There was a time when I found summer the very hardest season to shop for and dress in. The fall seemed so easy with the ability to layer and fusion different textures, sweaters and jackets, the topcoats and the boots. Oh, all the boots. But, there is a but. The minimalist in me has grown within as the years pass by and I’ve embraced the summer season as the very easiest to shop for and pull off. After all, the heat means less clothing and we all know less is more. Dieter Rams used to say that less is always better because extra non-essentials simply discredit the essentials. I am a firm believer in the classics and I truly believe eccentric menswear only makes you appear desperate and memorable in the very worst way. So here’s the thing with dressing for summer days and night; keep the materials light, the cuts slim (but not skinny) and the accessories cool and unique. What are the essentials? Let’s uncover them right now.
1| The 9″ short. I still find it amazing how many men struggle with the most important piece of clothing from May through September. Full leg jeans play a part all year long but the heat calls for shorts and you need to have the right pair. Too long and baggy and you look like you’re attending WakeFest 2001. Too short and tight and you look like a dancer from a Madonna video. Embrace the 9″ short fellas. Just above the knee to ensure a slim, sharp look but maintaining a masculine vibe. I like to take a few pairs of jeans every summer, snip them about an inch below the knee then roll them 3 times to get the look. Try: Frank & Oak
2| The Woven Belt. This is essential number one on our list to freshen up our accessory game this summer. All of us have purchased and worn a trillion leather belts in our life so the idea of changing it up is always refreshing. Stay with earth tones like army green or a stone to compliment any style of short in any shade. Or funk it up with a nautical stripe when wearing a lightweight chino and white tee. Try: Lord Wellington, Zara.
3| Plain White Sneakers. All day, any day baby. #3 on the list but the most paramount addition to your summer wardrobe. The first thing I tell any of my clients when I style them is to find a comfy pair of stark white sneaks because they simply go with EVERYTHING. Pair them with joggers, ripped denim or even a slim suit. Don’t be afraid to stick them in the wash every 2 weeks on a gentle rinse and replace the laces. Keeps them fresh and functional all summer long. Try: Adidas Stan Smith, Common Projects, Lacoste
4| The Weekender Bag: Summer is about weekend trips, overnight music festivals and out-of-town family visits or romantic getaways with that summer babe. This can be an accessory some men overlook because they think, “Hey a bag is a bag”. It is but you don’t wear a garbage watch or drive an ’92 Chevy Cavalier do you? A classic bag is one of those things that gets noticed and appreciated and you don’t even have to break the bank to get the right one. Have some extra cash? Go to Holt Renfrew and invest in a stunning one from Burberry or Yves Saint Laurent . Otherwise visit Zara, they have some of my favourite weekenders, most under $129.
5| Printed Button-Ups: Okay now we’re getting into “Andre 300 get noticed territory”. Sometimes summer can get a bit monotonous with it’s basics which means it’s fun every once in a while to funk it up a bit, but just a bit. Explore and enhance your personal style with a slim fitting shirt with a cuban collar or funky print. Pair it with a pair of basic chino shorts or slightly cropped pant and a fresh haircut. Don’t be afraid to tuck it in with a skinny belt and summer brogue. Try: Le Chateau, Topman
6| Unbutton that Sh*t: One of my favourite looks this summer is the open button-up. It looks great during the day and at night. Plaids look best during the day and minimal stripes and solids in the evening when out on the town. Pair these shirts with a very loose-fitting grey or white tee underneath or a neutral-tone tank top. Take it off and tie it around your waist when it gets hot, just makes the look even hotter, bro. Try: Frank & Oak, Convey
7| Loose-fit Lightweight Tees: Like the 9″ short, your tee game this summer needs to be reliable. The best way to get your rotation in sync is to buy in bulk. Hunt out the right fit and stock up on all of the colours available. Stay away from tight collars and don’t you dare even pick up a v-neck. Elect for a slightly wider, scoop collar to let your body breathe. Comfort is king and comfort mens confidence. Personally, I do love a scooped bottom t-shirt like many dudes so explore that cut. Stick to earthy tones (cream, green, stone) and load up on the whites and off-whites. Try: Feathers from Urban Outfitters, John Elliot + Co, H&M & I Love Ugly from Convey
8| The Summer Scent: This is always a hard one to touch on. Your scent is always a very personal choice but I do come across a lot of men who simply wear what they found on sale at Winners and have never given any thought as to if the scent suits them or is ideal for the particular season. You don’t have to be Tom Ford himself to ensure you’re wearing a cologne that is right for you. I think some men get turned off by the fact that a quality cologne can run up to $140 but trust me, it lasts a while and you’re wearing it EVERY day. The best part? It becomes a signature to you. I have one particular scent I’ve been wearing since high school and old friends of mine recognize immediately when we hang out. Find a scent that is subtle and versatile for day and night. Here are a few of my favourites: Nautica Voyage, YSL L’Hommes, Armani Code, Givenchy Gentlemen Only
9| Distressed denim: I’m talking denim that looks like you just fought a hungry lion. Go ripped, go torn, wear jeans that are literally missing pieces of them. I don’t think the ripped jean will ever go away but this summer the look is unstoppable. Stick with your light washes during the day and dip into the darker blues and blacks in the evening. #9b of this summer essential…embrace the white jean. Don’t go too tight and pair them with a loose-fit grey tee and navy or red ball cap…my all-time favourite look. Try: Zara, H&M, All Saints
10| Eyewear: Nothings says summer quite like bad-ass sunglasses. This summer, go different. Play around with translucent coloured, circular or heavily bridged frames. It’s always a cool look to wear an outfit of basics alongside a sharp watch and funky sunglasses. It allows the essential piece (the glasses) to be the essential piece. Try: Kaltenbock Eyewear, Banana Republic, TOMS
Summer is all about fun and feeling easy-breezy. Stick to the right wardrobe pieces to keep air-flow on high and make yourself unique and refined with those masculine accessories. Don’t try too hard, keep the fit and colours the most important aspects of your summer outfits and let your personality come through the canvas. And keep those sneakers white!
Happy summer gents.