Recently I was asked by a magazine editor about what are the five essentials for a man’s wardrobe (read as gentleman) during summer time. Well, that is not an easy question knowing how dudes prefer to dress down during our hot and extended summer time. They tend to go as relaxed as possible, ‘almost’ wearing a pair of baggy shorts, a tank top sized three times too large and well-used sandals.
Winter and fall seasons afford a man the option to wear layers, mix and match patterns and combine all sorts of fabrics – adding scarves, hats, and other ingredients to compliment the ensemble. But that luxury is one mostly missing during summertime.
You can read my suggestions in this month’s PHOENIX magazine, where I will also be your model (after many years off from modeling) but I was captive this time. But in a sneak peek, here are my top suggestions:
1) linen suit, preferably a light color
2) high-end, leather sandals
3) non-pleated shorts, in a different color from the linen suit, for some variety
4) Nice button down shirt with button cuffs, to roll-up
5) button down linen, cotton or light gabardine vest, for when it’s too hot for a jacket.
In this cover story you will see that summer time has so many type of looks that will allow you to look either, sharp, sexy, fun or simply at ease. Relaxed, as hot day summer times should be.
This first ensemble below is one that I find very simple to bring to the pool, to go to the beach or simply shuffle about a new-found beach town. It is reminiscent of the styles in Capri, Sorrento or Mikonos. The oversized pattern of the rolled-up linen Capri pants paired up with a neon color that repeats itself, speaks to the graphic lines on the belt and the vibrant frames of the sunglasses,. If you notice the straw hat and the sandals have the same ultra white tone of the circled pattern, which allows a diverse combination to have chemistry.
Repetitions of patterns on different scales, or with the same color of differing hues always play well together.
The look is sharp, fun, and young and shouts out, “Hello Beach!”
The simplicity of ONE powerful element on your body, diminishes the rest. Learn how to pick one bold pattern to be the focal point, and match it with a smaller proportion design, letting the other colors compliment either in color or shape.
A suggestion I give, is to learn what colors within the latest trends will suit you and your coloring. In my case and due to my olive skin, I tend to stay away from dark greens or too much red, even though I am a fan of color for males for any season and at any age. Even better if the use of color is embraced profusely and borders on abuse when needed. The brightness of the sun allows you to wear any color since it reflects back to the environment. Lately, the selections of “acid” or “sorbet” colors (as opposed to neon) and/or “earthy” colors have become very current and are available at most stores. And keep in mind that prints are always an expression of freedom and a way to take away the discipline of a garment or an ensemble.
The example below speaks a monochromatic lecture to the body but using prints on the simple T-shirt, adding a tribal belt with a bold pattern, paired with tropical linen shoes with a comfortable jute sole – reads strong yet stress-free.
Cottons and lightweight fabrics that allow your body to sweat and repel the sweat should be in your closet during summer time. Remember that they are also easy to wash and easy to travel with.
Tank-tops, t-shirts, shirts with cuts and cut-outs as well as open weave fabrics (or fabrics with texture) are a plus. The permeability of the fabric lets your body breath, and sweat is able to escape or be wicked by the fabric, giving you the feeling that you are cool and fresh. If you are too unsure to pair up an ensemble, or you think you cannot pull off a print, then use color to create a tasteful, relaxed palette which will let that seriousness flee and blend with the moment. Let the relaxed summer feeling come to you!
My suggestions when it comes to sandals is to always use a rubber base or some “track” bottom sandal when it comes to pools, grassy areas or even spa days. When the sun goes down or to hit the town in the evenings, sandals with leather soles are the only choice – and truly recommended. Make sure that your chosen sandals have straps wide enough to carry the lift of your weight and track your body weight (last thing you want is to walk on cobblestone streets, hot sidewalks or searing pool decks jumping on one foot when that measly sandal strap gives out). For me, leather sandals provide a degree of elegance and pizzazz to a man’s often standard attire. They present an elegant look, when worn with linen pants (no pleats) and a short sleeve linen or light cotton shirt. In addition, the leather sandals look great when combined with a pair of shorts and a light jacket , even with a pair of dark denim slacks and a crisp white button down shirt. (Yes, I said denim – the contrast is significantly stylish).
Shoe wear during summer should be always comfortable and fabricated from relaxed materials. Open toes are allowed (pedicure required), or shoes of breathable fabrics such as linen, or light leather, even tapestry fabric and mixed materials will work. Remember that rubber and plastic make your feet sweat in uncomfortable amounts, so washing your feet at the end of the day and the use of foot powder is highly recommended. You do not want to spend summer nights alone!
The use of a jacket is NOT an easy play during summer. Some locations around the world get really warm, and even a light jacket is too much to take. However, if you are indoors often, with air conditioning or if the evening cool off a bit, then a jacket is a serious, classic compliment. Once again, there are materials to choose from that are quite light and flexible for summer wear. I recently purchased a jacket with a very open linen weave in a new ultra light open cotton/silk blend that feels very light on my body and do not make me sweat (and I am telling you, that is an accomplishment in Phoenix). We live in the Arizona desert and 100 degrees Fahrenheit without a breeze is not unusual, so what to wear and how to look is simply a matter of creating a mix and match closet with the right materials, tendencies, colors and cuts – that will keep you cool at the same time.
The material is key, and so it is the cut. Remember that the closer to your body and the heavier the fabric, the warmer you will be. Pick materials that are light in weight, there are blends of silk and linen that bring some sheen to the fabric and feel soft and comfortable – and have some room for air to move.
See how this ensemble in the image below, the jacket, the sunglasses, the shorts and his belt have a color in common – while the relaxed shoes, plaid on plaid shorts and t-shirt have another color in common. Two colors combine and blend with ease.
The whole ensemble could easily be matched with a pair of comfortable white bucks or bright wingtips, a pair of sneakers or in this case, sandals. What works here is the irreverent aspect of the shoewear. Pool sandals and linen combination with formal wear brings the outfit to a relaxed level. Now, as I said, I wish the sandals were all leather, but I had to work with the rubber ones, but given the color of the flip-flops, all in all, I am happy with the look.
Dinner? Night out? Walk the town you are visiting to go to a swanky restaurant? Why not!
These series of images are a collaboration with a newfound photographer Mr. Louis G. Hernandez and a new model from COURTIER Talent Management, Mr. Garrett Ball at the prestigious and funky Hotel Valley-Ho in Scottsdale, Arizona.
I leave you with Garrett’s last look which I like to wear myself each summer over and over. My favorite linen shorts with a complementary striped pattern which works with all the rest of the ensemble pieces. That is how I get ready for “hot SUMMMMMER times…”
Well, gents, get your summer basics ready and enjoy the suns rays and the heat! Soon temperatures will drop and another mood (and outfit) will come to us. Enjoy the end of your summer, in style!
DISCLAIMER: Written perceptions, descriptions, and experiences condensed in this blog post – including styling and images are exclusive for the use of Oscar De las salas under www.whatwouldoscardo.com. Any use, copy, crop/paste action, or any similarity of this material is strictly prohibited unless authorized by http://www.whatwouldoscardo.com or by the artist/author. All Copyright laws for internet or media use are applicable. If you want, need or require any of this material for any reason please contact my agent, and we are happy to chat.
Always in style – Oscar.