Don’t forget to check out our chino fit guide for more details!
We’ve talked about polo shirts in the past, and for good reason, they’re one of my favorite elevated casual items, especially for the Spring and Summer months. Here are our style tips and picks for the best men’s polos for 2018! Don’t forget to check out my picks below and for more info on fit, read our polo shirt fit guide.
When you’re talking about versatile, stylish footwear, there are few styles I like better than loafers. I love that they can be dressed up or dressed down, and work for pretty much every season. There are many varieties out there these days, from simple to complicated, but I’d like to focus on three primary types that deserve a place in your closet, plus a few that maybe don’t. Get ready, it’s loafer season for a reason.
A classic style that has stood the test of time, penny loafers are perhaps my favorite out of all the loafers. I love how versatile penny loafers are, they can be dressed up with a suit or dressed down with everything from jeans and a buttondown to chinos and a polo shirt. Brown and black are the two ideal colors here. For a secondary choice, a classic burgundy or oxblood color is an excellent option.
Originally designed for, you guessed it, driving, I love this style because they’re super comfortable and work well in a variety of casual situations. They come in a few variations but I prefer the versions with a nubbed rubber sole or a full rubber sole for the look and comfort. For colors, the basics like brown and tan are great of course, but I also recommend versions in grey or navy for a pop of color.
Another shoe that evolved from function – the no-slip rubber sole and lightweight design worked well on boats – boat shoes have become a classic warm-weather staple. I like them best with chinos and shorts for a relaxed alternative to sneakers. On the color front, go with blue, brown and grey for maximum wearability.
Alternative Loafer Styles
There are a few other loafer styles out there but I don’t generally recommend them because they can lean too specific in their look and style.
This dandy look is popular with a lot of style bloggers out there, and while I don’t hate them, I just don’t think they’re ideal for most men from a style standpoint. Just like your clothes, your shoes should be streamlined, and while the tassels can give them somewhat of a “distinguished” look, I find them to be distracting, like an untucked pair of shoelaces.
Another type with a dandyish vibe that has become popular again (you may know them as Gucci’s iconic loafer), I am not a fan of them at all. They immediately age you up (and not in a good way), and I always expect a lawyer or Wall Street guy who is trying way, way too hard to wear these.
Venetian Loafers or Smoking Loafers
Both of these have a similar, streamlined shape and a formal look. Venetian loafers are unadorned and usually in leather while smoking loafers are typically velvet and have embroidery or embellishments on top of the shoe. I always view these as super formal, and that’s why I really only recommend wearing the patent leather or velvet versions with a tuxedo if you want to add some flair. I don’t recommend more casual versions in regular leather because it’s a style that’s quite outdated and doesn’t have the versatility I like.
So no matter what you’re wearing, casual or formal, get out there and wear some loafers this season, your feet (and style) will thank you.
No matter where you live, you’re probably battling some heat right about now. You’re probably also wondering how the hell you’re going to look put-together and stylish in this type of weather. Don’t worry though, we’re here to help! We’ve got a batch of easy tips that are not only going to have you looking cool, but staying cool as well.
Start by opting for breathable, lightweight fabrics like cotton (for chinos, t-shirts, and polos) and linen and linen blends (for suits, shirting, and shorts) for hot weather dressing. One warning though, we don’t usually recommend most linen pants as they’re often too thin and sheer (yikes!).
Keep It Covered
A lightweight straw hat is a great way to keep the sun and heat off and give your head and face some protection. Don’t forget to check out my summer essentials e-book for more on what styles we think are best!
As you can probably imagine, dark colors are going to absorb the heat and sun and make you hot, so we highly recommend going with light colors like tan, white, light grey, and pastels if you’re looking for a pop of color. For more color tips, check out our color guide for details.
Lightweight, low profile footwear is a stylish way to keep your cool in hot weather. I recommend canvas or fabric slip-ons like Toms or Soludos and loafers like driving mocs or boat shoes as casual and dressier options. Unless you’re at or going to some body of water, you can skip the sandals. Real talk, no one wants to see your toes, pedicure or not.
Believe it or not, the right layers, like a linen shirt or polo w/ a linen or lightweight cotton jacket, will actually keep you cooler. There’s a reason nomadic Bedouins in desert countries wear light colors and layers, it actually traps cool air and lets it flow around you. Stylish Italians are also experts at utilizing this method of layering breathable fabrics to look put-together and stay comfortable.
As I’ve shown you, there’s a right and wrong way to wear shorts, and as long as they fit properly, letting your legs breath can help keep you cool and have you looking casually stylish. One caveat though, shorts don’t transition well from day to night, so default to a lightweight pair of chinos if you’re needing to wear something for the whole day and on into the evening.
With the right choices, looking stylish and staying cool are both well within your reach this season, now don’t forget some sunscreen!
Here are some of my favorite picks for warm weather style; for more, make sure to check out the video!
Linen and Cotton Suits/Blazers:
Linen and Cotton Blend Pants:
By now you probably have a stack of summer events you’ve RSVP’d to, from weddings to engagement parties, so now tough part begins, attempting to understanding that dress code and figuring out what the hell to wear. Unfortunately, we live in an age where dress codes have become more and more confusing and unnecessarily complex. But the good news is, I’m here to help you figure it all out and, more importantly, help you out with what to wear.
To begin unraveling what the hell “Beachy Vacation Casual Chic” or “Game Of Thrones-inspired forest semi-formal” really means, it’s important to think about the event and put it in context with four main types of dress code: black tie, formal, semi-formal, and casual. Once you do that, it’s as simple as can be. Stick to the four following examples and dress accordingly.
The Invite Says: Black Tie
The most formal code for obvious reasons, a black tie dress code means tuxedo only.
What To Wear: A tuxedo
This isn’t the place for a suit so embrace your James Bond moment. There are lots of tuxedo options these days, from navy to grey, but if you’re unsure, stick to the classic: black tux, white shirt, black bow tie, and white pocket square you can’t go wrong and provided everything fits properly, you’re going to look amazing.
The Invite Says: Black Tie Optional
Also Known As: Formal
This is the most common type of dress code for evening weddings and, similarly, formal events. You’ll see some people in tuxes but suits will be most common.
What To Wear: A tuxedo or dark suit
By all means, be the best-dressed man in the room and wear a tuxedo, I encourage it. But, a classic dark-colored suit, like charcoal or midnight navy, works equally well. Keep your shirt choice simple and go with white and keep the color in your tie to a minimum. Ideal combos include a white shirt with a simple black, silver, burgundy, or navy tie. I don’t really recommend a ton of patterns or colors here as it’s not really the place.
The Invite Says: Cocktail Attire, Evening Attire or Something with Formal
Also Known As: Semi-Formal
The most common type of dress code, especially for weddings and events in the afternoon or evening.
What To Wear: A suit or blazer with a tie
Depending on the time of the event (day or night) most suit and tie combinations will leave you looking like a sharp-dressed man. Charcoal, Navy, and patterned suits all work for this dress code. If it’s an afternoon or daytime event and outdoors, you could also wear a lightweight cotton suit or blazer combination, especially if it’s going to be hot. Feel free to add a pop of color or print as a personal touch if you’re feeling adventurous. A tie isn’t mandatory, but I always recommend one for events like this.
The Invite Says: Anything with “Resort”, “Beach”, “Garden Party”
Also Known As: Casual
Sure, it’s the broadest category but also potentially the biggest minefield. The most important consideration here is location and time of day. Daytime and beach events are pretty much an open field but I always say ‘dress to impress”.
What To Wear: Dressy Casual Shirts and Pants
Simple cotton, chambray, or linen shirts, chinos, and cotton dress pants work best. For a stylish touch, I recommend throwing on a silk knit tie. For an event that’s slightly more formal, say summer weddings and engagement parties or an evening event, dress up your chinos and shirt with a lightweight cotton or wool blazer and throw on a pair of loafers. You can also feel comfortable wearing all types of colors and patterns here, provided they’re appropriate for the event.
Don’t forget to check out my favorite picks from The Tie Bar to get you ready for wedding season!
Don’t forget to check out all my picks from the video!
Now that you’ve got your wedding style game plan set to go, all that’s left is to brush up on a few dance moves.
Whether you live in a place with year-round warm weather or are gearing up for the Spring and Summer season, having a well-fitting shorts rotation is key to a well-rounded casual wardrobe. Despite their casualness, the effort you put into how your shorts look and fit shouldn’t be an afterthought. My Fit Guide is something I always refer back to for a reason, and just like you consider the fit, look, and fabrics of your shirts and pants, your shorts arsenal should get the same type of consideration.
Get The Right Fit
Your shorts should be as well-fitting as your favorite pair of chinos or denim, and that starts with getting the right length and taper. The sweet spot for short length is somewhere between the top of your knee up to a max of 2” above your knee, regardless of body type. This length is going to be both versatile and flattering, no matter what else you’re wearing. Ultimately you should look for shorts with a 7”-10” inseam, depending on where you are comfortable wearing them.
Avoid overly baggy or tight shorts by choosing a pair that gives you the right taper. A quick and easy way to find the right fit is, you should be able to pinch 1-2” on either side of your thigh. Much more or less and you’re headed into the shorts danger zone.
Find The Right Style
Now that you’ve got a good idea what the right fit is for you, it’s time to focus on finding the right styles. Here are a few quick tips to ensure you’re setting yourself up for shorts success.
Stick To Flat Front Styles
Pleats are a no-go here, they’re only going to age you and make you look like you’ve got a pooch.
Cotton Is King
In terms of material, you want to choose cotton or cotton blends like chino cloth, seersucker, or linen, they’re the most versatile and easy to care for.
Go With Classic Colors
In the color department, for your primary shorts you want to go with solid colors like blue, grey, and khaki because they’re timeless and will always look sharp. Once you’ve got the basics on lock, you can always mix in a plaid or a fun pattern, but just know that wearing these on a day-to-day basis, outside of a fun event, can read a little boyish. Use your discretion here but I recommend sticking with solids to start.
My Shorts Picks
The warm weather will be here before you know it so it’s time to start thinking about your Spring and Summer wardrobe options. With that in mind, here are my Top 3 Favorite Outfits for Spring & Summer 2018. All of these looks are super versatile and are going to have you looking stylish no matter what’s on your calendar. Don’t forget to check out all the info below for each outfit’s details.
For this first outfit, I started with a lightweight blue suit that’s great for summer and paired it with a fun Hawaiian print shirt to add some extra personality. You could also try a floral or botanical print shirt, and it’s a great way to give your suit a whole new vibe. I then added a tipped pocket square that picks up some of the colors in the shirt and finished the look with penny loafers and a cool pair of blue framed sunglasses. For a relaxed suiting look like this, I also like having a slightly shorter hem on the pants to show a bit of ankle.
Designer Suit: Brooks Brothers Suit
Floral Shirt: J. Crew Shirt
Shirt Alternative: Topman Shirt
Pocket Square: The Tie Bar Pocket Square
Designer Loafers: Prada Loafers
Budget-Friendly Loafers: Johnston & Murphy Loafers
Sunglasses: Warby Parker Sunglasses
For the second look, I went with an everyday monochromatic look that’s relaxed but still well put-together. This light blue shirt in linen very lightweight and breathable and I paired it with another summer staple, a crisp pair of chinos. I finished the look with grey suede driving loafers to bring it all together.
Shirt: Uniqlo Linen Shirt
Chinos: J.Crew Chinos
Alternative: Uniqlo Chinos
Loafer Alternative in Brown: Tod’s Suede Driving Moc Loafers
Budget-Friendly Loafer Options: Zappos
Sunglasses: Warby Parker Sunglasses
For the third and final look, I went with another “elevated casual’ outfit that’s great for both the week or weekend. I started with a lightweight, unlined blazer and paired it with a relaxed mandarin collar button up and some green chinos for a splash of color. As I mentioned in my color matching article, I love pairing blues and greens together and the crisp white shirt is the perfect complement. I finish it with some fresh white sneakers to add a relaxed vibe.
Blazer: Brooks Brothers Blazer
Budget-Friendly Blazer: H&M Blazer
Button Up Shirt: Topman Shirt
Chinos: J.Crew Chinos
Chinos Alternative: Uniqlo Chinos
Sneakers: P.F. Flyers Sneakers
Sunglasses: Tom Ford Sunglasses
First, a quick word on formality. While it’s not a hard and fast rule, in a basic sense, the bigger or bolder the pattern, the less formal the shirt is. For most of you dressing casually or in business casual, you’re home free, most patterns will definitely work. But, for some of you guys that work in more formal office environments or if you’re dressing up for a fancy wedding or evening event, keep in mind that the more subtle patterns will be much more appropriate. So now that we’ve got that established, let’s get some patterns in your life.
Stripes can come in all manner of widths, from wide (sometimes known as Bengal stripes), to medium (pencil stripe), to thin (pinstripes) and since they tend to lean a bit more conservative, they’re also an easy place to start if you’re new to the game.
How Best To Wear Striped Shirts
As a general rule, the wider the stripe, the bolder the statement, and just like matching colors, the bolder the choice, the more simply you should approach the rest of your look. For casual and business casual looks, a simple pair of chinos or dark denim is a great option. I also like stripes when worn with solid-colored or textured suiting and under a solid v-neck sweater with dress pants, denim, or chinos.
The world of checks is a wide one, but there’s no better way to add some instant personality to your shirt arsenal than with a few carefully chosen checked shirts. There are many different options available, but, in my opinion, the three with the most versatility and style are windowpane, tattersall, and gingham. Both windowpane and tattersall feature types of graph patterns that can range in size and thickness and gingham goes one step further with a bolder, thicker check pattern that often combines a base color like white and one other color.
How Best To Wear Checked Shirts
As with stripes, the level of statement can vary, but my go-to rule remains, keep the rest of your look simple. Dark-colored denim, chinos, and dress pants are the ticket, and if you’re going to dress them up, I recommend solid-colored suits and solid or subtle ties. On the tie front, I think geometrically patterned ties can look a bit too matchy-matchy with checked shirts, so be wary. Protip: for a less formal tie option, try a knit tie in a solid, complementing color. The texture and slightly less formal nature of a knit tie work really well with blazers, chinos, and denim for a dressy hybrid that’s great for business casual or a dressed-down Friday.
Geometric and Floral Prints
Now more popular than ever, print shirts are a great way to add a cool, modern edge to your casual looks and even suiting and dress clothes. Small-scale geometric prints are a great place to start if you want to keep it subtle but, I definitely recommend trying a bolder floral print too, it’s an easy, fun way to add a bit of stylish personality to your vibe.
How Best To Wear Geometric and Floral Prints
The printed shirt is all about letting the shirt do the talking, so I highly recommend denim or dark chinos in navy, tan or gray, especially if you’re going with a floral print, and finish with sneakers or loafers (I like driving mocs). Don’t be afraid to dress up a printed shirt too, pair it with a slim dark suit and some penny loafers or dressy leather sneakers for formal-but-not-stuffy settings like a cocktail party, fun summer wedding or night out. For a black belt-level move, try rocking the air tie (top button buttoned, no tie).
When you’re talking plaid shirts, usually the pattern involves multiple colors and lines/boxes and the more things happening with the pattern (color, width, etc) the better suited the plaid will be to casual dressing. Be warned, though, it’s a slippery slope to full lumberjack hipster, so chop firewood at your own risk!
How Best To Wear Plaids
Ultimately these patterns are busy, and I recommend keeping plaids casual and subtle, so try them with denim, chinos, and shorts in solid colors, and finish them with shoes like sneakers or chukka boots. You can always “turn down the volume” of a plaid by layering it under a solid-colored sweater, lightweight jacket or pairing it with a dark-colored blazer in dressier situations.
Now that you’ve got some know-how and a few tips in your pocket, have confidence and make these patterns work for you! Your shirt rotation (and your wardrobe in general) are about to get an upgrade.