I know I talk a lot about Spring and Autumn being my favourite seasons for fashion, but Summer…That’s my favourite season for life. There’s nothing better than the summer, from the light nights, summer nights out, BBQs, holidays and just relaxing in the sunshine, the Summer is awesome. When it comes to clothing it can get tricky for us guys, when it’s warm or hot it’s fairly easy to just throw on a T-shirt and chinos or jeans and be done with it. If you’re looking for some fresh new ideas, there’s plenty of summer fashion for you to consider. Here’s a few great items you can add to your outfit which will make a great addition, here are a few of the essentials which you should be considering.
A Linen Jacket
The summer heat does not mean you can’t wear a jacket, and a linen jacket will do the trick. I love linen jackets, they look really smart, and are a much lighter alternative to a blazer or suit jacket. Great for a smart or smart casual affair, you should have at least one of these in your wardrobe. When it comes to the colour, there’s plenty of choice, from blues and greys to pastel reds lighter colours such as stone and beige. These can be styled up with a shirt, or styled down with a plain or patterned T-shirt.
If you prefer more of a casual look and don’t fancy a linen jacket, the denim option is something to consider. A jacket which I got a while back was from Danish contemporary brand Solid. It’s a rust colour, and is really good for the summer, working well with a plain white tee. Denim jackets come in a wide range of colours including white and off-white, grey, black and of course a range of blues. Style it with a pair of chinos or complimenting jeans.
It’s summer, so there’s a good chance that you’ll go through a fair few T-shirts. Not all T-shirts are equal, and you can look either sharp, casual or a mess. This depends on the T-shirt you wear, and probably more importantly, you’re age. If you want to stay fashionable, you’ll want to stay away from loud logo shirts and large branded shirts, although if you’re under 25, you can get away with this to some extent. T-shirts are a casual item, and the more going on with the shirt (graphics, logos, branding) the louder and more casual it usually becomes. If you’re over 25 then go for a minimal or plain tee which is a good fit and good quality. Recognise the style of T-shirt you’re wearing; If it’s casual then match the outfit and keep it casual, if it’s plain or stylish like a nautical, you can dress it up with other items.
Nautical T Shirts
I cannot express how much I love nautical T Shirts. A nautical T Shirt is simply a horizontal striped shirt, usually with thin or fine stripes. The staple colour for these are a navy base with white stripes, or white base with navy stripes. They may be as something as simple as a T-shirt, but when you pair one with a light pair of chinos and jacket, it really looks like a smart, summer fashion outfit.
When you want something smarter than a standard tee, but less formal than a shirt, that’s where the polo shirt comes in. There are a lot of brands which are staples when it comes to a polo top, including Fred Perry and Lacoste. Both brands are timeless so investing in a polo from either of these two will be a good choice, not to mention they have a vast array of different colours to suit.
When you want to wear a shirt but want to keep really cool, a linen shirt is the answer. They’re perfect for a stroll along a beach, or roaming around the city in the heat. Linen is very easily wrinkled, but this adds a bit to the look of your shirt. You can wear one of these on it’s own or with a jacket, and pair it with a smart pair of shorts or chinos.
Fitted Short Sleeve Shirt
A short sleeve shirt can be a good idea, but it should be fitted. You don’t want to wear an oversize short sleeve short which looks like it has wings, as it will appear sloppy. When it comes to a short sleeve shirt, a pattern is usually fine to wear for smart-casual day wear, with checks being a nice option. Personally I prefer a long sleeve rolled up shirt, which I will get on to now.
Open Button Shirt
Strictly casual is a long sleeve shirt, with the buttons opened. This obviously means wearing an undershirt (unless you have a 6 pack and are heading for the beach), wearing a clean white tee with shirt over really looks like a cool Summer option. Wear a solid Summer colour shirt such as sea blue with a plain white tee, or a check shirt for a laid back look.
If all you’re jeans feel heavy or are too dark for the Summer, or you just fancy a change, chinos are definitely the way to go. They’re more casual then a pair of trousers, really soft and comfortable, look stylish and come in a huge number of colours. As with a cotton or linen jacket, you can get a pair of chinos in pastel colours which are perfect for the season, white or off white colours such as beige, ecru, stone and camel.
I love white jeans for the summer, and have already written about white jean ideas for men and what you can wear them with. They are perfect for the summer and are a versatile option for your lower half. Wear a pair with a navy shirt which with emphasise both items, or if the bright white denim is too much, go for an off-white colour which is light but not as harsh as pure white.
Summer would not be complete without mentioning shorts. In the UK we don’t embrace shorts very much, but if you want to free your legs, the smart-casual look to go for would be chino shorts. The length is the all important factor here. Too short or too long will result you looking ridiculous. The length should be just above the knee, nothing too short, and nothing below the knee. Remember that when wearing shorts you can still incorporate a jacket to keep on the smarter style, as well as wearing a polo or smart shirt.
Sweat shorts could be considered, however these will be seen as very casual, and should only be worn for down time. Sports shorts should only be worn for working out, so keep them for that. Swim shorts are strictly for the pool or beach, the clue is in the name.
A great footwear option for smart casual outfits, boat shoes look their best in the Summer. They work well with both shorts and regular length chinos, and really look the part with the rest of your Summer outfit. Remember my tips on going sockless for the summer, and if you decide to do this, then invisible socks is the way to go.
Canvas Trainers And Plimsolls
If you prefer you’re footwear more casual, then canvas trainers are the way to go. Choose from your favourite brand, a few popular ones being Vans and Converse, but a lot of other fashion brands have offerings too, such as Ralph Lauren and Lacoste. I love my Converse, the Low Chuck Taylors are a timeless classic and come in so many colours, so many suited for the season. White trainers are also really popular in the Summer, with brands such as Adidas and Nike offering all white footwear which look great in the sun.
A good pair of sunglasses are essential and my favourite go to brand is Ray Ban. Like a lot of items mentioned here, Ray Ban are timeless and classic. They cost a lot, but they’ve been stylish and popular for longer than most of us have been alive, and show no signs of slowing down. That means you can look at these as an investment, and will last for years to come. Find a style which you love, from Wayfarers to Aviators, and everything in between. It’s worth noting that there’s plenty of other brands out there, with Oakley, Persol, Police and Carrera being big players in Sunglasses, as well as fashion brands which offer great options.
Summer fashion is going to be something you’ll need, and it’s something I really love. As with everything you can choose to spend as little, or as much money as you like for this season, my advice would be to stick to classic pieces which will last year in, year out, and many, such as a good fitting white T-shirt are probably items which you already own. Add into your wardrobe a good colour linen jacket for the smarter occasions, and a nautical tee for those more casual settings. Let me know what you think in the comments, and check out more of my men’s fashion tips for other seasons and how to style each of these pieces. Don’t forget to get your scent correct too, and you can check out the best men’s summer fragrances where I talk about what scent types work best for guys in the Summer.