Updated: June 10, 2020.
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 calls for. It encourages minimalism and doesn’t have to be boring. Let me show you some stylish examples.
Today’s post is a roundup of 20 men’s summer style essentials that I think are worth picking up. Feel free to watch the accompanying videos directly below for additional summer essentials.
MEN’S SUMMER FASHION 2020
Without further ado, here are 4 different looks that I’ve styled, incorporating the featured men’s summer essentials.
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. Summerweight Blazer
First up on this list of men’s summer essentials 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 Tee
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.
3. Lightweight Chinos
For this summer, I say go for a chino pant in a lighter shade, like the light olive green pair above. 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.
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. Light colored chinos is a definite on my list of men’s summer essentials.
Why I love the light 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. Summer Shades
One men’s summer essentials I never leave the house with during summer is a pair of reflective lens 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 BBQ DAYS
Look 2 is a good look for backyard summer BBQS, 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
Number 5 on my list of men’s summer essentials is the 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 of men’s summer essentials 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.
7. White Sneakers
Number 7 on my list of men’s summer essentials are the classic & trendy white sneakers. 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 men’s 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: LIFE’S A BEACH
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
Number 9 on my list of men’s summer essentials is the tropical shirt, aka the floral shirt. A tropical shirt will always be the statement piece of your summer getup or it should be. Floral 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 men’s summer 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.
11. Boat Shoes
The second pair of shoes on this list of men’s summer 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
Definitely a men’s summer essential, 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: KEEPING IT SIMPLE
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.
13. Polo Shirt
The polo shirt makes my list of men’s 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 Denim
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 denim:
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. 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. Penny loafers are surely an essential shoes for men.
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 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.
My favorite pairs of no show socks are as follows:
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.
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 Jaworski 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.
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!
Originally published 7.20.17.
All photos are courtesy of Morgan Brown.
Big shout out to my good friend Morgan for doing such an amazing job on his first shoot.
What are some of your favorite summer fashion 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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