Men’s style and grooming by Yatan Ahluwalia: Looking and feeling cool this summer
The weather is changing fast and it’s essential to make sure your fashion sense as well as grooming style is in sync with the weather. Here’s what to keep in mind.
Hydrate the skin
A shower when you wake up will refresh you and before you sleep, will help you relax. Water helps hydrate the skin and body externally. Avoid a hot shower in summer, as this will deplete the natural oil and moisture from your skin. Use a moisturising shower gel or soap. Citrus based formulations are normally the best summer option.
Grooming tip: Use a loofah scrub on the knees, knuckles and elbows to remove dry and dead flaky skin.
Hydrate the body
Drink as much water as possible to prevent dehydration. This will also ensure you flush out the toxins from your body and your sweat, mouth or body does not smell foul or stale. Consume fresh juice over canned and eat a portion or two of seasonal summer fruit daily. Reach out for coconut water, cucumber, watermelon, peaches, apple, lemon and cooling herbs like mint.
Grooming tip: Trim the extra hair, especially on the underarms and other fold areas to keep your skin dry and ventilated.
Use perfumes and fragrances that contain citrus or sandalwood. These are known to cool the body down. Fragrances that contain vetiver and lemongrass are also suggested.
Grooming tip: As the heat will dry them out faster, choose a strong and long-lasting fragrance for summer.
Shaving or trimming the beard will make you feel cooler, prevent skin rashes and reduce the irritation. If you are yet obsessive about maintaining a beard, I suggest you sport a light shadow stubble than a heavy and dense growth.
Grooming tip: Avoid using a beard oil, instead opt for a water-based moisturiser to condition the skin and beard.
Use a deodorant roll on under the arms and a deodorant spray on the body. Apply talcum powder after a shower. If you are prone to sweating excessively on your feet, sprinkle some talcum powder before you put your socks and shoes on - this will help absorb the sweat and keep your feet dry and clean.
Grooming tip: Use alcohol free and water-based formulations, as they last longer and don’t burn the sensitive areas of the skin.
The best summer fabrics are those which are lightweight and made from natural materials such as cotton or linen. Natural fabrics don’t just keep you cooler but also dry our faster when you sweat.
As a general rule, you must avoid heavy fabrics as they tend to cling to your skin, trap sweat and add a layer of heat between the fabric and your body. Natural fabrics are generally better at soaking up moisture from the skin and allow it to evaporate from the surface. When choosing summer clothes, feel the weight of the cloth – they should feel light.
Style tip: The easiest way to check a fabric is right for summer is to hold the garment against the light, if it is lightweight you should be able to see partially through it.
High temperatures combined with humidity can make you feel uncomfortable. We maintain a cool body temperature by perspiring heat away from the body. It is therefore important to allow air circulation to maintain a cool body temperature. Fabrics for summer should maximize the flow of air, allowing both heat and moist air to escape.
Fabrics that trap moisture tend to create unpleasant odours. Cotton is extremely comfortable and allows your body to breathe with ease. It absorbs excess sweat. Linen and other natural fabrics also breathe and are good at absorbing moisture.
Keep in mind, just because a fabric is lightweight does not guarantee that it is breathable. Some fabrics trap heat by creating an insulating layer over the skin. Synthetics and fabrics that are of thicker weaves tend to reflect heat back to the body and inhibit the outward flow of warm and moist air.
Style tip: Avoid all types of synthetic fabrics as they allow sweat to build up, reduce evaporation and cause irritation against the skin.
Contrary to popular belief, when you step outdoors, the more your skin is covered, the better it will be. If you keep your skin covered and protected from the sun, not only will you feel cooler but also prevent harmful ultraviolet rays, over exposure to the sun and reduce tan marks and lines.
Wearing trousers, pyjamas and track pants is better than wearing shorts. Similarly, long sleeved shirts are better than wearing vests or T-shirts.
Style tip: Wear light and airy clothes that don’t cling to the body.
The construction of your overall look is just as important as picking the right fabrics. I suggest layering your look in summer to stay both cool and dry. For a casual look, wear a vest with a top or a T-shirt under a half or full sleeve shirt. For a formal or work look, wear a fitted shirt under a looser jacket.
Additionally, wearing a relaxed fit, helps the circulation of air. Loose-fitting clothes provide better air flow, which means you end up feeling cooler. Do not confuse this with wearing baggy or oversized clothes as that never looks flattering.
Style tip: A comfortable linen or cotton shirt is better than wearing a snug fit one.
Light reacts to colours in different ways, depending on how much is absorbed or reflected. Light colours reflect light, which means you will be cooler in white or pastels than you would be in dark clothes, which tend to trap heat.
Dark shades of blue, purple, grey and green generate thermal energy when exposed to intense sunlight. Lighter colours generate less thermal energy under the same sunlight conditions. Black absorbs more light and reflects and retains heat. Therefore, pastel shades like beige, baby blue, pale pink, mint green, lemon and saffron are strongly recommended.
Style tip: Wear as much of white as possible as it reflects and retains less heat.
Sunglasses prevent harsh light and ultraviolet rays of the sun and therefore keep your eyes cooler. The frame of your sunglasses needs to fit close to your eyes and contour to the shape of your face. This prevents exposure to UV rays from all sides.
Caps and hats help protect from direct heat and keep both the head and body cool. Wearing a hat with a rim all around will provide shade and shelter to your face. Baseball caps will help shade the forehead and part of your face. Line the headgear with a fine cotton bandana which should be washed frequently.
Less is more, especially in summer. Clean your neckpieces regularly as they can accumulate sweat, which can make bacteria and germs multiply. Sweat and grime also collects under and on leather watch straps, so metal straps are advised. Do clean them as often as possible.
As they are now mandatory, choose a comfortable and breathable face mask. Besides fitting you well, your mask should also be light and airy. Ensure to keep your face mask clean and sanitised.
Wear shoes that are breathable along with lightweight cotton socks. While you may wear canvas shoes or sandals at home and for leisurewear, pick a light pair of punched oxford leather shoes for work or formal wear. Sports shoes, especially those with breathable vents allow the feet to stay dry.
Author bio: The author is an image, style and grooming consultant and trainer.
From HT Brunch, May 10, 2019
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