Hot Outside? Try Summer Jeans

By
 The pioneer of summer jeans.
The pioneer of summer jeans.Photo: Dave Lee

For the past week, much of America has been sweltering and sweating under a heat dome. With temperatures rising as high as 96 in New York City, and humidity making everywhere feel like a sauna, fall seems impossibly far away. Don’t even get me started on winter. Despite reports by nerds, winter is never coming. You heard it here first.

During these hot and horrible days, many people find inventive ways to clothe their beleaguered bodies: men daring to wear shorts, women in light cotton dresses or wide culottes to ventilate sweaty legs. The lighter the cotton, the better. The airier the linen, the happier the wearer. These are the rules of summer under heat dome. If you gotta wear clothes, they better practically float off your body.

Or how about you try this: summer jeans.

The thought of putting on thick denim during the muggiest months of the year flat-out disgusts many people. In hot weather, our bodies swell, making inflexible denim difficult to fit. Squeezing into jeans can be nothing short of a nightmare on a regular day, but doing it in a heat dome? Get out of town. Heat dome won’t stand for that! It’s too hot for jeans.

But what if I told you … you’re wrong?

Last week, I was wearing an airy silk skirt and a cotton T-shirt. I was running late, so I had to pick up the pace a little, and arrived to a meeting in an air-conditioned restaurant dripping with sweat. Normally, I’d find a dainty (jk) way to dab the sweat from my brow … and shoulders … and wrists … and legs … and body. But it wouldn’t have mattered this time because everything I was wearing was already fully saturated. I couldn’t hide my perspiration, no matter how hard I tried. I felt uncomfortable the whole time knowing I looked like a wrung-out tea towel with eyebrows. And I didn’t smell great either.

Now let’s talk about jeans. On a different day during the very same week and under the very same heat dome, I ventured out into the world wearing a black V-neck T-shirt and Kneezus-style black jeans. “You’re crazy!” you say, which is rude. “Weren’t you hot having your legs covered in thick denim? Wouldn’t you prefer to wear some loose linen culottes or something akin to Zubaz?” And here comes the dynamite:

No. I wasn’t that hot. And do you want to know why? My summer jeans, thick and structurally sound, absorbed all my sweat, so much so that I felt like I had stopped sweating entirely. I wasn’t focusing on my sweat, which caused me to sweat less. I wasn’t worried about airing out my crotch so that I might avoid passing out. I wasn’t finding it difficult to sit down comfortably and cross my legs comfortably, stubbly leg hair mixing with sweat to give me a heat rash. I was a little sweaty, sure, but no one could tell. My sweat was a secret between me and my glands. I felt footloose and fancy-free. My inner-leg chubbiness took a deep breath after being freed from the hell of chub-rub. Summer jeans: They have given me a new lease on life.

Summer jeans are also the perfect outside-to-inside look (like day-to-night but for dirtbags). When it’s a billion degrees outside, you can guarantee that your office or your friends’ house or the Summer Jean Emporium is going to be frigid with vile air-conditioning. Wearing a lightweight skirt outside will leave you freezing inside, but summer jeans always have your back. No need to prepare yourself with a desk blanket or a jacket-shirt. You’ll be just the right temperature inside or out. And if you find yourself feeling a little faint under the heat dome? Just roll your summer jeans up a bit. A little blast of air on the ankle goes a long way.

If summer jeans seems like the trend you’ve been waiting for, I recommend breaking into them slowly. Start with one or two days a week in stretchy dark denim, preferably with knee holes to air out. Then you can begin to take risks with less flexible denim, even high-waisted or cargo jeans. I even wear my jeans a size up in the summer, to account for the swelling. Have fun with it.

And when some noob in gingham shorts and a neon tank top approaches you to indignantly ask, “Aren’t you hot in those?” you’ll know the truth. Summer jeans: for the real ones only.