Man’s Guide to Building the Essential Summer Wardrobe

Do you ever wish someone would just come along and tell you everything you need to know about a certain subject so you never have to wonder again?

Well, if you’re a man who’s not sure how to dress, you’re in luck, because summer is upon us and this guide is for you:

Shirts

It all starts up top. In the summer, you should be able to freely change between long sleeves and short sleeves if you’re doing it right. How? You’ll want light, breezy fabric weaves like cotton twill. You’ll want light colors to reflect more of the sun and keep you cool even if you’re wearing long sleeve shirts. And you’ll want to be prepared for anything.

  • Essential Colors: Lightly-colored shirts (blue is generally about as dark as you’ll want to keep it in the heat) are the name of the game here. White, light blue, light red, pink, yellow, orange—anything that says “summer” generally has a place in your wardrobe. White and blue are the most versatile.
  • Essential Patterns: Madras and Gingham.
  • Essential Designs: Button-downs, polo shirts, and tee shirts will generally get you around in summer no matter where you’re going. An oxford cloth button down shirt—often known in style circles simply as OCBD—is perhaps the most versatile summer shirt there is.

Shoes

It all ends on bottom. Shoes are generally what make or break a great outfit—so it helps to tell the difference between a stylish and versatile summer shoe and a winter boot.

  • Essential Colors: Brown, tan, white, blue—there are really few ways to do it “wrong,” but those are the safest colors. Try to avoid black unless you’re dressing especially formally, or wearing black sneakers—though you tend to keep sneakers for pickup basketball games and jogging, right?
  • Essential Designs: Boat shoes, “Bucks,” and canvas sneakers are very trendy and all summer-appropriate. The key is to wear shoes with no-show socks or to go sockless altogether. The sockless look tends to be a little neater, and high socks are certainly not in vogue, comfortable though they may be.

Pants and Shorts

Keep it simple. Pants and shorts for summer should be lightweight and fit with the summer theme—a pair of black shorts or pants will generally run a lot warmer than will a khaki pair.

  • Essential colors: Feel free to have at it. Khaki, navy, pink, turquoise, orange, light blue, green, salmon—the list goes on and on. Paired with a nice versatile white top, there’s almost no color you can pick that won’t fit in your summer wardrobe unless the color is drabby and murky; then it’s better suited for fall/winter.
  • Essential Fabrics: Seersucker is a great fabric weave. Our seersucker vintage shorts demonstrate just how light and breezy a pair of shorts can be while still keeping a dressier look.

Accessories

Optional. A good pair of sunglasses—wayfarer and aviator tend to be attractive—might not be so optional when the sun’s out all day. Keep your skin protected, keep your eyes shielded, and keep your clothes appropriately light and breezy and you should have no problem putting together a great summer outfit each and every time.

May 06, 2015 by Vintage 1946
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