As a 20-something male interested in fashion, or moreover, looking presentable but still looking cool at the same time, I love summer styles. You can get away with so many more funky looks, patterns, and colors and still be looking good. Bright colors, floral patterns, cool bathing suits, hey even tank tops, they all make sense and turn heads in the best way possible while cruising the city in 90-degree heat. I’ve always held to the fashion rule that one should dress according to the temperature but still maintaining the personal flourish, sleek mono-chromatics in the winter and dazzling colors in the summer. And though I believe in personal style, I still think all men are better off with these items when the temperatures are up.
1. Boat shoes
Probably THE summer essential. Every man needs a decent pair of boat shoes for the summer. For just $100 they give you a sophisticated, country club type of look but paired with the right outfit they have a slight iconoclastic aspect to them. They wear well with khaki’s, rolled up jeans, shorts, and of course bathing suits. Whether you are dressed up or laying about on the beach you can still wear these suckers, and these J. Crew-Sperry collab shoes are some of the best made.
2. Patterned-short sleeve button shirts
I call them “NASA-chic” because Ed Harris wore these with a vest in Apollo 13. These shirts have finally been deemed appropriately for what they are, awesome! Roll up the sleeves and the guns you’ve been working on are going to be ablazin’! Also, it’s summer, so play with patterns. I fancy anchors, plaids, and the occasional floral print for special occasions (rock n’ roll concerts). For more advice on how to wear these perfectly see Channing Tatum’s GQ spread. These Prada prints are particularly nice.
3. Shorts of course, preferably printed and well-fitted
Shorts have made a huge comeback, and why not? I know I haven’t been working out my legs once a week and running every day to not show off my legs, have you? Flaunt them. But shorts are a delicate and balancing act. Don’y wear them if they hang below your knee. None of those late-90s Abercrombie cargo atrocities. Shorts should slightly hug your leg, you roll up the cuff, and printed shorts loo great whilst wearing a muted top. Top designers are all doing their own shorts these days, often in intriguing prints. But solid colors work well too. Just always make sure you only are carrying around one print, otherwise you will look, what is that work again? Oh yeah, obnoxious. These Paul Smith cycling shorts are the right idea.
4. Light-colored jeans, white or light-blue
Full disclosure: I’m a denim addict. Esquire published an article this year claiming that jeans can never be worn with a blazer or a jacket. I was aghast. Angry, even. Jeans look great with anything! But there is really only one time of the year that men can get away with white denim while holding on to their masculinity and that is summer time folks. Throw on the right fit of light-colored jeans with a tan smoking jacket or a royal blazer over one of the aforementioned shirts and you have perfected that sleek yet appropriately slackerish look that summer is made for. With sneakers, with boat shoes, with wing tips, and barefoot, allow yourself to let loose this summer and show up to work in your favorite light-colored jeans. You could argue that these white jeans by British design brand All Saints Spitafields are overpriced but I’d argue right back, these light blues are perfect as well
5. Speaking of the light-blue blazer or tan-smoking jacket.
Get one. Get both. If you’re worried about heat then don’t. Light weight linen and cottons paired with light colors will keep you cool, both literally and figuratively. The right summer jacket can transform you from a passerby to a head-turner. Strut around SoHo and absorb the rays, but don’t do it looking haggard. Make the effort. Put on the jacket, especially one of these perfectly reasonable, perfectly chic Banana Republic jackets. No one does this look better than GQ’s style guy and the fashion industry’s most eternally hip star Glenn O’Brien, pictured above.
6. An obvious one, but swim trunks/board shorts
Fashionable swim trunks seem to be making a serious come back in summer 2014. You aren’t seeing much of the baggy-board short types that have been so popular for so long and more short cut and slim-fitting board shorts that stop below the knee, the type you see the guys wearing in Dogtown and Z Boys and the surfing film the Endless Summer. I personally like my swim trunks solid-colored and tailored, and my favorite ones are these by Carhartt.
7. Tank-top, maybe a few
Easily one of the most controversial yet-popular men’s clothing items. Many people say they are totally off-limits, I believe even Hannah said on this season of Girls that, “Men should never wear tan tops.” Sorry, I disagree. They are cheap, look good, and you don’t care as much about ruining them when you’re at the beach. Do I think these things should be worn to work? No, but I think this Air Jordan graffiti-inspired tank is excellent when you want to show off those guns running around city or towards the water prior to surfing some excellent waves.
8. Tortoiseshell polarized sunglasses
I love Aviators, but you can wear them all year. Tortoiseshells to me have always looked best in summer. They are bold, and with the right color they top any outfit perfectly. And if you think Ray Ban is the king of aviators, you’ll be shocked to know they are also the king or tortoiseshells.