Although fall is the favored season for stylish men—I don’t know about you, but summer has become one of my favorite sartorial seasons. I just love the simplicity it affords. It encourages minimalism and doesn’t have to be boring. Let me show you some examples. Today’s post is a roundup of 17 men’s summer essentials that I think are worth picking up.
Want to watch the accompanying lookbook? Hit the play button below, and if you like it, click here and be sure to hit that thumbs up!
Without further ado, here are 4 different looks that I’ve styled, incorporating the 17 featured men’s summer essentials.
One final thing before we begin—this is a long post (over 3,500 words)—so you may want to bookmark it so you can refer back to it later.
OUTFIT #1: SMART CASUAL SUMMERS
This first look is great for lounging around, in style. It’s the dressiest of all the looks. Anytime you introduce a blazer, it’s going to make for a more refined aesthetic. But there are ways that you can dress it down so that it’s more about work and play.
1. SUMMER-WEIGHT BLAZER
First up is the summer-weight blazer in a light color like beige or heather gray. Opt for an unstructured shoulder (very thin or no padding at all). Ideally the jacket should also be unlined to keep it as lightweight and breathable as possible. For an added dash of style, throw in a light cotton or linen pocket square. I recommend a versatile white and blue gingham check this summer, it’s trendy and classic at the same time.
Why I love the summer-weight blazer:
This single addition is an easy way to level up any casual summer look from pretty normal to pretty dapper.
2. SCOOP NECK T-SHIRT
A plain white tee is a mens wardrobe essential. The scoop neck tee doesn’t get much love, but I think it’s a perfect summer shirt. A defining characteristic of the scoop neck tee is the extra wide neckline. Some scoop necks are a bit extreme in how far the neckline dips, to the point of showing off your pectorals. I prefer a more modest neckline as it’s more subtle, yet still noticeably different from a regular crew neck.
Why I love the scoop neck t-shirt:
Scoop neck t-shirts tend to fit more loosely and the fabric tends to be lighter which makes it an ideal white tee for summer.
SHOP THIS LOOK—Blazer: J.Crew (alternative), (similar on a budget) | T-Shirt: Ribbed Tee | Pants: Peter Manning NYC (similar on a budget) | Pocket Square: Nordstrom (similar on a budget 1), (similar on a budget 2) | Sneakers: H&M (similar more expensive), (high end) | Sunglasses: Asos (similar) | Watch: Daniel Wellington | Watch Strap: Cheapest Nato Straps | Bracelet: The Dark Knot
3. LIGHT COLORED CHINOS
For this summer, I say go for a chino pant in a lighter shade, like this light olive green pair. It’s clearly the statement piece of this getup, but in a subtle way. The shade doesn’t scream “look at me,” like a pair in say, a kelly green color would. And the light shade is aligned appropriately with summer warmth and. Opt for a slim fit here or straight leg if your build requires it. And while you’re at it, throw cuff the bottom of the pants one or two times for a casual cool summer vibe. Bonus points if your chinos have a bit of stretch to them.
Why I love the light colored chino:
The chino is a smart casual staple. A nice fitting pair of chinos works well with a blazer (dressy) and also a t-shirt (casual). Chinos make for a perfect balance between the two.
4. FLARE LENS SUNGLASSES
One essential I never leave the house with during summer is a pair of sunglasses. It’s a no brainer, they keep the sun from blinding you and keep you looking stylish. Go for a pair with reflective lenses for ultimate cool, plus no one can see your eyes. I like to keep a few pairs in my car as backup. You can never have enough options to choose from. For each of these first 3 outfits I’m rocking a pair of flare lens sunglasses.
Why I love flare lens sunglasses:
Summer shades are functional and stylish at the same time. And there are a myriad of versatile styles to choose from, whether you’re more of a Wayfarer, Clubmaster, Aviator or round eye lens kinda guy. There’s a style for every face shape.
OUTFIT #2: BACKYARD SUMMERS
Look 2 is a good look for backyard summers hanging by the pool, heading out to run some errands or catching up with some buddies for drinks. It’s a getup that’ll get you through the day to day comfortably and in style.
5. SHORT SLEEVE BUTTON DOWN SHIRT
The number one shirt I’d recommend for summer is the short sleeve button down. It oozes that casual, cool I’m at play kind of vibe, especially shirts with a fun print. An interesting, subtle print like a microdot pattern is a great way to add a little fun and playfulness to your look without screaming look at me. A summer move I commonly make is to cuff the sleeve. Not only does it taper the opening around my bicep, but I like how it mirrors the cuff of my shorts.
Why I love the short sleeve button down:
It’s casual, relaxed and lightweight making it perfect for the season. This navy, white microdot patterned shirt is a summer staple for me. If you haven’t yet, it’s worth it to embrace a patterned button down this summer.
6. WHITE SHORTS
The first pair of shorts on the list is white shorts. I like to embrace lighter colors like beige and white in warmer weather. It reflects the sunlight and doesn’t absorb heat like darker colors do. Personally, I think white and navy are the perfect color pairing in the summertime. As for the length of your shorts, avoid wearing them below your knees. I like to keep mine 2-3 inches above the knee.
Why I love white shorts:
I like to keep things casual in the summertime and white shorts is as casual as it gets. Just make sure the fit is on point and you’ll look as stylish as the best of ’em.
SHOP THIS LOOK—Shirt: H&M (similar), (similar more expensive) | Shorts: H&M (similar 1), (similar 2), (similar 3) | Sneakers: H&M (similar more expensive), (high end) | Socks: Ninja Sox (alternative 1), (alternative 2) | Belt: Anson Belt & Buckle | Sunglasses: Asos (similar) | Watch: The Fifth Watches | Watch Strap: Cheapest Nato Straps | Bracelet: The Dark Knot | Book: Men & Style
7. WHITE TRAINERS
An all white trainer in a classic, low top silhouette is my first shoe pick for summer. It’s an amazingly versatile shoe as it can be worn casually like in this outfit or it can be dressed up with a tailored suit. Simply put, they’re clean, minimalist and complement all types of different looks. The only downside to wearing them is that they get dirty really easily, so avoid wearing them in grassy or muddy areas.
Why I love white trainers:
For three reasons—white trainers’ versatility, simplicity and comfort is what draws me to them.
8. BEADED BRACELET
Beaded bracelets are a simple accessory that can say a lot. The pair I’m wearing in this look has a premium feeling, from the weight to the intricate texture of each individual bead to the silver lion’s head. Being a Leo gives the bracelet more meaning to me. There isn’t always going to be some hidden meaning behind your accessories, but that’s what I like about style, that certain pieces can hold more significance than meets the eye.
Why I love the beaded bracelet:
It’s casual, can be elegant and adds visual interest to a simple summer look.
Quick note: If you’re enjoying this summer essentials guide, then you’ll probably find my other writing on all things men’s style useful. Each week, I share updates, style tips and other things not shared on the blog through my free email newsletter. To join now, just enter your email address below and click “Get Updates!”
OUTFIT #3: SAND AND SUMMERS
For look 3, I went for a relaxed beach look. Doesn’t get more relaxed than a shirt with a bold tropical print. You’ll feel that ocean breeze as it passes through your lightweight shirt and linen shorts. Easily slip off those boat shoes and feel the soft sand beneath your feet.
9. TROPICAL SHIRT
A tropical shirt will always be the statement piece of your summer getup or it should be. Tropical shirts aren’t for everyone, but I think all guys could benefit from having one of these in their wardrobe. It’s the perfect shirt for a weeklong getaway to the Bahamas or a short weekend beach trip. I recommend that you keep the rest of your getup relatively muted otherwise it could clash with your shirt’s print. This’ why I paired the shirt with simple, cream colored shorts and classic Sperrys.
Why I love the tropical shirt:
It’s no work, all play…and sometimes that’s just the way it ought to be.
10. LINEN SHORTS
The second and final pair of summer shorts on the list of essentials is linen shorts. Warmer temperatures means lighter fabrics. And linen is the workhorse summer fabric. Everything about it is casual from how it feels to how it looks. Linen is highly absorbent and dries quickly. Not only is it breathable, but it doesn’t stick to your skin. It can also be washed and dried easily, thus making it the perfect summer fabric.
Why I love linen shorts:
The unique basketweave pattern has a summer feel and looks great. Even when it wrinkles there’s a certain charm that I like to embrace. Linen is meant to wrinkle and that’s perfectly okay.
SHOP THIS LOOK—Shirt: Forever 21 Men’s (alternative 1), (alternative 2) | Shorts: H&M (similar on a budget 1), (similar on a budget 2), (similar more expensive) | Shoes: Sperry Top-Sider (similar on a budget) | Watch: Timex | Watch Strap: Cheapest Nato Straps | Bracelet: Taft
11. BOAT SHOES
The second pair of shoes on this list of essentials is the classic boat shoe. I recommend one pair of boat shoes either in brown or navy for max versatility. It’s a shoe that any guy can pull off. And if you get a good pair with durable leather, then it’ll last you for many seasons. Keep in mind, you don’t have to be on a boat to rock boat shoes nor do you have to be near a large body of water, but if you are, then perfect.
Why I love boat shoes:
I wear them all summer long, sometimes with no-show socks, sometimes without. The shoes’ low profile is light on the feet and they look great with shorts.
12. NATO WATCH STRAP
Once summer approaches, the nato straps come out full force. I like to swap most of my leather and metal strapped watches with natos. Nato straps are made of a synthetic nylon fabric or soft, flexible leathers—they’re casual, but can still be dressed up. So you can wear it for a casual weekend or dress it up for a day at the office. They’re available in virtually any color and in a variety of patterns so that you can mix and match like a boss. If you’re a watch guy, then a nato strap is a perfect opportunity to break free from your more formal leather and metal straps.
Why I love nato straps:
- Interchangeability: Quickly swap them in and out of your watch in seconds, simply thread the band right through the bars on your watch without the need for tools
- Comfort: The nylon and leather straps are soft, yet durable
- Inexpensive: Crowne & Buckle or Cheapest Nato Straps has them for as low as $9 with discounts all the time
- Durability: Made of synthetic fibers, originally developed for military divers, will be sure to resist wear and tear
OUTFIT #4: SIMPLE SUMMERS
The fourth and final outfit is as simple as it gets. It’s simple smart casual with the polo up top, white jeans down low, suede penny loafers on the feet and matching suede belt with gold buckle. The gold buckle mirrors the trim on the minimalist watch—all about the details.
SHOP THIS LOOK—Shirt: Banana Republic | Jeans: Levi’s | Loafers: Jay Butler (alternative) | Belt: Jay Butler | Socks: Cooper & Jin (alternative 1), (alternative 2) | Watch: The Fifth Watches | Watch Strap: Cheapest Nato Straps | Bracelet: Taft
13. POLO SHIRT
The polo shirt makes my list of summer essentials. I’d opt for a luxury-touch cotton polo which is still 100% cotton, but has a silk like feel and appearance. These polos are highly comfortable and durable. Stick with your basics and opt for a polo in white, navy or gray. As for the fit, you want it to fit comfortably, not too baggy and not too tight, but just right. It should fit like a well fitting t-shirt would.
Why I love polo shirts:
I love polos for summer because it’s dressier than a t-shirt, but still casual. They work well under a blazer or by themselves with a nice pair of slim fit denim or chinos.
14. WHITE JEANS
We had white denim shorts on the list already, but I say white jeans belong as well. White jeans tend to be polarizing for men. Some say that guys should never wear white pants. I say to hell with that notion. And since it’s summer, I’m all for rocking white pants for as long as you can. They say you can’t wear white after Labor Day. Again, to each his own—I wear white whenever. At the end of the day it’s all about wearing what you like and being confident in whatever you choose to wear.
Why I love white jeans:
They’re bold and make a statement. They let other people know that you’re different and don’t always play by the rules. Wearing white pants shows that you are confident with your style.
15. CANVAS BELT
Recently, I dedicated an entire article to the canvas belt, so it’s no surprise that it makes my list of 17 men’s summer essentials worth picking up. Canvas belts make for a great summer accessory because their casual nature complements a myriad of summer looks. And of course summer is the season where casual reigns supreme.
16. SUEDE PENNY LOAFERS
The penny loafer is a classic warm weather shoe. Keeping with the keepin’ it casual summer theme, choose suede over leather. It’s more relaxed and the nappy texture adds a little visual interest to your simple summer uniforms. You can dress it up or down, and wear it for all types of occasions. Wear it to work, to the grocery store, to brunch or the bar, or simply to lounge around in.
Why I love suede penny loafers:
Suede penny loafers have become a summer staple in my book because they’re casual, comfortable, versatile and best of all I can wear them all summer long.
17. NO-SHOW SOCKS
I’m going with no-show socks, a stylish guys’ secret, to round out the list of 17 men’s summer essentials. Let’s face it, going barefoot in shoes for lengthy periods of time is straight up nasty. Sweaty feet lead to athlete’s foot and all kinds of disgusting. The solution are these easy slip on low-profile socks that have rubber grips behind the heel to stay in place. Granted mostly all no-show socks I wear end up slipping off my feet, I still think the positives outweighs the negatives.
For recommendations, I like Ninja Sox because they’re no frills, just the basic solid colors—heather gray, dark gray, black and white. Cooper & Jin are also a great option. I personally love their unique designs, patterns and colors. They’re a little more expensive, but worth the premium.
Why I love no-show socks:
They allow me to show off some ankle in the summer all the while keeping my feet clean and stink free. Win-win.
3 BONUS MEN’S SUMMER ESSENTIALS
Can’t end this with a few things that I always have with me in the summertime.
18. FACE & BODY DEODORIZING WIPES
If I don’t wash my face throughout the day, the natural oils always gets into my eyes and when that happens, it burns. When you don’t have the time or a clean cloth to wipe your face, these small face wipes can save the day. I recommend to keep a few on hand when you’re out and about this summer. Even better, pick up wipes that double for face & body, perfect for a quick refresher without having to actually wash up.
19. OIL ABSORBING SHEETS
I have extremely oily skin. In the summertime it’s even worse. These oil absorbing sheets help to keep my face, especially my forehead from shining bright like the summer sun. The Clean & Clear oil absorbing sheets have long been my go-to and are a godsend.
20. A GOOD BOOK
Nothing like some good summer reads. Fellow blogger, Kasia Jawarski of put together a great round-up of books recommended by bloggers and writers, myself included. Whether you’re into novels or self-help, there’s a little bit of something in there for everyone.
IN THE END
That’s all folks! Thanks for reading through this long list of men’s summer essentials worth picking up. Hope you enjoyed it and I’ll catch you on the next one!
All photos are courtesy of Morgan Brown.
Morgan’s a good friend of mine who just so happens to be getting into photography. He wanted to practice shooting and we both thought this would be a great opportunity for him to work on his skillz, all the while allowing me to produce some great content. Win-Win. Big shout out to Morgan for doing such an amazing job on his first shoot.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE SUMMER ESSENTIALS?
Let’s continue the discussion over in the Gentlemen Within Private Facebook Community.
Looking forward to seeing you in there.
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