The Freshest Summer Wardrobe

Your warm-weather basics needn't be so, well, basic. Find out how to rethink your closet essentials—and how to make those staples do the heavy-lifting this season. This is summer outfit planning made easy.

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When you're putting your summer outfit together, guys, you not only have to consider if it looks good, but you have to think about how it will make you feel, too. Is it breathable? Will you sweat right through it? And with fewer clothing and styling options to work with than the ladies, getting the right, summery wardrobe pieces to build the rest of your outfit on is crucial.

In an effort to streamline your summer ensembles, consider the basics—those key pieces of clothing that anchor your entire outfit, and consider them carefully. When you think you have nothing to wear, these simple, well-appointed essentials work as the focal point of your look. Bells and whistles not required.

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The Upgraded T-Shirt

When the sweltering heat is at an all-time high for the season—and a lightweight T-shirt is really all you can stand wearing—it's important to get it right. You don't want it to be too clingy because, remember, breathability is key. But you also need something that looks nice enough to carry you through the day.

Tech Bamboo Tee by Brandblack, $48,

When in doubt wear black, right? A rule that's harder to follow when the blazing sun is beating down, but this T-shirt made from bamboo fabric is super-lightweight and odor-resistant. It's a win-win.

Saturdays x Mr Porter Slash T-Shirt, $65,
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In most cases, a graphic printed T-shirt would hardly classify as a basic, but the faint pink coral tone on this white shirt is just subtle enough to pass. Throw on a pair of boardshorts and your beach outfit is sorted in 60 seconds flat.

Linen Tee, $24,

The little details on this breathable linen shirt (like the scalloped hem and rolled sleeves) makes a big difference when the T-shirt is the star of the show. We suggest buying this style in every color.

The Better Short-Sleeve

Warm-weather uniform options wouldn't be complete without a selection of short-sleeve button-downs and popovers. They're an indispensable addition to not only your work wardrobe, but to everything you might be doing after work, too. 

Melange Banded Collar Short-Sleeve Melrose Shirt by Vince, $175,
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Don't let yourself be restricted by the traditional collar. Regular readers of Sweet will know we're big proponents of the banded, or mandarin, collar.

Denim Short-Sleeve Popover Shirt by CPO, $29,

Paired with washed-denim shorts, this light pink popover with a front patch pocket will become your weekend standby.

Slim-Fit Linen Shirt by Meden, $265,
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Though airy linen shirts are incredibly comfortable and exactly what you want to be wearing in warm weather, they can run the risk of being just a little bit too flowy. Meden remedies the issue with this slimmer cut, which will look great with a simple pair of black trousers and boat shoes.

The Best Breathable Pants

It'll be hard at first, but giving your go-to pair of denim jeans a break this summer is the smartest wardrobe choice you can make. To keep cool, look into pants with a looser fit, which are not only more comfortable, but make for effortless, beat-the-heat styling. 

Barracks Pant, $198,
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If the very idea of loose and flowy pants make you think full-blown bohemian overload, consider a modern riff on a classic military style. These "Barracks" pants from Cadet are a lightweight cotton and flax blend which allows for maximum airflow. Style with your new mandarin-collared shirt and you'll have the best outfit on the beach bus.

Lagos Pants, $250,

Despite their uber-relaxed pajama look, Post-Imperial's Lagos Pants, which are hand-dyed in Nigeria, have the potential to be your favorite pair of the summer. The frayed hems might raise too many eyebrows at work, so wear them for every other summer occasion, perhaps with a minimal pair of leather crossover sandals.

The Drawstring Pant, $65,
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We highly suggest owning a pair of Everlane's signature slim pants: their drawstring fit is a more casual take on the style, for the most casual season of the year.

The Breeziest Outerwear

Summer outerwear is one of the biggest style challenges you'll face this season. The idea of layering on extra clothing in the stuffy heat feels like an automatic no, but on occasion, lightweight layers can work for more formal occasions—or as a stylish punctuation to an otherwise very simple outfit.

Lightweight Nylon MA-1 Bomber Jacket, $70,

The bomber jacket is the quintessential piece of clothing that springs to mind when you think of a light and super-cool (literally and figuratively) layer. If you're still on the quest for the best one, here it is.

Green O.d Layer Jacket by Manastash, $139,
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Button this ultra-light jacket at the top, wear a plain white T-shirt underneath, cap it off with a straightforward pair of khakis, and consider it a summer sartorial job well done.

Collarless V-Neck Shirt, $99,
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This collarless V-neck is designed to be layered. Wear it unbuttoned with your favorite striped tee and chinos. It's dressy enough for work but sensible enough to comfortably wear all day.

The Summer Shoes

Are you worried about what shoes to wear this summer? Are you concerned about venturing into dicey "mandal" territory? Don't be. There are plenty of other options that'll work seamlessly in your summer outfit rotation. 

Slip-Ons by Vayarta, $196,

These minimal and highly polished slip-ons are handmade in Mexico with 100% leather. And they're understated enough to work with just about everything.

The Wooster, $149,

You'll need a slip-on sneaker this summer, too. This one from Greats includes all the detailing you know and love, like the elastic side tabs, but every aspect is constructed with the extra attention you would expect from the Italian artisans who crafted them. The specially designed leather lining also means no socks are necessary.

Leather Sneakers, $60,

The summer standard shoe will always be the white sneaker. Don't try and over think the style, either. This is a case of classic is best.

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