When the heat hits, you need some Men’s Summer Fashion Essentials to continue looking your best. Certain times of year lend themselves more easily to great fashion than others. Unfortunately, summer is not a time of year that is particularly easy to dress for as a man.
Related: If you’re looking for clothing that’ll go great in cooler temps check out my Men’s Fall Fashion Essentials Guide
So you need some Men’s Summer Fashion Essentials to continue looking your best. Certain times of year lend themselves more easily to great fashion than others. Unfortunately, summer is not a time of year that is particularly easy to dress for as a man.
The problem is that most of us want to stay cool. And that means tees and shorts. And the issue with that is that a lot of guys simply can’t pull off shorts, while tees have the unfortunate habit of looking overly casual.
Related: If you’re looking for the ultimate 24-Piece capsule wardrobe check out my Capsule Wardrobe for Men
This combination results in a lot of guys running around looking like they’re a “man child.” You know the look: guys with baggy shirts and shorts that don’t look the least bit refined.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, a lot of contemporary styles lends itself perfectly to summer. It’s just a matter of adapting that to your own preferences and then running with it. Read on to find the top men’s summer fashion essentials, so you can look the part no matter the activity, even when the sun is ablazin’.
Men’s Summer Fashion Essentials FAQ
When you think of summer clothing you think of something that you’ll throw on when the temperatures get above 75 degrees. In this kind of heat, clothing needs to keep you cool. And it needs to be versatile enough for layering and moving from one environment to another. Let’s say you’re walking the boardwalk, but then what to head to the city. In our guide, you’ll see the usual items like chino shorts and white luxury sneakers. But we also throw in some classics like Oxford dress shirts and Derby shoes and show you how to work them into your summer wardrobe.
You can pretty much find summer clothing anywhere. But just like the other seasons, you want to make sure your clothes fit properly and you buy quality. At muted our motto is “Style doesn’t have to be loud to be cool.” So we definitely suggest sticking with the classic and you’ll get years of use out of your clothing. Some of our favorite shops for shirts and sneakers are J. Crew, Oliver Cabell, End Clothing, and Asket. For pants again J. Crew has great budget options, and you can go wrong with Asket, Farnol, or A Days March. For outerwear, we love A Days March for Shirt Jackets, Everlane for Harrington Jackets. The North Face for lightweight quilted jackets and vests for those cooler summer evenings.
If you want the best pricing for summer clothing you’ll want to start looking for sales by Aug 1st – Aug 15th. You can still get some great sales at the end of August, but by this time brands usually start introducing their Fall/Winter gear and pickings start to get slim.
I don’t think there is such a thing as the best summer colors. If you’re going to be wearing a plain t-shirt and a pair of shorts It’s not going to matter if they’re black or white. I always shoot for a minimal wardrobe so I like to stay with greys, blacks, blues, and olive, with some khaki thrown in. But this is just a general guideline and not season specific.
Men’s Summer Fashion Shirts
Summer is all about t-shirts, linen, and tank tops. It’s about casual, breezy style.
But of course, that’s not all it is about. And in fact, you’re going to want a number of different shirts to see you through the hotter months. Here are some of the fundamentals.
Men’s Oxford Shirt
The Oxford cloth button-down shirt is the ultimate men’s wardrobe essential. It is extremely versatile so you can wear them from shorts to suits. Our Best Oxfords for Men Guide not only shows you our top options but how to wear to look your best.
Just because the sun is out, that doesn’t mean you can’t wear a long-sleeve shirt! Luckily, the Oxford shirt can be adapted in warmer climates by simply rolling up the sleeves.
Oxford shirts feature a thicker basket-weave material when compared to a more formal finer weave dress shirt. This makes the shirt perfect for more casual settings and evening wear when trying to figure out the summer wardrobe.
When looking to develop your summer outfits I would start with a white, light blue, and a dark blue oxford. These three shirts will give a great selection for your men’s summer fashion attire.
Poplin Dress Shirt
There’s nothing better than a crisp white Poplin Dress Shirt for the summer months. Although usually thought of as a dress shirt you wear with suits. It can be dressed up or down for almost any occasion. Of course, you’re going most likely to wear with suits and the occasional blazer. But you can also roll up the sleeves and pair them with a nice pair of chino shorts.
1. J. Crew Slim-Fit Dress Shirt ($70)
2. Bonobos Wrinkle-Free Dress Shirt ($98)
3. Burberry Slim-Fit Poplin Shirt ($420)
4. Brooks Brothers Fitted Dress Shirt ($126)
Related: Best Poplin Dress Shirts for Men
I wear hoodies and sweatshirts year-round. Whether I’m coming from a workout or heading to the city for a weekend getaway. You’ll usually find one of these guys in my bag. Sweatshirts are also perfect for those summer evenings when the temps drop. Or when you get out of the swimming pool and need to take the chill off.
1. H&M Hooded Sweatshirt ($25)
2. Sunspel Men’s Cotton Loopback Hoodie ($195)
3. Todd Snyder Popover Hoodie by Todd Snyder ($138)
4. J.Crew Garment-Dyed French Terry Hoodie ($80)
Related: Best Hoodies for Men
Polos are ubiquitous when it comes to spring and summer fashion for men. They’ve been around for decades for many reasons. They go great with almost anything in the warmer seasons. And you can also wear them to dress down a suit.
I do have a few simple rules for Polos.
1. Don’t tuck them in, ever.
2. Get rid of them once they become stretched out or discolored.
3. Stay away from huge logos. Even if it’s horsey.
1. J.Crew Pique Cotton Polo ($40)
2. H&M Polo Shirt ($13)
3. Handvaerk Polo ($125)
4. Uniqlo Dry Pique Short Sleeve Polo Shirt ($20)
Related: Best Polo Shirts for Men
Chambray and denim shirts occasionally get confused. Many think of chambray as a lighter denim shirt which is partially true. Both shirts are made from cotton, but that’s pretty much where the similarities end. The chambray is made from a single thread plain weave. A plain weave uses a single colored thread along a single white thread.
On the other hand, a denim shirt uses double thread sewn in a diagonal pattern. This makes the fabric extremely tough and durable, but also much heavier than chambray.
During the summer when it’s hot out definitely go with light chambray. This shirt will go great with chinos or jeans.
Related: J. Crew Chambray Shirts
Nothing says summer like a bit of linen! Linen shirts are made from a loosely woven fabric that allows air circulate. Keep in mind that linen does wrinkle more than cotton. So it’s best to wear when super casual attire is to be expected. Think of Barbados. If you want to mitigate some of the wrinkles try a cotton and linen blend.
The plain t-shirt is one of the most versatile items in any wardrobe and definitely a men’s summer fashion essential. Tees don’t have to look scruffy. Look for a good brand, a quality material, and make sure it fits properly. Check out our Best Plain T-Shirts for Men Guide for a number of buying options and how to wear these great summer fashion essentials.
1. Uniqlo Men’s Supima Crew Neck Plain T-Shirt ($9.90)
2. H&M Crew Neck T-Shirt Regular Fit ($7)
3. Sunspel Men’s Class T-Shirt ($90)
4. . Crew Garment-Dyed Slub Cotton Crewneck T-Shirt ($27)
5. Asket The T-Shirt ($45)
Related: Best Plain T-Shirts for Men
Short-Sleeve Button Down
If you like the idea of the Oxford but don’t want to roll up the sleeves, why not go for a short-sleeve button-down? This will give you a more casual look and more options when it comes to materials, colors, and prints. One of my favorite places to buy short-sleeve button-downs is Bonobos. They have a huge selection and off multiple torso lengths to fit any body type.
Related: Bonobos Short-Sleeve Button Downs for Men
Men’s Summer Pants
Most of us just want to get our legs out in the summer, but that’s not always an option. Not only is this often liable to get you into trouble at work, but it’s also true that not every guy has legs that they’re terribly proud of!
You can’t wear shorts for the whole of summer, so here are some options.
Best Chinos for Men
Chino pants are incredibly versatile and highly worth owning in the summer. They’re more lightweight than jeans or most formal pants, but they can be worn in the place of either! Plus they look great with almost any shoe. These include white sneakers, chukkas, boat shoes, and loafers. Stay with standard colors like khaki, lt beige, navy, and dark green and you should be good to go. Check out our Best Chinos for Men Guide for more options and outfits.
1. Rag & Bone Fit 2 Classic Chino ($225)
2. J. Crew 484 Slim-Fit Chinos ($80)
3. Asket The Chino ($150)
4. Bonobos Stretched Washed Chinos ($98)
Related: Best Chinos for Men
Best Lightweight Jeans for Men
Jeans can be a little hot in summer, but a huge number of us will wear them a lot of the time anyway! It’s just extremely difficult to beat a good pair of jeans. Try a stretch fabric denim if you want something that will be comfier to wear during the hotter months. Our Best Jeans for Men Guide will show you some great jean options and provide you some great outfit options
1. J. Crew 484 Slim Fit Jeans ($118)
2. Uniqlo Slim Fit Jeans ($50)
3. Asket Raw Denim Jeans ($145)
4. Levis 512 Jeans ($90)
5. Rogue Territory Stanton 15oz ($245)
6. Rag & Bone Slim Fit 2 Jeans ($225)
Related: Best Jeans for Men
Men’s Summer Shorts
Now we’re talking! If you’re happy to get your legs out, then this will immediately make it feel like summer.
Here are some of the types of shorts that men should consider rocking.
Chino Shorts Men’s Summer Fashion Essentials
These shorts have made a big comeback in recent years and really led the way in making it okay for men to wear shorts again. Pair them with a polo, linen shirt, or a nice plain tee, and then accessories with aviators and boat shoes/loafers. Make sure that you’re wearing no show socks though! Also, A good pair of shorts should cut off just above the knee and should be loose enough that you can get two fingers between your thighs and the material when sitting down. For additional options and outfit ideas check out our Best Chino Shorts for Men Guide.
1. J. Crew Chino Shorts ($65)
2. Bonobos Chino Shorts ($78)
3. Uniqlo Men’s Chino Shorts ($30)
Related: Best Chino Shorts for Men
Sweat shorts are joggers that have been cut off just above the knee. These are great for not only your workouts but pair them with a nice oxford and a pair of white sneakers for a super casual but very cool look.
Men’s Summer Shoes
In the summer you want to try and avoid heavy shoes and limit the amount of leather in your wardrobe. You’re going to be hopping from the beach to the city to the pool so you’ll want versatile options. First up and one of my favorites is the Men’s Luxury White Sneakers. These are perfect for dressing up a pair of chinos or dressing down a suit.
White Luxury Sneakers
Our 22 Best Men’s White Sneaker Guide for Summer. Will show you the best options, and how to wear them to look great in any situation. Every guy should own a pair of crisp white sneakers. These go great with jeans, with shorts, and even a suit. And they help make you look up-to-date and sporty. Just avoid anything too ostentatious with crazy lines and details as this has a slightly adolescent feel to it.
1. Common Projects Achilles Low ($415)
2. Oliver Cabell Low 1 White Men’s ($188)
3. Beckett Simonon Reid Sneakers ($149)
4. Maison Margiela Off-White Replica Sneakers ($495)
Related: Best White Sneakers for Men
Boat shoes are extremely versatile throughout the year and can help make any outfit look effortlessly stylish – especially if you are in shorts, chinos, or linen pants. Pick a deep brown, or perhaps a dark grey. Check out our Best Boat Shoes Buying Guide for our favorite options.
Sandals are trying to make some kind of comeback. They still carry a bit of a bad rep, but if you can make them work for you, then that just makes them all the more impressive. Wear with shorts or linen and if you must wear them to a more formal event opting for black leather will go a long way.
1. Suicoke Moto-Cab Two Strap Slides ($168)
2. Allen Edmonds Sparrow Sandals ($178)
3. Ancient Greek Bios Leather Sandals ($114)
4. Grensen Chadwick Two-Strap Leather Slides ($152)
5. Allen Edmonds Oscar X Band Sandals ($125)
6. Allen Edmonds Thong Sandals ($125)
7. Birkenstock Arizona Soft Foot Bed Sandal ($135)
Related: Best Sandals for Men
Related: Best Slides for Men
As we saw with the Oxford shirt, you can’t get away from dressing smart just because it’s sunny. Derby shoes provide a stylish footwear option that gives just a little more room to breathe than the Oxford shoe and that has a slightly less formal appeal.
1. Trickers Woodstock Derbies ($519)
2. Grenson Leo Derby Shoes ($315)
3. Beckett Simonon Dunham Derby ($199)
4. Common Projects Derby Shine ($1295)
Related: Best Dress Shoes for Men
Men’s Summer Jackets
Best Lightweight Summer Jackets
Yes, even during the summer, you’re going to need a lightweight jacket. These are great to have on just in case it rains, for the cool nights, or to complete your outfit.
An overshirt is simply a shirt that you wear over the top of a tee shirt or tank top in the way that you might normally wear a jacket. Of course, this is a lot cooler for those hotter days and is also a great look. They’re affordable as an added bonus, BUT you can also turn a lot of other shirts – like a regular Chambray – into an overshirt.
Anoraks may sound unfortunate, but they don’t have to be uncool. In fact, parkas can be rather stylish. Look for something form-fitting that cinches in around the waist, and that uses a light material. A long parka is also a good idea, as it will cover your top layer and look a lot better as a result.
Summer Bomber Jacket
Summer bomber jackets have a great, old-school jock look to them. You can pair them with a simple white tee and jeans for a strong look, or wear them over your office attire on the way home. They offer good protection from winds and other elements, without getting too hot and sweaty.
Related: Best Lightweight Jackets for Men
Just because it’s summer, doesn’t mean you can completely discount the rain! And while you might not think a rain jacket is particularly a men’s “summer” fashion essential, the truth is that they also offer a nice lightweight fabric that goes great with a lot of summer clothes.
Related: Best Rain Jackets for Men
Our tip is to go for the athleisure look. That means something form-fitting that will look great on your way to the gym.
Summer Fashion Accessories
The biggest challenge when it comes to men’s summer fashion essentials is the lack of layering and the decreased number of fabrics that you can get away with wearing. This makes it harder to create interesting outfits with layers and different styles.
The solution? Accessories! Here are some men’s summer fashion essential accessories!
Sunglasses are great accessories to have all-year-round, but no men’s summer fashion wardrobe would be complete without a few pairs. Look for a great pair of aviators and you’ll find they can improve almost any outfit to a significant extent.
Some tips for picking sunglasses: don’t choose frames wider than your face. Avoid angular corners. And the more chiseled and square your features are, the rounder the glasses should be.
Related: Men’s Ray Ban’s on Amazon
A baseball cap can be thrown on at any point to instantly dress down and get some protection from the sun.
That said, don’t be afraid to try out some different hat styles too. Wearing a hat, in general, takes a little confidence, and that’s something that can really help you stand out in a good way.
Related: Varsity Headwear Summer Ball Caps
This is one of the immutable laws of fashion: the greater the risk, the greater the reward. Wear something that is usually a fashion no-no like sandals, and you might risk being a laughing stock. But if you get this right, then you’ll find that you exude confidence and a clear fashion-sense that others will be in awe of.
The woven belt is another example of a fairly bold fashion statement that can work wonders. It’s a great idea to try and match your belt to your shoes, but this can get pretty dull pretty fast if it’s all you ever do. A woven belt can come in a variety of fun colors and as long as these complement your outfit, then you’ll be doing well.
Try a woven belt with chinos, linen pants, or shorts and match that with boat shoes or loafers. You can also get this to work well with luxury sneakers.
Related: J. Crew Navy Woven Belt
EDC stands for “everyday carry.” In this context, it means something that you keep on your person at all times – like a loyal companion. Your EDC watch should, therefore, be versatile to match every outfit, as well as being one of your bigger investments in order to elevate the rest of the ensemble.
Choose something silver if you want the most versatile option. If you get another watch on top of that, you can then pick something with a leather strap and rose gold face.
Related: Best Watches for Men Under $300
Solid cologne does exactly what it says on the tin – this is a cologne that’s solid. In other words, you wear these by applying them with a stick, rather than spraying. This is perfect for quick trips and those weekend getaways when you want to pack light. We recommend this product not only for its convenience but also because they smell great.
No Show Socks
No show socks are also sometimes called “invisible socks.” I’ve already mentioned this several times throughout the article, but essentially, these are socks that stop below the ankle and therefore can’t be seen when worn with your sneakers, loafers, or boat shoes. This is useful not only when wearing shorts, but also when wearing linen pants or chinos with a gap showing your ankles. You absolutely need these for summer, and given how easy it is to lose socks, we recommend getting quite a few in fact
Related: Amazon Listing of No-Show Socks