Written by Ivan Yaskey
New season, same wardrobe, with a few updates and additions. So, as spring ends and we get ready for Summer 2018, what should be in your closet? Touching on the basics to the practical pieces and a few investments, we cover all of the essentials to get the hottest part of the year started on the right note.
It’s T-shirt season – no layering required. While we’ve all got a few in our wardrobes, some in better states than others, the question is, do you have a tee worthy of an unstructured blazer, if not a casual suit? Most would answer no. So, for the level of summertime versatility required, start with something neutral coloured, made out of a high-quality cotton blend, and with an ultra-soft handfeel. Of course, you can up your game with patterns, graphics, and even tech features, like moisture-wicking properties and fabric that won’t stretch out after a few washes.
There’s the practical – you’ve got to block out those UV rays. Then, there’s the style angle – something classic that firstly compliments your face shape and then looks sharp season after season. For most men, these two factors intersect in a pair of black or metallic wayfarers, Clubmasters, or aviators. Or, if you’re more athletically inclined, a fashion-to-function wraparound frame works, as well. But, if you view sunglasses as an investment piece, veer away from the ultra-trendy looks, and consider a higher-dollar, neutral style that’ll last you at least a few years.
Why chinos? Between the slimmer-cut Bermudas, unflattering cargoes, and this season’s ‘80s-inspired short-shorts, they’re nothing but neutral. And, that’s fine. These are like your jeans – meant to be a base piece, without much in the way of a statement. So, with a length that falls to the knee, a pleat-free flat-front silhouette, a regular, mid-rise cut, and lighter-weight cotton blend, chino shorts are that do-anything, go-anywhere pair that requires very little thought.
Less one particular style and more a seasonal essential, this piece is for all those evenings when the temperatures dip down into the 60s. Warm enough, definitely, but that tee isn’t enough on its own. So, depending upon your personal style, your options span from the purely practical wind breaker to the on-trend souvenir and varsity jackets. In between, the bomber’s a fairly flexible, if not long-standing wardrobe staple, and frankly, in casual situations, you can’t ever go wrong with a classic zip-up hoodie.
Away from those nights out, what happens when you go into the office? For 2018, designers started noticing linen’s centuries-long reputation as a breathable fabric, and revived it through tailored, slimmer, and generally more structured silhouettes. But, unless you’re prepared to spend the day in half-wrinkled trousers, a linen blazer’s your best bet for cooler yet nonetheless business-casual style, especially when paired with a short-sleeve button-down and chinos. As full linen, and even a cotton blend, lands squarely in investment territory, think about longevity: Navy blue or tan, single breasted and structured.
Camp Collar Shirts
Why this over your standard short-sleeve button-down? Because, by this point, it’s expected that you’d have a few varieties of the latter in your closet already: Something solid, maybe with a small pattern, and even chambray. The wider, double-notch collar, instead, complements this basic foundation with retro leisure appeal – think ‘70s disco shirts crossed with cruise wear and slimmed down. And, what could’ve been a flash-in-the-pan moment from last year returned for 2018, this time reviving the Hawaiian shirt print and making a strong case for vertical stripes. While Balmain’s Resort ’19 collection certainly makes a strong case for the Hawaiian print, you’re basically selecting a piece that screams you’re vacationing in Ibiza. Instead, for the casual-to-polished transition, think about those stripes or a lighter solid shade.
If one piece is starting to define Summer 2018, it’s the patterned polo. Unlike yesteryear’s golf shirts and far from Izod’s ‘80s prep style, the silhouette fuses three long-standing trends: The athletic fit of football shirts, the sharp colour-blocking common on rugby shirts, and a buttoned placket and collar for a hint of grown-up finesse. Resulting, you’ve got something in your closet that’s of a particular point in time, likely has longer potential attached, but never seems like your forcing a particular trend.
Chinos and Light-Wash Jeans
It’s not that black jeans are off limits. Rather, you know what happens when you wear heavier, darker-coloured materials: The fabric absorbs the heat, you sweat, and, with denim in the picture, you start to feel chafed. As an alternative, keep the same cut that you prefer throughout the year, and try a lighter, nearly white wash. Pure white, aside from easily showing dirt, gives off the effect of just returning from a Mediterranean cruise. If you’ve got to play around with colour, chinos’ lighter weight and cotton construction naturally make them more breathable, and unlike linen, they won’t crease as easily. As well, you’ve still got the option to wear navy, dark brown, or olive green, and not feel beads of sweat slowly forming on your legs.
Save the desert boots and oxfords for the office. Unless you’ll be inside with air conditioning all day, you need footwear that doesn’t require a pair of moisture-wicking socks underneath. Canvas keeps the air circulating, to a certain extent. So, what options do you have? For something basic, consider a pair of boat shoes – easily slipped on and still featuring a textured outsole. And, in more recent years, brands like Sperry have ventured into more skate- and athletic-influenced designs. On the other hand, Converse has perfected this construction, in both low- and high-top forms, and practically embodies summertime footwear. As well, while more athletic in nature, the skate shoe made a comeback last year as a casual style. And, frankly, between the extra padding and waffle treads, an Old Skool, Era, or Authentic silhouette from Vans brings that timeless appeal without awkwardly forcing a seemingly vintage trend.