Every guy has been there. He takes an interest in dressing better, joyously begins wearing cotton oxfords and selvage denim. He learns the rakishness of layering with sweaters and outerwear. Then something unforeseen and terrible happens. Summer comes.
Dressing well in the heat can feel so intimidating it seems impossible. As the rising mercury steals away our layers and textures and multitude of fabrics our advances in personal style come to a grinding halt. How can you dress well when first and foremost you have to dress to stay comfortable? How can you build multiple outfits if the only items you can wear are shirts, shorts, and shoes?
The secret, as with most of men’s style, is in the details. The following Collection of men’s summer fashion items can be mixed and matched in endless combinations ensuring your sartorial skill doesn’t take a 4 month summer at the beach.
The Polo That Fits
You’re no stranger to the polo shirt, also known as a golf shirt or tennis shirt. Your mom had been dressing you in these for as long as you’ve been fit to go out in public. You’ve spent your life seeing middle-aged guys wear these tucked into dress pants. And you’ve probably eschewed them as you’ve started caring about your personal style, assuming they’re for prep school kids and old guys on the golf course.
And, if you’re basing that on what you’ve seen other guys doing,you’d be right.
But the reality is the polo shirt can be one of the sharpest and most versatile shirts in your wardrobe if you focus on getting the fit right.
The secret, though, to not looking like an old man is to focus on the fit details. I’m not prescribing a “tight” shirt, a proper fitting polo based on the guidelines below will have any gentleman, regardless of weight or shape looking sharp.
The secret, as with most of men’s style, is in the details. The following men’s summer fashion items can be mixed and matched in endless combinations ensuring your sartorial skill doesn’t take a 4-month summer at the beach.
A common mistake young guys make is trying to size down to achieve proper proportions which can lead to a shirt with some of the details right but is overall too small. Look for a different brand, fit, or consider cheap alterations by a tailor. I also personally avoid tucking in my polos in all but the most business casual environments, in which case I would opt for a One with Collar instead.
The Fitted Short Sleeve Shirt,Linen Shorts
There’s an absurdly false style rule perpetuated on style forums across the internet that you should never wear a short sleeve button up shirt. This couldn’t be further from the truth, and by casting them aside you’re limiting your summer wardrobe even more.
This myth was started with good intentions – if you remember the 90’s and onward were flooded with short sleeve button up shirts that were not only too baggy and boxy, the sleeves would be way too big and would jet off at an angle.
As with everything with your personal style, the focus to making this look sharp as hell is by honing in on the fit. Of primary concern is the looseness of the shoulders and the bagginess of the body. Similar to my polo guide above, you want a short sleeved that hugs the upper arm –and this long sleeved wouldn’t be my alternatives
The Sperry pair of Shoes
When an outfit is limited to only shirt shorts, belt, watch, and Pair of sperry shoes, it’s easy to get caught in an uninteresting, boring loop that makes you feel like you’re a different Big Box sales associate, depending on the color of the day. To counteract the negative ill-fitting look imparted on us by two decades of corporate uniforms we have to hammer in hard on the details.
The soft, luxurious cotton polo shown here from Unique is a subtle aesthetic alternative to your run-of-the-mill pique polo. First, the smoother cotton versus the texture of a pique polo can have a surprising dual effect. If pairing with casual shorts and tennis shoes the smooth cotton can play almost like a t-shirt, tapping into the overall casualness. However, paired with slim, dressier shorts and penny loafers, a smooth cotton shirt now enhances the dressiness in a way a pique polo can’t.
The collar, placket, and sleeve trim are contrasting colors, the shirt itself is heathered, while staying polished and minimalist without a pocket – all very unique details that take this look from boring polo and shorts to something that creates dimension with texture and color.
The Fitted Flat Front Short in Multiple Colors
If you’re only going to buy one item on this list, it’s the fitted flat front short. So many guys are still stuck wearing baggy, long cargo shorts from the likes of American Eagle and it’s the single biggest thing holding them back with their smart summer style.
Shorts have become slimmer and higher for well over a decade. And while there are plenty that are too high and too tight as you start approaching the fashion end of the style spectrum, there is a great middle ground that will give you a fitted silhouette without compromising comfort or showing too much leg. Don’t be afraid of seeing an inch to two inches of leg above your knee cap: It creates a more put-together, intentional look. When done correctly, it won’t look too tight or too short.
Shorts come in different inseams these days, take a few pairs in the 7-9 inch region to the fitting room and see what works with your body. If you’ve got monster quads, many slimmer models may not fit you; that doesn’t mean you default to baggy shorts that don’t fit, it means you find a different brand, or consider having them slimmed by a tailor. But what is the result? Crazy-good fitting shorts that you’ll be able to wear for multiple seasons.
Once you find some that fit, buy them in multiple colours. Again, with a limited number of items in our get ups, any difference in detail, be it colours or pattern, will create a drastically different look paired with the same shirt and shoes. This year as I was preparing for the summer season
The NATO Strap Watch
Sweat can do some nasty things to your wardrobe. And I’m sure you’ve experienced the stankiness that appears once you’ve been wearing a metal, or especially leather, watch strap all summer. The leather starts rubbing off and smells like a high school gym locker.
Reaching instead for a canvas NATO strap watch will give you a washable solution that also adds texture, detail, and a pop of color to the rest of your outfit. Originally invented by the British military to provide an extra layer of security for keeping a watch on in tough conditions, the slip-thru design offers an easy way to swap out straps depending on what you’re wearing for the day.
The Weekend Bag
By the time summer rolls around we’re all ready to get the hell out of Dodge. Every man needs a great weekend bag so he can swing home on a Friday, grab some gear and his partner, and hit the road.
Your luggage doesn’t need to be ugly and the best weekend bags balance cargo space with size. A recent find for me is the Duffel Bag, which perfectly combines a duffel and a laptop bag with a separated interior and a ton of pockets. It has double stitched leather accents at stress points and the top fully unzips (like a jacket) for complete access. I took one on a cross country trip and it worked perfectly to stow luggage and laptop gear.
Fully capable of accommodating all of your daily needs and travelling essentials. Large ample spaced internal compartment and soft hospitable interior fabric lining, it will surely support your intended travelling payload.
The van shoes
Second only to the boat shoe in versatility and style is the canvas sneaker. You will always notice that your footwear choice is really the defining variable in whether your outfit is more casual or dressier. Imagine the outfit above with boat shoes or loafers – especially with the linen, it becomes a very dressy ensemble.
But with the van shoes, the outfit is grounded as well-dressed casual. To take an extra step away from just van towards intentionality, I swapped the set of Authentic leather ones.
Just like with the boat shoes and sandals, let your ankles witness the world by going sockless. If van without socks sound miserable, pick up some no-show socks that sit below the shoe opening.
There are plenty of classic sneakers to choose from, start your search with Vans Authentic.
The Short Sleeve Henley with Sunglasses
Sometimes you just want to wear a t-shirt. There’s nothing wrong with that; but instead of choosing some standard screen-printed tee, go for something with a little more dimension.
A short sleeve Henley provides the comfort and heat control of a t-shirt, but the button placket makes it so much more. Just as with the polo and short sleeve button up, fit is paramount. You’re looking for one that looks trim without being tight and your Sunglasses Then You will tell me
Sharp Dressed Sunglasses
As with the cargo shorts, sport shades have a superior place when performance is a concern. But when you’re heading out to brunch with your date or going to an outdoor summer work function, endurance needs to take a back seat to form. Luckily, if you don’t like making choices, there are only two primary forms the “dress” sunglasses comes in Aviator, which sell performance and lifestyle shades.