Essentials? Maybe not each and every one for each and every body. These pieces are more guidelines really. Guidelines that add up to a versatile, warm-weather friendly wardrobe. Ten items follow that are good to have one, if not multiples of on hand once the temperatures start to sniff 80 (or more). Assorted specific picks are added below as well. Enjoy the weather. (Pictured Above: Polo by UNIQLO, Cotton/Linen Pants by GAP, Linen Shoes by Tretorn, Lime by Citrus × latifolia.)
A decent pair of swim trunks
Now’s a good time to dig up your pair (or pairs) of swim trunks and take inventory. You still like them? Can you still fit in them? How’s the condition holding up? If you’re in the market, here’s what to look for. Go for a pair of swim shorts that’ll be a little bit shorter than what you normally wear in regular shorts, are either solid or have a basic pattern/some stripes, are mesh lined (control man… control), and don’t have an enormous, diaper-like elastic waistband. Most should feel comfortable in that setup. It’s basically a board-short/trunk hybrid. Boardshort looks on the exterior (but with shorter legs than knee-length boardshorts), plus the support and containment of a trunk.
White Canvas Sneakers
“But they get dirty so easily.” 1. So? 2. If they do, and it bugs you, throw them in the washing machine. Its been said before, but the Supergas offer an oddly high level of construction and durability for the price. Much more comfortable than the new re-issue of the Converse Jack Purcell. You don’t get the rubber cap toe or most classic American sneakers, but they’re comfortable right out of the box (for many or us).
A Barely there Sportcoat
- UNIQLO Light Cotton Jacket – $69.90
- J.C.F. Cotton/Linen Horiz. Stripe – $110.40 w/ EXTRA40
- Bonobos Unconstructed Wool Blazer in Grey (shown above) or Light Grey – $368
- Cole Haan Plaid Butterfly Lined Blazer – $149.97 FINAL w/ EXTRA40
The less lining the better when summer rolls around. And it seems like brands and retailers are starting to pick up on the fact that many of us prefer less lining. Combine an unlined (or mostly unlined) back and a breathable, natural fabric, and you’ve got a jacket that you can stay relatively cool in aside from the most extreme conditions. (NOTE: Careful with that Cole Haan option… the description is pretty sparse in terms of details, and it’s final sale.)
A rubber or canvas strap watch
- Seiko SKX009K1 $145 – $200 (sometimes sold or fulfilled by Amazon, sometimes not)
- Timex Weekender Chrono – $49.99 (just 30m water resistance though)
- Daniel Wellington Glasgow – $104.99
- Seiko 1st Generation or 2nd Generation Monster – $172 – $255
Summer is when most of us wear our leather band watches just a little less. Rubber or canvas absorbs less of the stank that can come with the activities of warm weather. Stainless steel obviously works here too, but with the bright sun, a stainless band can sometimes produce too much glare. Got a favorite watch that you wear all the time? Pick up a springbar tool and a NATO strap and try swapping out the leather strap for the summer. More watches that can take a summer beating over here.
Linen/Cotton blend or “Summer Weight” Chinos
- J. Crew Factory Sutton Summerweight Chino – $35.60 w/ EXTRA20 (above)
- GAP Linen/Cotton Khaki in Slim or Straight Fit – $59.95 (top of post)
Forget the stiff twill Dockers the sweaty sales managers are wearing on the golf course. Stick with pants that are specifically engineered to be lighter and breezier. Both the JCF Sutton Summerweight Chino, and the Linen/Cotton GAP pants offer almost-shorts-like levels of ventilation, while avoiding the translucence some lighter-weight pants can suffer from. Perfect for those that have shorts, but don’t necessarily love wearing shorts.
Suede Lace-ups or Loafers
- J. Crew Kenton Suede Bucks – $144.75 w/ SALETREAT ($198)
- 1901 Richmond Buck – $99.95
- Jack Erwin Abe Penny Loafer – $195.00
- Banana Republic Owen Suede Blucher – $118 ($148) (and always on sale)
Doesn’t have to be white bucks. Tan, brown, blue, even grey (grey suede shoes are incredibly versatile) can all work. They’ll go with jeans when it’s actually cool, and be perfect with lightweight cotton or linen pants when it heats up. A summer standard for decades upon decades.
A stable full of trim fitting, BREATHABLE polo shirts
- Uniqlo Button Down in Solid or Stripe – $24.90 (shown above & top of post)
- EXPRESS Chambray Placket No-Logo Signature Polos – $39.90 (but always on sale)
- Banana Republic Luxe-Tuoch Polo – $40.00 (but usually much less)
What you don’t want is a bath-towel-heavy, spongey, pique polo with some corporate logo affixed to the upper left chest. Look for slimmer fabrics, trimmer fits through the body and arms, and collars that are substantial enough (or, buttoned to the body of the shirt) that they won’t curl up as the day wears on. Stay tuned for the annual polopalooza in the not too distant future.
A pair of do-anything, tortoise shell sunglasses
They’re the center of the sunglasses universe. They look good with a suit. They look good with a t-shirt and shorts. They look good on just about everyone.
A lightweight wool or linen blend sweater
- Banana Republic Silk/Linen V-Neck – $55 – $69.50 (and always on sale)
- J. Crew Lightweight Italian Wool V or Crew Neck – $34.99 – $62.99 w/ SALETREAT
Unless you live in an area that just does. not. cool. off. in the summer, a lightweight sweater will come in handy quite often post sundown. Whether it’s post beach trip, out to dinner and on a patio with friends, or inside with all the windows open and a nice breeze kicks up, there’s plenty of opportunities to throw a super-light sweater on over a t-shirt and some off-white jeans or linen pants. And it looks strangely dressed up, yet totally relaxed at the same time.
Moisture absorbing powder
And not just powder for your feet either. Discreetly applying a little bit of body powder to certain areas can greatly aide in preventing what scientists have categorically labeled as “swamp crotch”. It’s like a dryer sheet for your crevasses. No sticking and clinging, plus a fresh smell.
Are you the type who doesn’t like summer because you’re inclined to overheat? Sometimes, you’re just gonna sweat. But you can mitigate some of that perspiration. Here are 11 sweat avoidance strategies for the hot times ahead.