Spring is here and summer is just around the corner.
This means it’s time to break out the shorts, sunnies, hit the pool, visit the beach, the golf course, or the backyard grill. Whatever you choose to do to cure your cabin fever, you need to look good doing it. The choices are remarkably simple, but as every true gentlemen knows: the devil is in the details.
Staple pieces are versatile and can be worn in a multitude of ways for various occasions. Consider them as essential to your wardrobe as the hangers themselves.
The following will serve as a reference for any guy looking to breathe some style into their spring closet. Armed with this knowledge, you will be able to tackle your respective BBQ’s, beach parties, and bon fires while looking sharp every time.
Assisting me in my cultivation of style is Topher Yandell - Brand Ambassador to Alexander McQueen at Saks Fifth Avenue and personal stylist.
#1: The Lightweight Blazer
This is not only a staple piece but should also fall under another ’S’ category: statement piece. Yandell cautions: “By statement, I don't mean something loud and obnoxious. Let it be something worth giving a second look, but nothing too flashy.”
Material is huge. Flat and thick cloth with a sheen doesn't cut it in the warmer months. You want to aim for material with body that can handle the various levels of heat and humidity, but also be casual enough to throw on over a polo. I call this the crumple factor. The crumple factor--well, it matters. It’s the perfect mix of smooth, yet somewhat spongy, fabric that looks formal, yet lived in. Linen is perfect for conveying the stylish nonchalance required to rock the unstructured summer blazer. Always opt for the golden ratio of 60/40 linen cotton split. A piece from Etro, while on the top of the price range, is a perfect fit.
#2: The High Quality Piqué Polo
It is hard--and I mean exceptionally hard--not to look good in a well-fitted polo. It’s great for any warm weather occasion and brings out the casually polished look essential to any spring/summer wardrobe. Piqué is a term used to describe the weaving style of the fabric, which is characterized by the raised parallel cords of material. It's known for its breathability and moisture-wicking capabilities. It was first brought to the polo format by René Lacoste--the tennis player. He innovated the piqué fabric into the short-sleeved shirt worn by English polo players at the time. “Grab a few colors and pair them with just about anything in your closet. The newest collaboration between J.Crew and Lacoste have some great ones. They aren't that pricey either," said Yandell.
#3 Tortoise Shell Sunnies
Sunglasses are a must. Tortoise shell refers to the pattern engrained in the resin used to make the frames. It is usually a mixture of black and brown tones, but there are other varieties available if you want to get creative. “It’s the depth of the pattern and the overall look of the frames that I think brings out the colors in the rest of your outfit. Everyone has black frames. Be unique. People will notice,” said Yandell. I’d recommend the classic styles: RayBan’s Wayfarers or Clubmasters and Persol’s timeless foldable Aviator are just a few to mention.
#4 The Chino Short
We’ve all heard of the saying “sun's out guns out.” Allow me to introduce another variation into your speech repertoire: “skies out, thighs out.” There is no reason you should be hiding your legs behind hot and steamy denim. Go for a lightweight chino material that can be dressed up if need be, but still has that lived-in casual look, and the breathability to boot. As far as your inseam goes, it’s your comfort that supersedes here. Just don’t let it fall below the knee. For you more adventurous gents, may I suggest a pair of American flag Chubbies?
#5 The Driving Moccasin
Originally worn by those fortunate enough to buy shoes just for driving their expensive Italian sports cars, the driving moccasin has made its mark as a staple in men's wardrobes since the '60s when they first became popular. Adopt them into your repertoire and pair these bad boys with just about anything. Tod’s and Car Shoe are your best bets for the classic moc.