Introduction

Spring/summer articles are really hotting up here on FashionBeans. From footwear to neck ties (and everything in between) we’ve been covering all you need to know to look great this coming season.

With this in mind, below you will find a countdown (ala Top Of The Pops) of my personal top five hot items for spring/summer 2012, along with examples of how to style them.

5. Polo Shirt

The polo shirt is a simple classic that has dominated men’s style for decades. The mix of shirt and tee, smart and casual, has made it a winner with men of all ages and from all around the globe.

This year the polo shirt has been brought back to the fore, especially as a sport-luxe aesthetic has materialised as a prominent trend (you only have to look at Topman’s latest Ltd line, entitled ‘Sports Day’, for confirmation). This year’s polo features a tailored slim cut in order to create a more appealing silhouette, whilst many examples have been blended with some of this season’s other key trends, such as print.

The Polo Shirt Lookbook

Men's Polo Shirt Lookbook

  • Topman Blue Smart Tipped Polo T-shirtTopman Blue Smart Tipped Polo T-shirt
  • Universal Works Navy Polka Dot PoloUniversal Works Navy Polka Dot Polo
  • Asos Polo Shirt With All Over Bike PrintAsos Polo Shirt With All Over Bike Print
  • Reiss Vanish Pique Polo PinkReiss Vanish Pique Polo Pink
  • Allsaints Bramford PoloAllsaints Bramford Polo
  • J.crew Slim-fit Striped Cotton Polo ShirtJ.crew Slim-fit Striped Cotton Polo Shirt
How To Wear

Bring a classic Mod inspired look bang up to date by pairing your polo shirt with another menswear classic, the Harrington jacket. Compliment the colours of your polo and jacket (in true Mod fashion) and finish off with a good pair of jeans and loafers. Go sockless if the weather dictates.

Bridging the gap between smart and casual better than a plain t-shirt or shirt ever could, the polo shirt is a staple piece that all men should own – and even more so this spring/summer 2012. Hey, if it’s good enough for Mr Ralph Lauren, it’s certainly good enough for us.

  • John Smedley Isis Sea Island Cotton Polo ShirtJohn Smedley Isis Sea Island Cotton Polo Shirt
  • Baracuta Striped Trim Harrington JacketBaracuta Striped Trim Harrington Jacket
  • Allsaints Rinse Cigarette JeansAllsaints Rinse Cigarette Jeans
  • Topman Duke 2 LoafersTopman Duke 2 Loafers
4. Bracelets

Men’s jewellery is always a tricky subject and is perceived as difficult to pull off. After a classic watch, and possibly a wedding ring, most men dare not broach the threshold of jewellery.

This season, why not change your perception and add some wrist-wear to your everyday looks? A simple bracelet (or two) can add character to an outfit and become one of the trademark’s of your personal style. Bracelets are also a great way of adding a youthful dimension to your look, just as long as you keep it age and situation appropriate – a leather cuff is not a great look in the office, whatever your position.

In terms of recommendations, it is down to age and personal preference. The fish hook bracelet is currently gaining rapid popularity, whilst you can never go wrong with black metal or precious stone beads. Just remember that less is definitely more when it comes to bracelets, and jewellery in general for that matter.

Men’s Bracelets Lookbook

The lookbook below was selected as a visual showcase of the wide variety of bracelets that you can choose from. Although we wouldn’t necessarily suggest stacking so many bracelets, it is up to you to know your personal style and whether it will compliment your existing look. Younger guys with a more trend-led style might get away with a mix of bold coloured writstwear, whilst a mature man who dresses smarter daily may prefer something simple and masculine. The key is to experiment.

Men's Bracelets Lookbook

  • Shimla Crystal & Beaded BraceletShimla Crystal & Beaded Bracelet
  • Monica Vinader Rio Bracelet LargeMonica Vinader Rio Bracelet Large
  • Miansai Silver Metal And Leather BraceletMiansai Silver Metal And Leather Bracelet
  • M.cohen Black Onyx Single BraceletM.cohen Black Onyx Single Bracelet
  • Luis Morais String And White Gold BraceletLuis Morais String And White Gold Bracelet
  • Topman Floral Wristwear Tie Me UpTopman Floral Wristwear Tie Me Up
How To Wear

Bracelets are an easy way of injecting some colour into your outfits, especially if your not totally convinced by the idea of colour blocking just yet. Work a coloured bracelet into a simple blazer and chinos combination, making sure that the colour chosen compliments (or contrasts) both the jacket and trousers.

  • Calvin Klein Underwear White 3 Pack Basic T-shirtsCalvin Klein Underwear White 3 Pack Basic T-shirts
  • Asos Slim Fit Suit JacketAsos Slim Fit Suit Jacket
  • Reiss Senator Slim Casual Trousers NavyReiss Senator Slim Casual Trousers Navy
  • M.cohen 4 Wrap Stirling Silver Waxed ChordM.cohen 4 Wrap Stirling Silver Waxed Chord
3. The Fringed Loafer

Loafers are a firm footwear favourite here at FashionBeans. I would even go as far as saying they’re on equal footing with the infamous tan brogue. From our essential loafer guide to our recent write up on the tasselled variety and our dedicated thread on the forumsthere is certainly no shortage of loafer admirers in the FashionBeans community.

This season I would wholeheartedly recommend a fringed loafer as your new go to. Fringe detailing on footwear is currently trending and your old penny loafers could do with a trip down the barbers and some new styling tips.

The trick to really working fringed loafers (and footwear in general) is to keep everything slim cut – you don’t want your fringe turning into a bowl cut.

The Fringed Loafer Lookbook

Men's Fringed Loafers Lookbook

  • Asos Fringe And Buckle LoafersAsos Fringe And Buckle Loafers
  • Ted Baker Tephra 3 Fringe DriverTed Baker Tephra 3 Fringe Driver
  • Topman Loake Fringe Tassle LoafersTopman Loake Fringe Tassle Loafers
  • Topman Teak Black Leather Tassle LoafersTopman Teak Black Leather Tassle Loafers
  • Bass Weejuns Burgundy Leather Leyton Fringe LoafersBass Weejuns Burgundy Leather Leyton Fringe Loafers
  • Acne Lorenzo Fringed Suede LoafersAcne Lorenzo Fringed Suede Loafers
How To Wear

Build a look around your fringed footwear by keeping everything above the ankle minimalist in character. However, feel free to opt for a coloured sock to inject some flair and simultaneously draw attention to your statement footwear.

As previously mentioned, keep it simple for your top half – chinos and an unstructured blazer layered over a plain white t-shirt is right on the money. This combination also plays on the fringe loafers’ underlying preppy roots.

  • Selected Line CardiganSelected Line Cardigan
  • Allsaints Mitre ChinoAllsaints Mitre Chino
  • Paul Smith Shoes & Accessories Embroidered Cotton-blend SocksPaul Smith Shoes & Accessories Embroidered Cotton-blend Socks
  • Topman Teak Suede Tassle LoafersTopman Teak Suede Tassle Loafers
2. The Print Shirt

There is not much more I can say about the printed shirt that I haven’t previously covered in my article on the print trend currently dominating menswear. I will however continue to stress that if you’re a bit of a novice in terms of pulling off print, anchoring with neutral tones and items will make the experience far more pleasant.

The Print Shirt Lookbook

Men's Printed Shirt Lookbook

  • Allsaints Rockpile ShirtAllsaints Rockpile Shirt
  • Volklore Parabird ShirtVolklore Parabird Shirt
  • Asos Printed Short Sleeve ShirtAsos Printed Short Sleeve Shirt
  • Topman Blue Tennis Printed ShirtTopman Blue Tennis Printed Shirt
  • Woolrich Mens Ikat Military ShirtWoolrich Mens Ikat Military Shirt
  • Burberry Prorsum Printed Slim-fit Cotton ShirtBurberry Prorsum Printed Slim-fit Cotton Shirt
How To Wear

Polka-dots are a light hearted way to approach this trend; the sparse-nature of the pattern makes it far easier to rock than a full Ikat or tribal print. Tuck your shirt into some tailored shorts, roll the sleeves and go (not so) wild with some wrist-wear.

Finish off with a pair of deck shoes for a great holiday look.

  • Hartford Polka-dot Cotton ShirtHartford Polka-dot Cotton Shirt
  • Reiss Prom Tailored Shorts InkReiss Prom Tailored Shorts Ink
  • Miansai Leather MooringMiansai Leather Mooring
  • Asos Herringbone Canvas Boat ShoesAsos Herringbone Canvas Boat Shoes
1. The Double-Breasted Blazer

Last season I covered the double-breasted tailoring trend that was starting to take shape. I also mentioned how the double-breasted blazer looked set to transcend seasons and become a perennial favourite amongst mensomething I still stand by – and just one of many reasons the double-breasted blazer takes the top spot on our list for SS12.

My personal recommendation would be a navy double-breasted blazer, much for the same reasons that a navy single-breasted blazer appears in almost all menswear essential lists.

I’ve found my Navy double-breasted blazer to be one of the most versatile pieces I own each and every season. I will even reach for it as a quick throw-on over a jeans and t-shirt look. The navy double-breasted blazer does everything a single-breasted equivalent would, except for the fact that it’s double-breasted.

The double-breasted detailing gives it that extra edge and often makes it look as though more thought went into an outfit than it actually did. In this respect, it is an effortless statement piece.

The Double Breasted Blazer Lookbook

Men's Double Breasted Blazer Lookbook

  • Allsaints Lorient JacketAllsaints Lorient Jacket
  • Ted Baker Double Breasted BlazerTed Baker Double Breasted Blazer
  • Blended Cotton Jacket Mareo-w By Boss BlackBlended Cotton Jacket Mareo-w By Boss Black
  • Topman Tmd Stone Stripe Double Breasted Suit Jacket Topman Tmd Stone Stripe Double Breasted Suit Jacket
  • J Lindeberg Flippo Uncon Dark Blue Linen JacketJ Lindeberg Flippo Uncon Dark Blue Linen Jacket
  • Band Of Outsiders Slim-fit Double-breasted Linen BlazerBand Of Outsiders Slim-fit Double-breasted Linen Blazer
How To Wear

Style a navy double-breasted blazer with grey linen-blend trousers and a red gingham shirt for a relaxed, tailored, everyday-look. Suede loafers are in keeping with this low-key theme, and the perfect warm weather footwear choice.

The natural wrinkles in the trousers will counteract the formal overtones with casual nuances and keep the look detached from the office.

  • J.crew Thomas Mason Gingham Check ShirtJ.crew Thomas Mason Gingham Check Shirt
  • Beams Plus Double-breasted Cotton-twill BlazerBeams Plus Double-breasted Cotton-twill Blazer
  • Allsaints Ballast Lorient TrouserAllsaints Ballast Lorient Trouser
  • Paul Smith Shoes Chocolate Burnished Suede Mancini LoafersPaul Smith Shoes Chocolate Burnished Suede Mancini Loafers
Conclusion

That concludes my top 5 picks for spring/summer 2012. There were a certainly quite a few contenders for the list but my aim was to keep it concise. However, the top spot was never in any doubt.

As per usual, we would love to hear your thoughts:

  • Do you agree with my top 5?
  • How many do you already own?
  • What would be on your list for this season?
  • Are there any on the list you disagree with

Let us know via the comments section below…

Alex