The general rule when choosing what to wear in Phoenix is comfort over fashion, especially during the summer. But, what to wear in Phoenix isn’t quite as straightforward as it seems. Even in the summer, you’ll be glad you packed a long-sleeve shirt to protect yourself from the elements, and something slightly dressier for dinners out.
What to Wear in Phoenix
To make sure you pack appropriately, here’s a rundown of what to wear in Phoenix.
From May to October in Phoenix, everyone wears shorts and short sleeves (unless they’re heading to work or the pool). When it comes to shorts, comfort is valued over fashion. Pack loose-fitting walking shorts.
Nice (not faded) T-shirts are the casual choice for most Phoenicians, especially during the summer, because cotton is light and cool. But, tank tops, polo shirts, and stylish short-sleeve shirts are also popular.
Even at resort pools, it’s not necessary to sport the latest in fashionable swimwear. Conservative two-piece swimsuits are the norm in Phoenix, with more modest women opting for a fashionable one-piece. Men wear swim trunks. (Swim briefs are frowned upon.)
Resort Casual Wear
Dressing up in Phoenix usually means “resort casual” attire. For men, that translates to button ups and polo shirts with casual slacks. Women can go with either pants or a sundress.
In the winter, jeans are a no brainer, but even during the summer, it’s an essential piece of Phoenix clothing because jeans can protect your legs from harsh terrain. You’ll definitely want a pair if you go horseback riding.
Breathable Long-Sleeve Shirts
Long-sleeve shirts offer protection from the sun, so you’ll want one even when temperatures hit triple digits. Opt for a breathable long-sleeve nylon shirt or one with moisture wicking fabric to wear while hiking, boating, or spending time outdoors.
It never gets cold enough for a heavy coat, but windbreakers, denim jackets, and hoodies are necessary during the winter. You may also want one in the summer if you’ll be in the desert after dark to stargaze or attend a chuck wagon meal.
Phoenix has more than 300 days of sunshine per year, so sunglasses are essential. Make sure you bring a pair with UV protection, and if you plan to spend much time lounging at the swimming pool, polarized lenses are a good idea to cut the water’s glare.
When it comes to footwear, there’s no question about what to wear in Phoenix: sandals. If you’ll be doing a lot of outdoor walking, pack a pair with thick, sturdy soles. You can feel rocks through thin soles, and there’s plenty of uneven terrain around these parts.
Even though you’ll want to wear sandals most of the time, some activities require close-toed shoes. Walking or athletic shoes are a good option for hiking, horseback riding, and other desert adventures.
—Original reporting by Teresa Bitler