Dressing for a Day at the Beach

Dressing for the beach is easy, right? All you have to do is pack a pair of shorts and a shirt, but sometimes you might feel like your look is a little plain. So you start to second-guess yourself, hat or no hat, which pair of sunglasses, the patterns and prints look or would solids be the best choice? The list goes on and on, and as you stand around the house deciding what to wear, you are wasting valuable time spent having fun in the sun.

These are the dizzying kinds of thoughts that you have going on in the mirror that reveal that dressing for the beach is not easy – not unless you know how to do it properly. That starts with having the right beach-appropriate clothing in the first place, but it also means knowing how to put an outfit together.

Choosing the Right Shorts

The first question: what is the right pair of shorts? You have a few options:

  • Snappers are ultra-short, just 5”, which means they’ll show off a lot of leg. If you’re comfortable doing that and you feel you have the proportions for it, more power to you!
  • Classic 7” shorts might be considered a “medium-length” in these days, with the in-vogue look of minimalistic shorts that don’t come too close to the knee.
  • Go a little longer with 5” shorts; these are great for long-legged gentlemen who need a better sense of proportion for their overall outfit.

Colors and Patterns

Choosing shorts isn’t just about length, though: it’s also about colors and patterns.

  • Plaids and prints are great for breaking up the plainness of a white polo shirt or oxford cloth button down, giving you the right contrast between the two pieces without clashing.
  • Lightly-colored shorts - your salmons and oranges are perfect for summertime, especially on hot days when the light colors will keep the sun at bay.
  • Standard colors like grey and khaki are very versatile, but generally call for a little more creative style for the rest of your outfit if you want to stand out.

Pairing Shorts and Shirts

 The best way to look at pairing shorts and shirts is  simple: you’re looking for a light contrast, but not  a  clash. You can start with a versatile item – khaki shorts  or an oxford cloth button down shirt – and  use it as your  foundation. “Ground” your outfit with a plain-colored  shirt or pair of shorts and then  spice up the other article:  for example, you might wear a light plaid shirt with a  solid-colored pair of  shorts, or plaid shorts to stand out  from a white tee.

 The key is not to directly contrast or directly match the  two: you want to hit a “sweet spot”  somewhere in  between.

A Note on Shoes & Accessories

Since a beach outfit can be quite minimal, it’s up to you to make the shoes and accessories pop. Boat shoes are ideal for the beach – hence the name – and you can find high-contrast boat shoes if you want to pair them with more conventional patterns and colors up top. Leather brown bracelets and watches are great for armwear – though you’ll want to take off an expensive watch before heading in the water. Supplement with a pair of sunglasses – aviators or wayfarers – and you’ll look every bit the 2015 beach-going gentleman that you aim to be.