shirt. Short sleeved if you're so inclined, but if so, a festive color or print. Basically preppie.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:33 PM on July 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

Oh! No iron shirts and pants. Not exactly true prep but easy to care for and you won't look a rumpled mess.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:34 PM on July 22, 2014

Look for whatever you normally wear but made with light-weight, light-colour breathable fabrics. I don't think the Bay Area gets hot enough to preclude the possibility of synthetics. Otherwise, light cotton, in my opinion, is the best material for hot weather. Some short-sleeved collared shirts can be cool, in both senses of the word.
posted by ageispolis at 6:42 PM on July 22, 2014

How about swapping out the tweed jacket for a nice collared, lightweight (even short sleeved) sweater in the summer? Perhaps something like this?

You might also think about jackets (even tweed!) in lighter colors for summer. A light blue tweed would still look great with dark jeans, but would read more "summery." You could move away from tweed entirely to cotton, linen, or linen/cotton blazers or jackets.

Chinos are a good idea if your jeans are too hot. If you get a pair with a nice cut and wear a jacket with them, you'll look pulled together and not like a cubicle refugee.
posted by jeoc at 7:03 PM on July 22, 2014

Yeah, if you're moving to San Francisco, some parts of the peninsula (e.g. the eternally fogged-in and windswept Skyline College), or Berkeley, you won't need to change this much. Just keep some lighter shoes on hand and be prepared to ditch the jacket occasionally. If it's Stanford or SJSU or something like that, it'll just be more variable. It gets warmer and sunnier in those areas, but still rarely humid.

For that matter, I live (and teach) in the unpleasantly hot inland part of the eastern Bay Area, and one of my colleagues wears his tweed jacket more often than not: the air conditioner makes our department frigid. He wears modern loafers, a cotton button-down shirt (no tie), and dark, tailored pants. I haven't looked too closely, but I think sometimes they're nice jeans and sometimes they're twill (maybe something like these). Another colleague, who is possibly more athletic, wears a well-cut button-down shirt in a color like dark blue and actually knows what he's doing when he rolls up the sleeves so that it looks neat (I've never had the knack). Similar slacks. Never noticed his shoes.

We do have one person who wears linen suits and a Panama hat, but he stands out, as does the fellow in the madras plaid shirt and khaki shorts and chunky leather sandals.

Other people are in t-shirts or polos and jeans all summer.

If you mean another Bay Area, who knows!
posted by wintersweet at 7:28 PM on July 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

It probably depends on your field and your department. Dr. TM (tenured professor now, but long before that) has usually worn short-sleeved shirts and shorts in the summer. He's in the sciences, though. If you're uncomfortable with shorts, then short-sleeved permanent press shirts and khakis would probably be acceptable in technical disciplines. I realize that humanities lecturers tend to be more dandified, however.
posted by tully_monster at 8:00 PM on July 22, 2014

Pincord or chambray jackets and slacks! Made from cotton (or cotton-poly blends) and great for warmer days.
posted by dhens at 1:29 AM on July 23, 2014

Try Belk as a first stop to shop for such items. They are a southern chain and thus cater to gents working in warmer environments. I wore a jacket and slacks to almost every class I taught last summer session in 80-90 degree temps with no probs.
posted by dhens at 1:32 AM on July 23, 2014

Looking at your criteria closer, I am not sure how well they will hold up to "rough and tumble" conditions, so YMMV.
posted by dhens at 1:33 AM on July 23, 2014

No iron shirts and pants.

no iron shirts and pants are going to be hotter. whatever they put on them to make them no iron traps heat.

tweed is never ever ever ever ever a summer fabric. Do unlined linen or cotton sportcoat/blazer in the summer if you want to wear a jacket.

Try Bonobos pants. Their Oxley's are oxford cloth pants and are super comfortable and breathable. They also have light/summerweight chinos. They use the Zappos model of free shipping/return for a year and good customer service. Never buy their stuff full price, they go on sale a lot.

Also Gustin, which is located in SF, occassionally offer summerweight jeans.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 6:41 AM on July 23, 2014

I like wearing linen, but linen trousers don't last nearly long enough.

That seems like a case of crummy linen pants to me, because linen as a fiber is far stronger than cotton. What about looking specifically for linen twill pants? (Twill is the weave structure used for most denim and is heavier than plain weave, all other things being equal.)
posted by clavicle at 7:27 AM on July 23, 2014

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