What is classic summer clothing?

A woman wears classic summer clothing. A straw hat and a maxi dress.

Classic summer clothing is a form of classic style that uses different clothes than the normal classic style. But what are classic summer clothes?

Classic summer clothes still follow the same principles as classic style but use much more light fabrics to make up for the heat. Linen button-down shirts, linen jackets, chino shorts, sneakers, and polo shirts are just some of the classic clothes for summer. 

There are many more though, as well as some ways to style them which this article will show you, so keep reading!


Classic summer clothing describes classic clothes you will want to wear when it gets hot and certainly too hotto layer your classic outfits or wear a suit. It focuses mostly on lightbreezy fabrics as well as an elegant sense of fashion. Especially, the combination of elegance and light fabrics is important as otherwise you will either not look classic or be sweating a lot. 

For this reason, it is crucial to build a classic wardrobe for the summer. As this style will never go out of trend, a wardrobe full of classic clothes for warm days will be a great investment

As a bonus, you can wear most of the clothes in this wardrobe on colder days too, just by layering. Also, they can be dressed up or down easily by using the right footwear and combinations we will talk about later. 

Key elements for classic summer style

Now we will discuss some key elements of the classic summer style. 

A man wears a summer outfit in an all-white look while standing at the beach.
Source: Freepik/Svetlanasolokova
  1. One of the most important elements of classic summer clothing is light colors. As dark colors tend to absorb more sunlight than light ones, this only seems logical. Beige, white, grey, and khaki are great colors. 
  2. Light fabrics also add up to the equation. Cotton, linen, or silk not only are breathable materials but they also look elegant and sophisticated. 
  1. When you think of a pattern that comes to mind in the summer, it is definitely stripes. Whether it is on a polo or a t-shirt, stripes always make you look elegant. They also fall into the category of nautical elements you can wear in summer. Moreover, anchors, rope, or little boats are great nautical elements you can wear as an accessory.
  2. Speaking of classy accessories: Sunglasses and straw hats also make great classic accessories to wear in summer and they will both protect you from the sun too. 
  1. Contrary to the normal classic style, in the summer you shouldn’t layer that much or on hot days not at all. Only for a sun-protection or when it gets cold you should layer your clothes as otherwise it will be too warm. 
  2. Lastly, wear breathable but elegant shoes. Loafers, espadrilles, or sandals will look great on men and women in the summer. Additionally, if you want something casual, white sneakers will also work. 
  3. High-quality clothes are a crucial key element of classic style in general. They make a look while-worthy and durable which is important. 

These key elements make the classic style in summer unique. 

Classic summer clothing for women

As we did already write an article about classic style for women, you can check it out here, we will keep this short. Nevertheless, some crucial classic clothes will look great on any woman in summer. This list will cover the most important ones:

  • Sundresses
  • Maxi dresses
  • A-Line skirts
  • Denim shorts
  • White jeans
  • Tank tops
  • Blouses
  • Button-down shirts
  • Sandals
  • Straw hats
A woman wears classic summer clothing:  A skirt, a blouse, and sunglasses, and holds a bag.
Source: Freepik/Arthur Hidden

With this selection of classic summer clothing, you can create some beautiful outfits.

Classic summer clothing for men

The same things as with classic summer clothing for women also apply to men. There is already an article about classic men’s style existing. You can check it out here. This list will cover the clothes that are perfectly suited for warmer months:

  • Polo shirts
  • Lightweight button-down shirts
  • Shorts
  • Chinos
  • Unicolor or striped T-shirts
  • Boat shoes
  • White Sneakers
  • Seersucker suits
  • Short-sleeve-button-down shirts

These clothes make up some perfect classic summer outfits, which we will discuss now.

Classic summer outfit ideas

For classic summer outfits, the principles of breathable and light-colored clothes may not be broken. First, we will look at some outfits for men and afterward at some for women. 

Outfits for men

  1. button-down shirt and some breathable pants like a pair of linen trousers are a great option for a rather casual classic summer outfit. Try to keep the colors rather light and matching and also choose footwear according to the occasion. 
A man wears a button-down shirt and a pair of chino trousers in summer.
Source: Freepik/Halayalex
  1. Another classic summer outfit is a combination of a V-neck polo shirt or T-shirt paired with some chino pants or shorts. This outfit suits casual occasions but also formal ones. Try to wear loafers or sneakers to this outfit and keep the colors matching. 

Outfits for women

  1. The simple combination of some shorts and a blouse will look great on a woman as a classic summer outfit. You can create a contrast in colors with a rather light pair of shorts and a dark blouse. Also, sandals or heels will level up this outfit even further. 
A woman wears a black maxi dress and red pumps.
Source: Freepik/javi_indy
  1. As a second combination, a black maxi dress will look incredible on a woman in the summer. Depending on the body type this can either be more wide-cut or more figure-shaped. Again, heels or sandals are great options as well as some accessories like a necklace or bracelet

How to dress up or dress down a classic summer outfit

Depending on the occasion, classic summer clothing can be either dressed up or dressed down. For both there are ways to do this we will discuss now. 

Even though, it can get pretty warm, adding a blazer to your outfit will definitely dress it up as well as adding dress shoes. For the blazer, you can use one with linen fabric or something else breathable. Also, you can dress your classic summer outfits up by adding the right accessories or choosing a darker color. A watch or a bracelet can definitely level up the outfit. For colors, navy or black will be a great option.

If you want to dress down your style, there are different things to keep in mind though. Nevertheless, colors will also dress down an outfit. Wear light colors like beige, white, or khaki to dress down classic summer clothing. Also, sneakers and a denim jacket will dress down your outfit for sure. Just keep the look clean and matching. 

Lastly, rolling up your sleeves on a button-down shirt will make you look more casual. This is a great way to dress down your outfit. 


In general, classic summer clothing follows similar principles to normal classic clothing. The main difference is the fabrics and the level of formality. Summer style in general is less formal than a suit or long dress pants. Nevertheless, by dressing your outfit up or down, you can match almost any occasion with this style.

If you found my article helpful or want to give me some inspiration for a new one, don’t hesitate to write me a comment. 

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