Few stretches of the year put your wardrobe through the ringer like the summer months. But by investing in carbon copies of your best seasonal basics—tees, polos, Oxford-collar button-downs, and the like, all in lightweight, breathable fabrics—you can walk through the hottest months of the year with not only great style but also approximately zero stress. Herewith, we’ve cobbled together the perfect group of stylish items tailor-made for sweaty days—and affordable enough that you can cast them to the wind if you no longer need them. So buy two. Buy three. Or, for ironclad preparedness, buy six! And for more sage sartorial wisdom, check out the 30 Best Tips For Dressing Well In Yours 30s.
A|X Armani Exchange Pima Crewneck T-Shirt
2 for $50; buy now at armaniexchange.com
A crewneck that maintains a rounded shape wash after wash (after wash after wash) is a truly rare find. This luxe pima cotton shirt, from A|X Armani Exchange does so—and is soft as a cloud, too. Though if you’d prefer a colorless option, check out The Single White T-Shirt Every Guy Needs to Own.
J.Crew Piqué Classic Polo Shirt
$39.50; buy now at jcrew.com
It’s the go-to summer style staple for every guy: the polo. This one, from J. Crew, is fitted through the biceps, chest, and waist (hey, you have to show off that hard-earned beach body somehow), but not so tight as to leave you suffocated. To prepare for a shirt like this, brush up on the 40 Ways to Get A Great Beach Body.
Brooks Brothers Red Fleece Solid Oxford Sport Shirt
$49.50; buy now at brooksbrothers.com
Just because the mercury nears triple digits, that’s no excuse: you’ll invariably have to suit up at some point this summer. For those days, pick up a breathable button-down, like this feather-light Oxford from Brooks Brothers. The light blue will work with any suit-and-tie, and the fabric will keep you cool—A/C or not. And for more summer-appropriate dress-up, check out these 12 Must-Have New Wrinkle-Free Shirts.
Gap Washed Baseball Cap
$16; buy now at gap.com
Every guy needs two sun-blocking items in his repertoire: a killer pair of sunglasses, and a nice baseball cap. This muted-green option, from Gap, is innocuous without sacrificing style. And for more choice headwear, check out the 10 Classiest Summer Hat Options.
Express Perforated Low Top Sneakers
$59.50; buy now at express.com
All white? All right! These pristine beauties, from Express, are the ideal footwear option for conveying McQueen-caliber levels of cool and calculated. Just don’t wear them in the mud. You’ll ruin the facade.
Abercrombie & Fitch Archive Collection Classic Trunks
$48; buy now at abercrombie.com
If you want a single swimsuit that can handle it all, look no further than this lightweight navy number from Abercrombie & Fitch. Thanks to classic navy-and-white coloring and a flattering cut, it can handle laissez faire beachfront lounging and highfalutin rooftop pool bars with aplomb.
Nice Laundry Performance No Show Socks
6 for $49; buy now at nicelaundry.com
As The Cut opined, “the only body part that could possibly rival the erotic implications of a woman in a sundress [is] a man’s ankle, glimpsed peeking out from his pants.” In other words, fellas, when June swings around, you definitely want to go socks-free. But, of course, few things offend the olfactory nerves so much as a sweat-soaked sneaker. So get the best of both worlds by investing in a a drawer-full of invisible socks.
Mack Weldon 18-Hour Jersey Boxer Briefs
3 for $72; buy now at mackweldon.com
Few things are worse—especially during the dog days of summer—than when your undergarments, ahem, ride up. These soft and sumptuous brief, from Mack Weldon, however, are designed to never do that. Seriously. Any residual elementary school bullying trauma is cured—just like that. And for more on what goes best under it all, learn what the best underwear for your body type is.
Urban Outfitters Squared Matte Sunglasses
$18; buy now at urbanoutfitters.com
Whether misplaced, forgotten, shattered, or snapped, sunglasses may truly be summer’s most frequent casualty. And it seriously hurts when you break or lose a pair of investment-worthy Ray-Bans. Instead, invest in a veritable armada of affordable, classically colored (black) shades in a works-with-everything silhouette.
Gap 12″ Washwell Vintage Wash Shorts
$36; buy now at gap.com
For weekends, casual Fridays, and truly sweltering days, you’ll want a pair of shorts. Make sure they’re of the thigh-covering variety, though, like this slimming yet relaxed offering from Gap.
J.Crew 770 Straight-Fit Pant In Broken-In Chino
$68; buy now at jcrew.com
These all-purpose cotton chinos, from J. Crew, come in three distinct colors—including the faded navy here—that are sure to work with everything in your wardrobe. Pick up all three and make summer styling a mix-and-match game.
Zara Basic Jogging Pant
$29.90; buy now at zara.com
Whether you’re heading to brunch, the gym, or—and this is career-dependent, of course—the office, these days, the jogger pant can truly do it all. This summer, buy in bulk a basic, lightweight version, like Zara’s, which comes in six different colors.
Uniqlo Miracle Air Jeans
$39.90; buy now at uniqlo.com
Style stalwarts will tell you to hold off until Memorial Day to slap on a pair of white jeans. Don’t listen. If you want to wear white denim, wear white denim! Just make sure they’re in a flattering, slim cut—like Uniqlo’s basic offering—and, for balmy days, built with a touch of stretch, so your inevitable sweating doesn’t glue the denim to your legs.
Sperry Authentic Original Daytona Boat Shoe
$68.99; buy now at sperry.com
Unlike other round-the-year shoes, boat shoes come with a specific luxury: They’re comfortable right out of the box. And when it comes to boat shoes, you can’t go wrong with Sperry’s classic kicks, in all their suede-lined, yacht-worthy glory.
Uniqlo Airism Mesh Crewneck Short-Sleeve T-Shirt
$9.90; buy now at uniqlo.com
The cornerstone of your summer wardrobe is the simplest garment of them all: a plain white tee. For my money, Uniqlo’s option is your best bet. It’s lightweight, breathable, moisture-wicking, and odor-busting. And best of all, it’s less than ten bucks.
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