May 17, 2010

Quick Rant: Men's Summertime Fashion

I've decided not to go on any dates this summer. Why, you ask? Here you go: I don't know how to go on a date without looking like a complete idiot. When the hot humid months of summer arrive, I can't leave the house in the daytime without looking like a total fashion disaster.

In the winter months, I'm golden. I can whip together a classy jeans/jacket/scarf combo that will leave you thinking I fell right out of a photo spread on The Sartorialist. But once the weather forecast starts heading into the 80s, I'm done for.

I realize the catalogs you get in the mail show dudes looking oh-so-comfortable and classy wearing boat shoes and lounging on the decks of yachts, but those are male models. For the rest of us normal-looking dudes, we just look ridiculous.

You see, in the summer I have only four options:
  • Sacrifice comfort for fashion and wear jeans and my normal clothes, which is doable during an evening date. However, if the sun is still out, you're going to be looking at one hot sweaty mess of a date. Gross. Nobody wants a sweaty date.

  • Go for comfort and wear shorts and a t-shirt, which inevitably makes me look like a bearded 15-year-old skater kid version of myself.

  • Try to class it up and wear shorts and a button-up or a polo, which makes me look like some weird fast-forward awkward dad version of myself.

  • Go for total comfort and wear no pants at all. This is just...awkward.
As you can see, none of these options are appealing.

Then, of course, there's the issue of shorts. I never know what's "cool." Do I go above the knee or below the knee? Cargo or plain? Khaki or grey? IT'S ALL SO OVERWHELMING. Don't even get me started on socks.

So, basically, I'm going into hiding. If you need me, I'll be enjoying the cool hum of my apartment's air conditioner and wearing whatever I want. I'll see you when the leaves start changing color; I'll be the one wearing pants.


Blue Light J said...

This is so freaking true, it's scary. Sock choices are bullshit. But I like low-top sneakers. But some occasions are not flip flop appropriate. But most affordable sandals suck (at least on skinny guys).

And to be entirely honest, a part of me misses jean shorts. That part of me can't wait to be 70 and not give a shit.

citygal said...

Men should only wear flip-flops in the winter, with socks, around their apartment only. They're like man-slippers. Man toes in the summertime are nasty. Stick to low-cut socks and some sneaks (preferably not ones you've had since 2001.)

Helen said...

no socks, no cargo, try to get shorts to hit at the middle of the knee or slightly above the knee and in general any solid color will work. Chunky shoes look good on no one, and please- no designer names across your chest.

Anonymous said...

Summer clothing can suck it. I like structure and humility in my clothing.
Luckily I have my shining personality to save me from the myriad fashion mistakes I make on a daily basis. Or at least that's what my mom tells me.

Anonymous said...

seersucker suit

al said...

if you don't have access to a seersucker as the above mentioned (which is clearly the best idea), you can make it happen in the summer.

Solution: sacrifice comfort. Yep. Sorry, but have you seen what women wear in the WINTER? Spaghetti straps and heels aren't exactly Nannook Approved. It's our turn. If you have any doubt, look who was wearing flannel suits, day and night, year-round, EVERYONE WHO WAS COOL, EVER. Unless you're next to a body of water (authentic or synthetic) your pants should be long, and your shoes whole.

I'm not sayin' you have to go all Don Draper flannel suit - but light denim jeans and a summer weight polo isn't that much hotter than a t-shirt and shorts, and you'll feel comfortable in the finer establishments that you want to take your date.

BradyDale said...

Men should not wear shorts. Period. Nor should they wear any pants with cinched wastes. Also fact.

I've gotten thru plenty of summers in jeans and a t-shirt, and I'm def a man who sweats. Get some lightweight jeans or torn up jeans.

Or go buy some really lightweight chinos or khakis. Just not the real preppy ones. The Gap is good for chinos that don't look like they belong on a yacht (honestly -- I know, it's fun to hate The Gap, but they are good for this stuff).

But yes... no on shorts. Word.

dani said...

message from 20something female: shorts ARE good. not shants, japris, jorts whatever you want to call any of the above. distressed khaki cargo shorts are always good. so are dickies 15". not 13"! maybe thats just the type of dude attire i enjoy, but i rarely see it go awry. solid colors are def a go, and even a solid tshirt. you cant mess that up! a band tshirt would suffice, so would a short sleeve polo shirt from old navy. its simple! socks must be low or no show and black is a never fail, as long as you arent wearing white shoes. why would you be wearing white shoes anyways? white shoes are never good on dudes! theres my 2 cents. over and out.

my ex would still wear jeans during the summer. and a baseball hat. and a white undershirt. everyday. ugh.

Anna said...

Dani, I mostly agree with you except about one thing: I LOVE when guys wear crisp, tight, dark jeans with white sneakers. It does it for me.

Kay said...

Dunno if American Eagle is your style, Phil, but they have good casual (but not too casual) shorts, short-sleeve button-up shirts and polos...a classic combo that can't go wrong and is definitely not an "awkward dad" look! See also: Aeropostale, Gap, Fossil and Old Navy. And STEER CLEAR of high top sneaks, denim shorts and Jesus sandals. Flip-flops for daytime and the beach, regular kicks for anytime. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

just go to and study. THEN walk yourself to salvation army, put your knowledge to the test and voila

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

White shoes, when executed appropriately, can be badass

Anonymouse said...

I don't understand this post at all.

Jeans come in weights, ranging from a light summer 12oz cotton/linen blend to super heavy 21oz Japanese jean geek material.

Find a light weight jean, some low cut Macbeths or PF Flyers, an American Apparel t-shirt and live your life, seriously...

Anonymous said...

shorts are good! and how bout no socks! Slide on some vans and away you go. Thumbs up!

Justin Howe said...

There could also be a financial obstacle in buying these fancy weighted clothes. All I really own is my "We Sail the Seas Searching for Booty" t-shirt and some sweats I found at the Y.

loey said...

not every girl wears open-toed shoes and bare-legged minis all 12 months of the year. i think people should cut dudes a break. if long pants are too hot, wear shorts.

shorts should be

1. mid length: if they're too long you look like a man-baby. if they're too short it's usually tmi.

2. loose enough so your package doesn't appear in relief, but not so loose your underwear sticks out



Phil said...

Best advice in this thread:

"live your life"

Anonymous said...

Why such slavish devotion to denim? Jean do not equal being cool - just a guarantee you will look like everyone else. If you are old enough to realize looking like your former skater kid self it not desirable, then you are too old for shorts. Do yourself a favor and switch to linen pants. Linen is more lightweight than the heavy cotton of cargo shorts. Pants make you look like a grown up, which you are, whether you like it or not.

Anonymous said...

What about meeting women online from the air-conditioned comfort of your apartment. Rather than tip-toeing uncertainly through the fashion world, just learn to cook. It's much more science and common-sense-related than getting dressed and you don't have to worry about colour or fit. Plus, there are far more cookbooks than there are fashion advice sources for men.

The only down-side to this is that not all women are willing to meet a lone man in his apartment for the first time so that he can cook for her. Fortunately, I have a solution:

dress for style and drive to meet her somewhere air-conditioned for the first time. Bonus: she might not anticipate that the venue will be as cold, so she will stick closer to you for warmth.

Anonymous said...

Oh Phil, how I wish you lived in Philly. I could take you shopping so you could enjoy summer! You deserve shorts that are comfortable but also look good on a dude, they exist. I hate sitting in the AC, so when we're sitting around listening to your awesome CD collection together, I want you to be cool with the nice feeling of summer heat + ceiling fan that is made possible by shorts.

Brennan Rempel said...

winter is for men's fashion and summer is for women's fashion. Hairy legs and gross feet never rarely good.

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