Five Summer Wardrobe Staples for Men

Photography by Tiffani Jones • Hair by Joshua Vasquez • Makeup by Melissa Colondres Kinsey

Whether your summer plans include weekends by the lake or playing at the beach, you’ll likely encounter a bathing-suit conundrum this season. The solution to this fashion puzzler may be already hanging in your closet.

For your bathing-suit and boating looks this summer, think outside the box. Think unconventional. To achieve cool, unique, waterside looks, opt for classic staples paired with trendier pieces. It’s all about the styling.

Inspired by festival-chic looks similar to that of Coachella — the annual Indio, California, spring music festival that has gained as much global recognition for its fashion influence as it has for its musical lineup — our Lakelander style team put together some looks that will take you from the desert to the docks, from the sand to the streets.

Here are a few tips to keep you in style this summer, wherever your plans may take you.

Solid Oxford Button-Up

This classic wardrobe staple isn’t just for the office or evening dinner parties anymore. In fact, the one hanging in your closet could be paired with an on-trend summer short for a classic summertime look. Or, to channel summer music festival days, simply tie the Oxford around your waist while sporting a tank top. For long days on the lake or at the beach, wear an Oxford with tailored swim shorts so you can easily transition from daytime seashore fun to a relaxed evening at the seafood shack.

Printed Shorts

Printed shorts, from sailboats and whales to florals and stripes, are this season’s must have for every guy’s summer wardrobe. When paired with the basic tees and polos that have forced their way into your closet, printed shorts add interest to your summer style. If the sun and sand are making you feel adventurous, try your hand at the mixed pattern trend by pairing printed shorts with a striped shirt or a bold graphic tee. Remember, to successfully pull off this trend, one pattern must be bigger than the other.

Tailored Swim Shorts

What’s old is new again! The 1970s’ West Coast surf scene has made its way to 2014. Shorter, tailored swim shorts have become the new standard for waterside wear. As classic gentlemen’s silhouettes continue to influence everyday modern menswear, guys want to carry that polished look to the beach and give their kneecaps a little sunshine. Three keys to pulling off a slimmer swimsuit are:
a) Pick a length and fit that’s appropriate for your body type. You want to feel comfortable. (There is such a thing as too short for certain body types.)
b) On your way to or from the seashore, wear your swim shorts with a lightweight button-down or a classic polo to offset the length.
c) Confidence.

Tribal Prints and Stripes

Season after season, striped tees and tanks have helped men usher in the summer season with ease and minimal thought. Stylish men instinctively reach for the classic Ralph Lauren striped polo when getting ready for an evening under the summer sky. While this time-honored trend of the past continues to inspire today’s men’s fashion trends, 1990s’ native prints are also making a comeback. Navajo-inspired prints are just as easy to wear as nautical stripes and will add street cred to chinos and other classic American pieces.

Summer Sneakers

Sneakers aren’t just for the gym, school, or downtown errands anymore. Low-top canvas lace-ups have dominated the summer music festival scene for years and are now making a strong presence at summer cookouts and boat-side hangouts, giving us an alternative to loafers and boat shoes. Classic sneakers like Converse and Nike and street-wear staples like Vans are great replacements for flip flops and can add a touch of summer fun to your slacks and button-downs. To master the athletic look, choose a slim, minimal-soled sneaker in a cool summer color.