Putting Together the Most Versatile Summer Outfit Possible

The Vernal Equinox has passed, and that means that the northern hemisphere well on its way to date with the summer sun. Or, if you’re not an astronomy buff, that means something very simple: It’s time to think about clothes for summer.

To many, this represents a great time to freshen up their wardrobe, try the latest styles, and experiment with a few new looks. To others, it’s something to dread. After all, not everyone has the wardrobe budget to continually renew their entire closet simply because the calendar’s been flipped a few times.

With the latter sort of person in mind, we've put together a very simple, easy-to-purchase outfit designed for total summer versatility. The goal? Create a new summer outfit with pieces you can wear with as many other pieces already in your closet as possible, using items that are as occasion-appropriate as the beach as they are in the office or classroom. It’s not an easy challenge, but we think we've done it.

The Top

It’s difficult to find a shirt top that’s casual enough for the beach and professional enough for a summer internship—but when you find it, you buy that shirt and you never look back. After all, there are a few criteria that a summer shirt needs to have if it’s going to be the wisest possible investment for your fashion dollar:

  • It needs to fit with shorts as well as pants. If it only looks good paired with one or the other, the its “summer versatility” is out the window.
  • It needs to have a collar—to be dressy.
  • It should have a color that goes with anything you choose to wear in the way of pants.

It was tempting to pick an item out of our long-sleeve woven collection, but we had to opt for the Retro Stretch White Polo instead.

Why? Well, for starters, a white top is highly reflective, making it perfect for the summer sun. And white can go well with a pair of outrageously-colored beach shorts just as well as it can fit with a pair of jeans—or, really, anything in your wardrobe.

The Bottom

Although we can think of plenty of different pants and shorts that will pair perfectly with the Retro Stretch White Polo, we believe that the pants also have to be versatile if you’re going to maximize the value you get out of this investment. What do we want in a pair of pants?

  • The cotton weave is one of the best summer weaves there is, plain and simple.
  • The bottom should be occasion-appropriate even for dressier events.

What did we pick? This pair of Military Twill Pants in Classic Fit Navy. There are a range of colors you can select for your Military Twill pants, of course, and many of them are versatile as well. But there may be no color more versatile than navy in your wardrobe. It provides a great contrast for light clothes and complements well with darker clothes.

Add these two items to your summer wardrobe and—voila!—you've instantly expanded the possibilities of your outfits this summer.