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The Ultimate Guide: Men's Summer Fashion Essentials
Garrett Michael Carlson

Considering most of us have spent the majority of our time indoors for the past few months, it's hard to believe we're almost ready for summer. Summer: a time to emerge from our quarantine dens, see others at a socially and medically acceptable distance, and reveal that we haven't thought about our personal appearance all that much while cozy in our home.

Once we're given the go-ahead to head back outside, it's going to be sweltering heat, and it's essential to look your best for your first appearances back into society. Think of your return to social gatherings like the first day of school after a long vacation: except this time, you spent your entire break Zoom-chatting work meetings while not wearing pants. This summer is coming at a time of uncertainty, but one thing's for sure: you're going to want to read our men's summer fashion essentials guide.

Like our previous men's fashion guide, I reached out to some of the best men's fashion influencers in the world to give us the best tips to make sure you look good this summer.

Men's Summer Fashion Essentials for 2020

For summer 2020, I decided it was time to call on the experts to let me know what to buy for when we're allowed outside again. As always, they came through with some great advice and shopping tips to help make all of us look better this summer.

Men's summer fashion essentials come down to four things: shirts, shorts, shoes, and fit. Below, I'll break down everything you need to know about each, from which styles are in to how to wear them to how to avoid common male summer fashion faux pas. As per usual, I interviewed several men's fashion experts to get the facts right, and I only recommend eco-friendly brands to continue supporting sustainable fashion.

Shirt tip : Look like a movie star with a Henley

Andy from Ask Andy About Clothes suggests: "Henleys instead of tee shirts (they are really only undershirts!). Henley or Wallace Beery has a collarless ringneck that is split in front to allow two or more vertical buttons. Derived from crew racing shirts worn for the famous rowing regatta established in 1839 at Henley, England (southwest of London). Wallace Beery (1889-1949), a tough, ugly but easy-going, mostly comic actor often wore this type of shirt in his movies."


Beware of the shorts effect

I've never been much of a shorts guy. Between my bow legs and Sasquatch-Esque amounts of hair, I just didn't find myself wearing shorts in Western New York other than in the middle of the occasional heatwave. But when I moved to Virginia and the summer heat started in mid-March, I realized that I needed to buy some shorts. And like real shorts, because wearing athletic shorts out in public only works if you look like you just got back from the gym, or are going to the gym.

(In my case: it was neither.)

Thankfully Andy from Ask Andy About Clothes let me know everything I needed to know about shorts for our men's summer fashion guide. He warns of the "shorts effect." He explains: "Shorts provide a horizontal line at the knee that can make you look shorter. Great for tall guys, but short men should be aware of this effect." Finding the right shorts are integral to all men's summer fashion essentials list.

Andy made sure to provide a few simple rules for men to think about when purchasing shorts.

Shorts tip #1: Tall guys do well in boxer-style trunks

You want to avoid short shorts if you're a tall guy for one reason and one reason only: you don't want to look like you've got disproportionately long legs.

By wearing shorts that are just a little bit longer, and baggier, it makes your proportions seem more even. Andy suggests looking for trunks that make your proportions will look good, but you'll also stay comfortable.

Shorts tip #2: Shorter men look best in shorter trunks

Good news for those on the shorter side as short trunks is back in style. The shorter you are, the shorter your trunks can be, which is perfect because shorts are getting fashionably shorter by the season.

If you think about it, shorter-length shorts make a lot of sense. The longer the short, the smaller you'll look. And if they're way too long, it'll look like you're wearing an oversized pair of Jnco shorts and nobody wants that.

To avoid all that trouble and make sure that when you're buying shorts, you look for a length just above the knee.

Shorts tip #3: Thin men should steer clear of very short or very wide legs.

Again, it's all about proportions here. The shorter the short, the skinnier your leg will look.

Same if you go for those very wide leg options. Your best bet is to search for something that sits around the knee and feels comfortable. No matter what advice is given, make sure you're comfortable in the clothing you're wearing.

I'm also a big fan of the Johnston and Murphy shorts. Available in plenty of styles and colors, Johnston and Murphy are comfy, cozy, and always fashionable.

And while shorts are great for the beach, Andy reminds us: "I do not recommend shorts for wearing to dinner, or most public places." Keep shorts for casual strolls outside, beach adventures, and sporting events. But if you're going out to a nice dinner or bar, it's still a good idea to find a nice pair of chinos to complement the rest of your outfit.
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