Many of us rightly find dressing for the summer far more difficult than the winter. Not long after we come to appreciate good outerwear and develop a penchant for a multitude of the season’s latest accessories, the concept of warm weather comes to snatch it all away with the muggy heat that Britain is accustomed to. The necessity to wear as few layers as decently possible – in a seemingly futile effort to keep cool – has always left me with a feeling of being somewhat under dressed.
However, recently attitudes towards to summer style have taken on a more positive outlook. This year especially, men have begun to gravitate towards the more minimal style that comes with summer, putting additional emphasis on good colour co-ordination, fit and the little details that let so many men down before.
However, rather than focus on the negatives and perennial mistakes – socks and sandals, I’m looking at you – we should look towards taking a more constructive approach as we have with our five tops tips to pep up your summer style.
1. A Good Pair of Shorts
This may seem a rather obvious point, but a good pair of shorts forms the cornerstone of your summer wardrobe. Sadly, many men are misinformed on what constitutes a “good” pair of shorts. Matt Allinson did a fantastic job of rounding this up in part 70 of his basics guide – Reintroducing Shorts.
A good pair of shorts is defined by a certain set of characteristics:
- They end just above the knee.
- They don’t add excess bulk through cargo-like pockets – you want to create a good silhouette.
- They should not be too baggy or roomy. Again, it’s all about the shape and silhouette but, on the other hand, you don’t want them too tight. And never venture into budgie-smuggler territory off-beach (nothing in Britain constitutes as a beach.)
- Finally, remember that nobody has ever said the words “I see you’re admiring my cargo shorts.”
- Asos Chino Shorts
- Allsaints Mitre Shorts
- Cotton Shorts Spot-w By Boss Black
- Reiss Winton Shorts Cotton Mixer Shorts Coral
- Silent By Damir Doma Mens Pyoj Twill Shorts
- Slowear Incotex Madras-check Cotton Shorts
2. Be Bold
While running the risk of sounding like a broken record, we can’t help but persist. Over the last two summers, menswear has not only nudged but also shoved us in a two-handed fashion towards being bolder with our warm weather wardrobe. First with colour and now prints.
Summer is the perfect time to be braver with our choice of attire as, without the art of layering and a somewhat narrower pool of accessories to choose from, outfits can begin to look a little bland. Throwing in a bright colour or bold print is the perfect way to alleviate this and make up for the possible lack of depth elsewhere.
- Ymc Burgundy Floral Print Hawaiian Shirt
- Reiss Beacher Short Sleeve Printed Diamond Shirt Navy
- Asos Polo With All Over Tribal Print
- Worland Burgundy Tribal Print Tee
- Topman Bike Embroided Pattern Shorts
- Reiss Irving B Fashion Two Button Notch Lapel Jacket Pink
- Alexander Mcqueen Variated Stripe Knitwear 56018
- Burton Skinny Bright Yellow Chino
- Jimmy Choo Eaton Fringed Tasseled Driving Shoes
3. Have a Separate Summer Wardrobe
A tweed blazer, chinos and brogues combination may have been adopted as the FashionBeans badge of honour, but that doesn’t mean it should be worn all year round. This is the summer equivalent to wearing espadrilles and a straw trilby in the snow.
Obviously it would be a little obscene to suggest you disregard every piece of clothing between seasons, but having a few pieces which you swap in is a great way to refresh, reinvigorate and possibly even save some money on your wardrobe.
Top tip: Consider changing your belts between seasons; opting for heavier leather ones in the winter and lighter canvas or plaited leather in the summer. This is a small change but is a great way to feel a little more casual or play around with extra colour. A lighter belt also takes away any bulk, something your less dense fabrics, such as linen, will benefit from.
- Polo Ralph Lauren Striped Grosgrain Belt
- Paul Smith – Accessories 2983-b312 Sky Belt
- Topman Red Elastic Weave Belt
Top tip: We recently wrote about the khaki suit as a palpable option this season. A lighter weight and lighter colour suit should certainly be considered when the weather gets warmer. Wearing a complete wool or wool-blend suit in the heat isn’t going to be doing anyone any favours.
Swap heavier textures for lighter materials and colours such as khaki or even white (something the savants over at GQ are currently endorsing) so your suit will reflect heat rather than take it in. Alternatively, if going lighter in colour isn’t an option, opt for a lightweight fabric such as linen or cotton to keep yourself cooler while still rocking a navy or grey suit.
You also have the option of a short suit to really embody summer tailoring (read our guide here.)
- Reiss Valentine B Double Breasted Cotton Blazer Blue
- Asos Slim Fit Linen Suit Jacket
- Topman Blue Tick Stripe Shorts Suit
Give your brogues a break and bring out the loafers, sandals and canvas. Changing up your footwear will ensure your favourite Grenson’s are given time to breath while keeping you cooler with a more appropriate footwear choice.
It’s also a great time to go sockless (or at least appear to with some no-show socks.)
- Converse White Canvas Jack Purcell Plimsolls
- B Store Mario Suede And Canvas Tasselled Loafers
- Aluna Kg Kurt Geiger
These are just three examples of pieces that can be rotated seasonally, but the same can easily apply to shirts, jackets and even knitwear.
4. Be Fabric Smart
Following on from number three, don’t get caught out in wool, tweed or corduroy when the mercury rises. While that tweed blazer is a superb piece of clothing, it doesn’t look, or smell, so great dripping in sweat. A seersucker or linen alternative would however look just as good and won’t be plagued with an unsavoury odour when the thermometer reaches the late twenties.
That example may be a little extreme, but in seriousness, going seasonal with your fabric is a great way to achieve some of those long lost layers without sacrificing too much in the way of comfort. It also just seems more appropriate and coherent – a vital component of any stylish look.
- Seersucker – A traditionally popular British fabric, it’s a crinkled and thin construction keeps you cool because the puckered fabric is held away from the skin, allowing air to circulate better.
- Linen – Notorious for wrinkling easy, although this is often regarded as part of its charm. Linen is a perfect summer fabric as it is cool, soft and can absorb and lose water exceptionally quick. It’s worth noting that you should not tumble-dry linen, it’s far easier to iron when damp.
- Cotton – Cotton is lightweight and comfortable, making it perfect for warmer weather. It is however let down by its retention of moisture; making it an undesirable choice for those all-too-humid days.
- Silk – There was a slight trend for silk shirts this spring/summer; despite it not really hitting the heights, silk is a great choice for the season. It is incredibly soft, thin and lightweight – more so than cotton – although it shares the tendency to absorb moisture.
“Wear sunscreen. If I could offer you only one tip for the future sunscreen would be it … trust me on the sunscreen”
Because nothing ruins a look faster than unflattering sunburned skin that leaves you looking a lot like a crustacean. Only yesterday, Duncan spelled out which suncreams you should be applying this season in his guide to men’s summer skincare.
- Lab Series Daily Moisture Defence Lotion Spf15 100ml
- Riemann P20 Once A Day Sun Filter Spf20 100ml
- Ultrasun Family Spf 30 – Super Sensitive 150ml
Have Your Say…
- Do you agree with my top 5?
- Are there any you do disagree with?
- What would your top summer style tip be?
Let us know in the comments section below…