Now that we’re in the summer months (finally!), I wanted to cover a few must-haves for a summer wardrobe that will have you looking awesomely stylish without breaking the bank. These are the perfect complements to the basic building blocks for a frugal, functional, and fashionable wardrobe outlined in the post The Clothes Every Guy Should Own.
If you had to buy one pair of sunglasses for the rest of your life, the Ray-ban New Wayfarer is the pair to get. They work for casual situations like bumming around the beach on weekends and formal events like weddings. For $80 through Amazon, the Tortiose can’t be beat.
Nothing trumps the fit and comfort of American Apparel T-shirts. There are plenty of options in the color department but the Poly-Cotton (50% Polyester, 50% Cotton) 3-Pack of Heather Blue, Heather Forest, and Heather Plum is great for summer. At American Apparel stores, or online, for $48.
3. Navy polo
Everyone should have a couple solid polo’s in their wardrobe. They look good tucked in with shorts or dressed up under a suit jacket. The Banana Republic Luxe-touch cotton polo is a reliable choice. Listed for $44.50 but can be had for about $30 most days with a 30%-35% off coupon code.
4. White OCBD
OCBD = Oxford Cloth Button Down. That refers to the fact that the collar buttons down, not the shirt! Although it’s not really a dress shirt, it works for casual days at the office and looks fantastic tucked into shorts with the sleeves rolled up (proper way to roll sleeves here). Under $25 from Old Navy, but may need to be tailored to bring in the sides and sleeves to skim the body, which should cost about $10.
5. Khaki shorts
Shorts should hit above the knee, so you probably want a 9″ or 10″ inseam. And avoid cargo, unless you’re pledging a fraternity. A pair of Khaki shorts, like these from J. Crew for $33, are the workhorse of the summer.
6. Colored chinos
I’m a big fan of the Docker’s Alpha Khaki, a go-anywhere do-anything chino. While you will be covered in the fall and winter with colors like Gravel and Dark Pebble, for the summer months mix in a fun color like Firebrush or Electric Blue. $35-$45 direct from Amazon.
7. Lightweight belt
With shorts and summer chinos, you don’t want a heavy leather belt that’s designed for jeans. A Four-in-One belt, $30 from L.L. Bean, does the duty of four belts for the price of one.
8. Knit tie and tie bar
It’s wedding season, and you’ll no doubt be required to put on a noose, err, tie. If you haven’t received the memo yet, nobody wears fat, lobster-bib sized ties anymore, outside mobsters. A navy knit tie, $15 from the Tie Bar, is a solid weight and at 2 3/4 inches it’s the perfect width that can be worn a thousand different ways. Throw in a 1 1/2 inch brushed silver tie bar, $15, and you’re set for years.
9. Boat shoes
A pair of classic boat shoes, in brown, only get better with age. $60 for Sperry Topsiders from Amazon is a good a deal as any. Don’t be one of those guys that wears them with visible socks though. Either go barefoot or if you have sweaty feet, get some no-show socks.
Sneakers are where it’s at in the summer! While a pair of black Chucks are good for 3 seasons, mix it up with a pair of natural colored sneakers that work with any outfit. PF Flyers Center Lo in Natural are $30. Again, no socks!
The total for all these items will run about $400. While that’s a decent chunk of everyday dollars, keep in mind that all these items are classic and timeless pieces, meaning they won’t go out of style overnight. Think of them as an investment to keep your summer wardrobe functional and fashionable for years.