When it comes to buying clothes, most men would like to be well-dressed but don’t necessarily care to invest tons of time into figuring out what to buy and how to update their wardrobe. The good news is, what you’re wearing is usually less important than how it fits you. If you’re looking to add a few new items to your closet this summer, there are a number of timeless options that are guaranteed to look good for years to come.
I’ve included options on the higher end of the price spectrum for men with a larger budget and an interest in investing in their wardrobe for the long term, but not everybody has that kind of budget. Just because you can’t justify spending $1,000 on a suit or $100 on a single polo shirt doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still be stylish and well-dressed. That’s why I’ve made sure to include a lower-priced option for more frugal shoppers as well.
1. Checkered button down
The button down is about as classic as men’s clothing gets, and a light-colored one will keep you cool for the summer. A check pattern keeps it just casual enough to be work on its own while still making sure you look good for a variety of occasions. You certainly can’t go wrong with Brooks Brothers’ button down, but for buyers on a budget, this Izod version will get the job done for a third of the price.
2. Solid-colored polo shirt
The polo shirt is another menswear classic, but not all polo shirts are created the same. Some looks are a little more “out there” than others, and while different polo shirts can work for different occasions, a solid-colored polo will never be the wrong choice. Buying this one from Barney’s New York will be an investment, but if this one from Old Navy makes a great budget-friendly option.
3. V-neck T-shirt
Not every occasion requires a collar, and for any time you’re hanging out around the house or in the back yard, you’re probably going to want to wear a T-shirt. A solid-colored T-shirt is always going to look good, and a basic V-neck is more flattering than a crew neck. For the ultimate V-neck, give this Vince Club shirt a look, but you can’t go wrong buying several of these from J. Crew Factory.
4. Khaki shorts
When the weather warms up, shorts are inevitable, and the best thing about a good pair of khaki shorts is that they go with nearly everything. You certainly don’t want to look like you’re wearing Daisy Dukes, but shorts that are excessively long or come with cargo pockets have been out of style for years. This pair from Polo Ralph Lauren is a great choice, but J. Crew sells a great pair for anyone looking to save a few bucks.
5. Yellow shorts
Especially in the summer, wearing bright colors every now and then can be a great way to embrace the season. Wearing more than one brightly-colored item of clothing at a time is excessive, and plaid shorts can be a little much, but a pair of yellow shorts every now and then is a great way to have a little fun. Brooks Brothers sells a perfect pair, or you could always go with Nautica’s version for less money.
6. Linen suit
Summer fashion is usually a little less formal, but every man still needs a good summer suit. Seersucker has seen quite a renaissance over the past few years, but despite its timeless nature, if you don’t already own one, a linen suit is probably the better first step. It will be cool and fashionable without making it look like you’re trying too hard to be trendy. Brooks Brothers will make you look great in this suit, and yet you don’t lose much style while saving money with this Lauren Ralph Lauren linen suit.
7. Bucks or derby shoes
Most men already own a pair of sneakers for exercising in and plenty of work-appropriate shoes, but what shoes go with a linen suit? Instead of wearing a pair of brown loafers, add a twist and buy a pair of derby shoes. You can go all-out on this pair from Church’s, but these Bass Buckinghams will do the job for less, and you can even get the Buckinghams in different colors if you so choose.
Much like men’s shorts, men’s swimsuits have gotten less wild in recent years and has instead returned to a more classic look. Anyone who’s still wearing the same baggy board shorts from several years ago is going to look out of place on the beach or at the pool. Update your look with swim trunks from Vineyard Vines, or perhaps go with this less expensive pair from J. Crew Factory.
9. Bow tie
Most men have plenty of work ties, but if you’re going to an event, like an outdoor wedding, that isn’t so formal, why wear a work tie? Instead, mix things up with a properly tied and tightened bow tie. It doesn’t necessarily have to be in a loud color to stand out, as this linen and silk Gucci tie proves. If that’s a little steep for you, give Tommy Hilfiger’s madras bow tie a look.
Protecting your eyes from the sun is important, but looking good while doing so is important as well. There are a few classic styles that work for nearly everybody, but the Ray-Ban Wayfarers were John F. Kennedy’s choice. Any pair of glasses fit for a Kennedy is worth a recommendation. If the Ray-Bans are a little pricey for you, these Neff Daily Shades do a decent impersonation for next to nothing.