Rarely is a dilemma ‘lucky’. But for the few of us who are lucky enough to have the dilemma of taking a casual approach practically every day of the year it can be difficult (and expensive) to retain a fresh look.
Finding the time to put together a wardrobe that embodies the big trends each and every season is far from easy; of course, we would never let you be caught out in a look that is ‘so last season’.
The concept of a capsule wardrobe has become rather reclusive. However, it’s the eclectic interchange ability that draws us to desire one. The benefits of this are fruitful for the trend-obsessed individuals as well as the hard-working gents who have become rather blasé about their casual wear.
The capsule wardrobe allows you to begin to develop a personal style using ‘timeless’ basics that can be interchanged to form the foundation of your look. This practise also allows you refine and streamline a wardrobe that is harbouring more articles of clothing than is entirely necessary. We like to at least assist in ‘wisening’ up your spending habits wherever possible; freeing up that loose change to woo a love interest.
In essence it forms your fashion uniform. Giving you the licence to go ahead and spruce up in the form of accessories and more statement/trend pieces (or further wooing).
We’ll kick things off by tackling possibly the most obvious feature of a summer wardrobe: shorts. Even this simple and well-represented piece stirs debate as opinions differ on the length and styles that are most appealing. First rule - cargo is pretty much a no go unless you’re channelling the ‘English lad abroad’ vibe.
Tailored – a pair of tailored shorts which sit no lower than the knee are a certain essential, grab these in a muted tone and you’re good to go – my personal recommendation would be in a shade of khaki or navy to ensure they remain versatile and hit the natural and nautical trends dominating the season. These are both key looks each and every year, meaning you can add to your wardrobe next season, rather than replace.
Denim – Where would menswear be without denim? Possibly our most definitive essential; denim shorts are a must for any summer wardrobe but in their variations. Whether home made through the use of scissors and an old pair of jeans or purposely bought these will serve you especially well. Alternate your washes from season to season. If your winter wardrobe is dominated by dark-wash denim (as it should be) then go for lighter washes in summer.
Another permanent feature in menswear since our fashion forefathers laid down the basic foundations of style is the iconic denim and white tee look – usually accompanied by a great leather jacket.
Basic tees are a necessity, you can never have too many. But for all intents and purposes, and for putting together your capsule wardrobe, 5 or 6 should see you home and dry. Remember that basic tees are essential for layering; a crisp white tee looks just as good under a navy blazer as it does underneath a cardigan or leather jacket. Invest in quality materials and good fit because these are going to be some of the most versatile and regularly worn garments in your whole wardrobe.
Learn how to choose cuts, shapes and tones that will be as transferable as any modern man should be. Also remember to bear in mind your personal body type and shape:
Monochromes such as white, black and grey will always have a spot in your wardrobe, so for summer experiment with a few colours. Pastel colours are great for a summer palette and their muted nature adds to their ability to mix and match.
You are no longer limited to wearing a plain shirt to any formal occasion. An eclectic mix of check and plain shirts will see you through each season and every occasion. Check and gingham shirts are just as viable when dressing up for the more formal of invites, whilst white shirts are also no longer reserved for the office. Pair a crisp white oxford with a pair of shorts (tailored or denim) and some sophisticated loafers and there will be no complaints from anyone.
Consider what you already have in your wardrobe. Accessories can be paired with many pieces to create a preppy, collegic or even Aztec-inspired ensemble.
Furthermore to being subject to a major resurgence in popular trends, the chino has always been a keeper. When bought with consideration (but rarely worn with any), chinos can be as interchangeable as a basic tee. Once again muted tones remain the most versatile and a wise investment, but current trends are however pulling towards the coloured equivalents. Before diving in to the brighter hues, make sure your established wardrobe can handle them.
Footwear suitable for the summer is rather limited and much down to personal preference. Some prefer toe bearing, for others canvas trainers suffice. One style that is dominating the high street is the espadrille. The deconstructed variant to the shoe, many are turning to the lightweight footwear for a staple item in their summer looks.
When one is required to look more put together so to speak.
Brogues, deck shoes and even desert boots are to be considered, but a pair of loafers are just as versatile (if not more); able to be mixed with casual and formal looks easily, whilst transcending through the seasons and keeping you looking sharp the whole year round.
Check out one of our icon’s who really knows how to rock loafers correctly: Style Icon: Ed Westwick
The weather simply cannot be trusted to be consistently sunny, not in Britain anyway. A denim jacket is an essential and an invaluable extra when looking to layer up. For the dressier occasions – or if you simply want to dress slightly sharper – a blazer will do you no wrong and is a wise investment. Double or single breasted is sheer preference but often constituted by your body shape – ensure you know yourself before purchasing.
Once again monochromes rule supreme; navy is a trustworthy style companion and key in doubling up for the revived nautical look.
Layering is a key skill to any completing look. It goes along the same lines as guessing bra size or knowing what flowers to buy (and often where from). Us men are guilty of occasionally forgetting to layer (and forgetting for the flower question – garages are a no go). Most are met with a brick wall when the sun is shining and layering is considered. With the sweltering sun beaming down, throwing on a jumper and coat would be just absurd – but this shouldn’t leave layering in abandonment.
No summer wardrobe would be complete with the omission of lightweight knitwear to add an extra dimension to your style. A fine cardigan or lightweight V-neck can fill this void without being overbearing or uncomfortable.
No schoolboy errors – if hot, fold and pack your knitwear away in your man bag, or neatly knot your jumper arms around your shoulders. Never your waist.
“What you wear is how you present yourself to the world, especially today, when human contacts are so quick. Fashion is an instant language.”
- Miuccia Prada
Truer words have never been spoken and this language is not only instant but also complicated and unforgiving. First impressions are the most lasting. Having an interchangeable wardrobe made up of unassuming basics will simplify this language and once you’ve mastered the basic vocab and rules, becoming fluent is just a small step away.
In real terms, once you have woven these individual items into looks you feel best suit your persona; experimenting with more outlandish colours, accessories and combinations is the small step needed to becoming a trend setter rather than a trend follower.
“The difference between insanity and genius is measured only by success and failure”
- Masashi Kishimoto
As this article is over a year old, the comments are now closed.
If you have a specific question about one of the points raised in the article, why not join our free fashion & style forum and start a thread? The FashionBeans community will always do their best to help you out, and our writers also frequent the forums regularly.
Alternatively, you can get in touch with us on our contact us page.