c.2013 New York Times News Service

c.2013 New York Times News Service

Unlike showy thunderstorms that grab you by the lapels and shout “Wear your galoshes!” heat waves are like wolves in wool clothing, causing hellish discomfort in the disguise of a sunny summer day.

Some of us are fooled: we put on a brave face, our usual clothes, and go to work, where we arrive in a damp, disheveled heap. But gaming a heat wave is no walk in the park. The usual codes of summer style go right out the window (if you’re daft enough to have left it open). At a certain point (say, 90 degrees), a new set of objectives takes over. Questions like “What would look sexy?” or “What would look proper?” are brushed aside, leaving one desperate quest: how to get through the next 12 hours with the least amount of suffering.

In other words, how to bear it all without baring it all.

Most guys have their tricks and tactics. Some say socks; some say nix. Some swear by the virtue of an undershirt for keeping a dress shirt relatively dry; others contend that an extra layer just creates more heat and discomfort, not to mention a moisture trap that never dries.

Fashion designers are better known for their efforts to make their customers feel figuratively cool instead of literally so, but rumor has it that they are people, too. So it seemed reasonable to think that men’s wear designers would have a few extra tips up their imported sleeves — and indeed they do. As is the case with other guys, they vary wildly in their approach. For instance, Robert Geller, known for a sort of slouchy aesthetic, likes to start with clothes that look rumply and wrinkled by design, pre-empting the dishabille that heat will inflict. The up-and-coming designer Tim Coppens, who worked at Adidas and is an advocate of high-tech fabrics in his own line, prefers clothes made of fabrics designed for the playing field, which wick moisture away and stand up to heat, sweat and even a grass stain or two.

Being affected by the heat more than most (I suspect my constitution is best suited to summer somewhere around the Arctic Circle), I have developed a few tips of my own. I’m never without a bandanna in my back pocket for mopping my forehead, and often have another one tied around my neck, which lends a jaunty ’70s touch while soaking up sweat that would otherwise soak my shirt. I found great-fitting, paper-thin cotton pants at Uniqlo ($40) and bought two pairs in each of four different colors, so I can treat them like T-shirts instead of dress trousers.

I wear good shoes that slip on — black Alden loafers — so I can kick them off for frequent breathers. Instead of heavy leather belts, I use the colorful elastic ones worn by baseball players, which look good, never feel hot and binding and, best of all, are $5 a pop. I may still look like a wreck, but a wreck who might possibly, briefly, be enjoying his day in the sun.