Men's Summer Wardrobe: The Essentials

Alright, gents. Summer is right around the corner. The smell of steaks on the grill have been permeating the air in my neighborhood for weeks now and the evenings on the patio have started to linger long into the hours of dark.

WE are ready for summer, but are our wardrobes? I have thrown together a list of some of my favorite summer essentials that I have in my closet that have served me well over the last couple of years. Luckily, it appears that many of these fashion trends are here to stay, at least for the summer of 2020. Although the coronavirus may have altered the way our summer plans look, that certainly doesn't mean it has to alter how we look or feel when it comes to our style.

Hopefully you find some of the items on this list insightful and helpful. I have provided links to websites and stores where you can purchase each item mentioned.

Basic Button Down Tee

I love a simple button-down tee. This type of shirt is perfect for a night out with friends or an afternoon summer wedding. I like to have two or three of this style of shirt in different tones - think "light and breezy" and "jewel tone." The "light and breezy" version is perfect for that 4:00PM outdoor wedding and reception to follow where you will want to look your best, but still have the ability to stay cool. The "jewel tone" (a term I stole from women's fashion) is great for a night out with friends where you gather for dinner first and then hit the bars after. The darker tone provides a sophisticated feel and look that you would get with a standard oxford shirt, but with the simplicity of a tee. American Eagle

Khaki Shorts
If you have a pair of cargo khaki shorts hanging out in your closet, it's time to retire those for working outside ONLY and step into a pair of plain front, above the knee khaki shorts. I love a good pair of khaki shorts that sit just above the knee, especially if one has the upper quads that this style of short allows to accentuate. Gone are the days of below the knee, baggy shorts with 7 pockets sewn all around. Today, we are all about the simplicity of the design and function. The great thing about this style of short is that you can pair it with a shirt like the basic button down tee listed above for a fancy afternoon festivity or you can grab your favorite graphic tee out of your drawer and head to town for grocery run, all while looking clean, classic, and stylish. American Eagle

Patterned Button Down
The basic button down tee is perfect for that understated look; however, if you're looking to keep things classy and add a twist of fun to your summer wardrobe, find yourself a pattern button down you absolutely love. My favorite I have in my closet is a muted Hawaiin shirt. The fabric is a breathable cotton.  I love the pattern because it is bold enough to make a statement, but the overall tone of the shirt is muted, so this helps to provide a semi-classy feel.

If Hawaiin shirts are not your thing, look for patterns such as polka dots, chevrons, and stripes (like this fun shirt from Walmart!) Also, if you haven't checked out Walmart's recent fashion collections, do it. They have really stepped up their game in fit and styles while remaining affordable.
Walmart

Polo
Something every man needs in his closet is a classic polo. These are perfect for outdoor weddings, the golf-course, outdoor concerts, or a business-casual meeting. You really can't go wrong with a polo. I do suggest sticking to a solid color and one that is not too bold. I would avoid oranges, yellows, and bright greens (unless they are muted) and stick to the more classic color scheme options (i.e. white, black, grey, navy blue). These types of colors can transition easily for different events you may need to attend over the summer and are also easier to pair with shorts or chinos.

Polos come in different cuts and fits, so be sure to get the fit that makes you feel your best and look your best.
Macy's

Simple V-Neck
One of my favorite summer outfits to wear around the house is a pair of khaki shorts and a white v-neck t-shirt. This look is simple, extremely comfortable, and still provides a sense of "put-togetherness" for me. The thing I like about a basic, solid-colored v-neck, in any color of the rainbow, is that it easily pairs with your favorite khaki shorts or your favorite pair of patterned shorts (provided the color of the shirt matches the color scheme of the shorts!)

Again, find a fit that best suits your body. I am a slender build with minimal muscle, so I aim for the slim fit v-necks versus the "loose-fitted" or "athletic fit." Try on a few different fits and pay attention to what makes you feel 100%.
H&M

Swim Trunks
I'm going to be honest, I am not a huge swimmer. However, I am a huge "lay-by-the-pool-all-day-and-catch-some-rays-while-sipping-mimosas-but-maybe-occasionally-getting-in-to-float" type person and for that you best believe I want to look my best. I had been on the hunt for a pair of swim trunks that had that sorta 1950s vibe. My fashion prayers were finally answered when I stumbled across this pair of trunks at H&M and immediately fell in love. The pattern is simple and the length of the trunk sits about two inches up from the knee. Again, boys, no more below the knee swimming trunks and please avoid any hokey patterns like a beach at sunset. Go for a plain color or simple pattern/design that you feel shows your personality in a class-act way and show a little thigh. The other beach goers will appreciate your boldness.  H&M

White Canvas Tennis Shoes or Boat Shoes
Either of this style of shoe is great for a day spent on the lake with friends, heading out for a day of summer shopping, or spending the afternoon at your favorite winery. A white tennis shoe or leather boat shoe is versatile in their abilities to dress an outfit up or down. And they are quite comfortable too! Be sure to snag a pair of no-show socks to wear with these if you are like me and cannot stand wearing shoes without socks. Vans  Sperry's

Loafers
I purchased my first pair of loafers two years ago. I wear these when I need to go to a fancier event, such as a wedding or an outdoor dinner party. I like the loafer because I think it gives a bit of a more dressed up appearance for such occasions than the white tennis shoe or boat shoe. Again, be sure to grab those no-show socks. This style of loafer is meant to be worn with that barefoot look. Clark's


Sandal or Flip Flops

If you haven't noticed, I am a bit obsessed with shoes. I like having a collection of different styles of shoes to choose from when having to decide what will best work with the event I am going to or how much walking I will be doing on vacation or even how much time will I be spending by the water. For an every day sandal, I chose to purchase a pair of Birkenstocks. I was looking for a sandal I could wear on vacation and walk around in without my feet hurting or lacking support and I had heard excellent reviews on the Birkenstock shoe. So I took the plunge, made the purchase, and have not been disappointed yet! I love that it is a sandal AND provides great arch support. Birkenstocks

If I know I am going to spending a lot of time by the pool for an afternoon or chillin' on a boat in the middle of the lake, I like to have a pair of rubber sandals on hand. I like to find a pair that closely match my trunks so I can keep the appearance and feel of a total ensemble. For instance, I have the same pair of trunks shown above, but in navy blue. So, for my flip-flop, I went for a blue that matched. I just think this helps provide a sense of "outfit togetherness". I'm a big believer in that the smallest details matter, even if they are for yourself only. Old Navy has a great selection of this style of flip, but be sure to check out Walmart too!

Classic Sunglasses
No summer ensemble is complete without a pair of sunglasses. I used to be a huge fan of the aviators, but then one day I took a close in the mirror and realized my face was just to small to try and pull off such a large shaped lens. That's when I went to the internet and found this pair of shades. I love the slightly rounder shape and the fact that they are smaller than the aviator. Something about this style of sunglasses said "urban-shique" to me and that was enough for me to press "add to cart."

When you are looking for sunglasses, try on a few different frame shapes and styles. Really pay attention to how they feel on your face and whether or not the shape of the frame overpowers your facial structure. Also, be sure the lenses are polarized in such a way that they will get the sun-ray blocking job done.
Amazon

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Cheers to a stylish (and safe) summer!

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