The Androgynous Person's Guide to Summer Outfits

two people sitting on dock at lake in gender neutral swimsuits

Summer is the time for fun in the sun, surf, and even on the couch with an ice-cooled drink in hand. It’s the season in which some of us like to show some extra skin but also express ourselves in all kinds of ways. With androgynous looks and gender-inclusive fashion trends becoming more accessible every day, it’s time to take a look at how to incorporate androgyny into your summer wardrobe.

One of the main things to consider, as with any outfit, is your personal style. You may want to ask yourself if you would rather play with the idea of gender or avoid falling into any gendered categories entirely and wear completely androgynous clothing.

On top of this, you should consider the season, the heat, and the activities you’re likely to engage in this summer while you put together the perfect outfit.

Whatever choices you make, we’re here to guide you through some essential tips and guidelines for androgynous summer fashion:

Tips for Androgynous Summer Outfits

Consider Light Tones

When it comes to fashion, people often make the mistake of gendering certain colors as “girly” or “masc.” Growing up, many of us were all too familiar with the idea, for example, that pink t-shirts or button-ups are feminine. However, everybody should feel free to wear whatever colors suit them, especially if you’re interested in an androgynous style.

At the same time, you can reflect seasons, atmosphere, and moods in your choice of color. Summer is a great time to go for light colors –– whites, beiges, and pastels are ideal. Dark and moody colors are best reserved for colder months. Not only do light tones match the warm and sunny weather, but they’re also helpful for reflecting light and resisting heat.

Look for Loose Fabrics

We’ve all had the experience of wearing a tight v-neck top or skinny jeans on a hot summer day and quickly realizing –– that was sometimes not our best idea, no matter how cute we looked.

Tight clothes tend to make the heat much more apparent. They also are major culprits when it comes to unsightly sweat stains, under the arms or elsewhere. When it comes to androgynous fashion, looser fits can help maintain a neutral silhouette.

That’s why you should always go for loose fabrics in the summertime. Loose fabrics allow air to circulate between your clothes and your skin; that means you won’t be faced with clingy, sticky fabrics all day. Relaxed tanks, breezy joggers, or flowy shorts are ideal gender-neutral options.

Go for Short Sleeves

Sure, this might seem like an obvious tip –– who doesn’t opt for tees and tanks in the summer? However, everyone is guilty of occasionally looking at their favorite long-sleeved top and thinking: I can probably pull this off; it’s not that hot out!

When this happens, remember to think again. You don’t want to spend hours sweating, constantly adjusting long, irritating sleeves while you go about your day. It’s better to stick to short sleeves or sleeveless tops, bringing an extra layer with you just in case.

Wear Short Pants

Right up there with wearing short sleeves is the importance of wearing short pants. Don’t smother your legs under heavy or tight bottoms. Summer is the time to let all your limbs breathe. The length of your shorts is up to you and what you’re comfortable with; whether that’s board shorts or booty shorts is up to you.

Plus, this is an excellent opportunity to show off long and beautiful legs that have been hiding under jeans all winter. And let’s not forget that summer is full of opportunities to give your thighs and calves a nice tan –– just remember to wear sunscreen!

Stick to Light, Comfortable Materials

The time for knit sweaters and heavy corduroy pants has come and gone — well, at least during the daylight hours. You can fold them neatly and leave them in the closet for now –– once temperatures rise above 65 degrees, it’s time to go for breathable, light fabrics. However, you can still sport them at night as you stargaze and sip hot chocolate.

The best summertime fabric is, as you may already know, cotton. Cotton is a natural fiber that is known for its softness and breathability. Cotton fabrics draw moisture away from the skin and also offer plenty of ventilation to make humid days more bearable. Garments made from cotton are likely to be a lot more comfortable on hot days, and a lot less sweaty and constricting than some other synthetic fibers.

Accessorize Minimally

Accessorizing is a fun way to let your personality shine no matter what outfit you're wearing. Androgynous fashion is a wonderful place to use accessorize to express who you are.

Add a pop of color or a statement piece to spice up an otherwise neutral outfit. However, in the summer, minimal accessories can be more practical than lots of heavy bling.

When you’re engaging in outdoor activities or just trying to stay cool, you don’t want heavy bling or drapery to get in the way. A key gender-fluid summer accessory is, for example, a baseball hat. This simple item looks classic and can keep the sun out of your eyes.

A waterproof watch or an extra pair of flip-flops comes in handy for beach days. A lightweight bag –– like a tote or fanny back –– is great for when you’re on the go.

Make Sure You Have Practical Footwear

Finding genderless shoes can often be especially hard. While a bunch of stores are beginning to stock gender neutral or unisex options, shoe sizes and styles often still heavily fall into a gender binary. Fortunately, there are some reliable styles when it comes to summer footwear, which is largely about comfort and function.

Sneakers, sandals, and flip-flops are your go-tos in the summer-time. As a rule of thumb, everyone should try to have a pair of white sneakers, as well as a pair of black trainers, to mix and match outfits with. White platform sneakers tend to flatter everyone and work well across the gender spectrum.

When In Doubt, Layer Up

We’ve already discussed how crucial short sleeves and bottoms are. However, weather can fluctuate heavily in different parts of the country, and around the world, in the summer. In dry, arid places like California, for example, the days are hot and the nights can get surprisingly cool. That’s why expert planners always have an extra layer on hand.

Some layering options that are both androgynous and trendy include hoodies, denim jackets, color-block windbreakers, retro bomber jackets, and the ever-versatile beige cardigan.

Dress Up Swimsuits

Wearing swimsuits doesn’t have to be simply relegated to the pool or beach. In the summer, versatile clothing is what you want to go for –– and some of the most versatile, gender-neutral pieces can be found in eco-friendly swimwear.

Board shorts, for example, can easily be worn in and outside of the water. When paired with a pair of sandals, they’re a great look for a laid-back lunch. Swim tanks, sports bras, or other tops can be combined with breezy button downs and loafers for a tomboy look that shows of the body you’re proud of while still being appropriate for most occasions.

Final Thoughts

Summer is an excellent time for everyone — not just non-binary folks — to experiment with or enhance their androgynous fashion choices. Whether you choose to play with dapper gendered clothing or completely throw any gender definitions out the window with your outfit ideas, this season is the time to incorporate lightness and color into your androgynous outfits.

Remember to go for breezy, lightweight clothes that will be both stylish and practical. Whether you lounge on the beach or go clubbing in the city, comfort and confidence are your best accessory!


Heat and what to wear | Healthy WA

Advantages & Disadvantages of Cotton Clothes | leaf

Why do deserts get so cold at night? | Live Science

What Colors Absorb More Heat? | Sciencing

A History of Androgyny in Fashion | The Oxford Student