Look smart, stay cool
Published : Jun 13, 2012 - 19:43
Updated : Jun 13, 2012 - 19:43
Try conservative necklines, tone-on-tone looks and play with patterns

With the recent government drive to save energy, civil servants and office workers have been encouraged to adopt casual wear ― shirts without a tie, shorts and even sandals.

But while the relaxed and more casual look may keep office workers from turning on the air conditioner, it doesn’t help them look professional.

Now, fashion brands have met the challenge, presenting men’s summer office wear in light, cool fabrics that will help them dress professionally, yet still stay cool.

The new fabrics mix natural fibers from bamboo and coconut with traditional fibers such as cotton, wool, silk and linen.

They also mix natural fibers with synthetic fibers such as polyester to create new fabrics that are light, absorb perspiration and won’t wrinkle.

“If you wear clothes made with these fabrics, you can drop body temperature by as much as three degrees,” said Min Jung-ho, design manager of Trugen, a fashion brand targeting men in their 30s and 40s.

“We have presented a line of summer work wear for men to meet the growing need for the ‘cool-biz’ attire in line with the energy conservation campaign,” said Min.
(From left) A summer shirt with an attached vest by Caruso (Korea Fashion Association)A shirt with a traditional Korean pattern in cool and light fabric by HANTTREJacket and pants in cool and light fabric by Cambridge Members

UNIQLO has presented 13 different summer shirts and pants for men with a “dry” fabric that absorbs perspiration and reflects heat.

“The ‘dry’ shirts and pants will keep men feeling fresh all day long and enable them to create a formal business look,” according to the UNIQLO design team.
The Korea Fashion Association has even worked with the Ministry of Knowledge and Economy on developing summer fabrics and introduced summer work clothes through local fashion brands.

“We worked together to offer appropriate looks for office workers who want to keep a certain degree of formality and etiquette in the office,” said Park Young-su, deputy director of the KFA.

Caruso, one of the brands that took part in the government project, offered a shirt with an attached vest for those who still want a tailored look in summer.

Cambridge Members presented jackets, shirts and pants that have a reduced area of contact between the fabric and the skin.

With a wide variety of items available, some may face a moment of panic when deciding what to wear.

Trugen’s Min offered The Korea Herald his easy summer style guide for men.

Conservative neckline

If you want to look formal at the work place, polo shirts or V-neck t-shirts are the last options.

“Formal shirts with darker shades or micro-patterns will create a formal feeling that office workers, especially sales people, definitely need even during summer,” said Min.

He said dark shirts and those with patterns will go well with pants in lighter shades, a recent fashion trend in menswear.

“Men are starting to wear pants in sky blue or ivory; and shirts in navy are the easiest way to create a formal and professional look,” said Min.


Items of the same color but in different shades can create a crisp and clean image.

“You don’t have to worry about matching colors on top and bottom,” said Min. The easiest way is to team a darker blue shirt with lighter pants of the same hue.

“You can create a cool feeling with brown too. Wear light brown or ivory pants and a darker brown shirt,” said Min.

Play with patterns

Try a shirt with small patterns and match it with pants or a blazer in the pattern’s color.

You can also match the color of your shirt collar with your pants.

For those who are hesitant to try bold colors, micro patterns mixed with a bold color is the first step to get in tune with the latest trend.

By Lee Woo-young  (