How to Wear Jeans This Summer Without Breaking a Sweat

(photo: courtesy of Calvin Klein)

It’s hard not to love a standard pair of jeans. It is hard to wear a standard pair of jeans in the heat of summer. And if you’re anywhere that’s nearly as hot as New York City is right now (the mercury rose to 91 degrees here on Thursday, which hurts), the last thing you even want to look at is the same tubes of denim that got your legs through the winter unscathed.

Luckily, there are plenty of ways to make jeans work, even at the hottest times of the year. We talked with Jean Shop founder Eric Goldstein (who recently partnered with Club Monaco to bring his handcrafted selvage wares to the retailer’s website as well as its stores on Prince Street and Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, and in Southampton) about how to beat the heat and look good doing it.

See more: 18 Looks That Caught Our Eye at Men’s Week in London

Get Distressed

(From left: Rag & Bone blue destroyed fit 1 skinny jeans ($230), Jean Shop beach pant ($230), Gap 1969 slim fit jeans in super destroyed wash ($70))

You can either wear the hell out of a pair of jeans until they’re dotted with patches, or you can get one of Goldstein’s Jean Shop employees to do it for you by hand. Either way, an on-trend and distressed pair of jeans is perfect for summer, because the holes will naturally provide some much-needed ventilation.

Play on Words

(From left: Levi’s 511 slim fit pants ($47), Club Monaco washed twill 5-pocket pant ($128))

It’s important to remember that jeans and denim aren’t necessarily interchangeable terms. While denim refers to a fabric, jeans refers to a style of trousers—which basically means you can make standard five-pocket jeans out of pretty much anything. That includes lighter-weight cotton twills like chino.

Lose a Little Weight

(From left: Naked and Famous five-ounce selvedge jeans ($145), Jean Shop eight-ounce chambray selvedge jeans ($320))

If you try to wear the same jeans in July that you wore in October, you run the risk of looking like a sweaty, bedraggled mess. The fastest way to make jeans easier to wear in the heat is to look for a lower fabric weight.

“People automatically think of a 14-ounce denim, the standard weight, when they think of jeans,” Golstein told us. “But there’s a lot of different fabric options.”

For the uninitiated, a fabric’s weight is determined by how much one square yard of it weighs. And while a 32-ounce denim might be appealing for Maine in the winter, right now Goldstein is selling eight-ounce jeans made from fabric as light as your favorite chambray shirt. If you can’t find anything that weight, do yourself a favor and try to keep your summer denim under 12 ounces.

Go Off Color

(From left: Polo Ralph Lauren slim fit denim jeans ($100), J. Crew 484 Japanese selvedge jean in white ($155))

White jeans are a good way to stave off sweat, too, considering they don’t attract as much heat as their darker cousins. And at this point, white jeans are pretty much seasonless. “They used to be simply for wearing from Memorial Day to Labor Day, but that’s really not the case anymore,” said Goldstein (and yes, he sells white jeans, too). “Now people wear them all year long.”

By Justin Fenner

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