Rolling out of bed and into a pair of swim trunks for the beach or pool, or slipping on shorts and a T for lollygagging at the coffee shop are fine — but not always fashionable — ways for a guy to dress during the summer. But adding just the right accessories can make you stand out, feel more put together and personalize your look.
Bright-colored belts, well-made watches and face-flattering sunglasses are just a few ways to set off your clothes before setting out for the long, lazy or crazy days of summer. And you can look just as good being lazy as you can being active or formal with little effort either way.
5. Canvas Belts
It’s just smart shopping when you find a great fitting pair of shorts or summer pants to pick up several pairs in different colors. But how can you make khaki, navy, black or white look less neutral? Adding a canvas belt in solid colors, stripes or patterns changes the look of the slacks or shorts and keeps them from stretching out and sliding down as the day and heat wear on and fabric starts to give.
Wearing the same few pairs is less obvious and feels like less of a redo when you can pair a bright canvas belt with olive green shorts and a white shirt one day and a neon orange or yellow belt the next. A belt in a more subtle color also breaks up bright clothes, so wearing a white one with bright red or bold-patterned shorts works, as well. Belts also make it easy to go from untucked and outdoor casual to tucked in and “cleaned up,” indoor ready without a full change of clothes.
4. A Gadget or Two
Maybe you check the time on your phone or read paper books and newsprint, but accessorizing with gadgets isn’t necessarily redundant. Picking a watch that reflects your lifestyle or draws attention for its fun functionality or design can pull your summer looks together. It’s also a way to give the impression that you aren’t tied to looking at your phone every few minutes while relaxing and soaking in the sunshine. It can be far easier to take furtive glances at a watch than a phone. Omega makes the official Olympics watch for 2012, a techy and popular option, and similar to the canvas belts, most any watch can have the band changed out to change looks for the summer or for different activities.
Other gadgets that aren’t exactly fashion accessories but complement summer looks and lifestyles nonetheless are eReaders and GPS navigators. Having a book at hand no matter where you land, even if on the water, and having navigation at the ready for aimless days accessorize your look by showing your readiness to relax or be an adventurer.
3. Open and Closed Shoes
Flip-flops are part of the unofficial wardrobe of summer, although many contend that men should never wear them. But choosing a leather sandal, classic buck or derby lace-up is an option for completing a summer shoe wardrobe. Rubber flip-flops are fine for running around at the pool or beach, but a pair of heavier and more stylish leather slip-ons is worth considering when wearing dressier shorts and pants. Rubber and canvas flip-flops also can be a color focus for accessorizing, so picking up a red, green or blue pair in addition to standard brown or black is another option.
Derbies and bucks, on the other hand, can last years and even decades, taking on a style and comfort as they soften and shape to your feet. Rules about white, brown and black shoes and when to wear which color used to be pretty rigid and seasonal, but most anything goes these days. White bucks or black derbies can flow from May through September interchangeably in most social and even work situations.
2. Sunglasses and Hats
Sunscreen is more of a must-wear and less of an accessory in the summer, but some options for protecting yourself from UV rays include hats and sunglasses. Not only can glasses keep your peepers from sun damage, but they also can frame your face with an interesting shape or add color to your wardrobe. Frames come in a range of colors and metals, and lenses in blue, orange or multi-toned hues add another dimension to a look.
Hats — from baseball caps to Panama straw toppers — are always in fashion, and wearing them on the beach and throughout the day, even indoors, has been increasingly popular as an old-school but new-style way to accessorize. Hats also help protect the scalp, top of ears and forehead, some prime locations for overdoing sun exposure. One note on hats, though: A sweat-stained cap with a sports-team logo can be less of an accessory and more of a lazy way to keep your hair under wraps, but a crisp, clean and solid-colored cap can make a look more polished rather than devil-may-care.
1. Quick-change Pieces
Often, men and women have a cliché when talking about the opposite sex and how appealing it is when an individual can go from the beach to the board room to the ballroom effortlessly. In the summertime, it’s very attractive to be versatile and open to opportunities to go from day to night without breaking for a full wardrobe change. Having a few pieces on hand, whether in the car or in a bag on the bike or boat can take your look from jet-ski to jetty restaurant in a few simple steps.
Adding a simple but clean polo or button down linen shirt over your day shorts, tucking it in and adding a canvas belt is one option, and going from flip-flops and shorts to white bucks and trousers is another. Flexibility and an openness to keep the summer days as long, varied and full as possible is one of the best and most essential accessories a man can wear.