One of our core Primer beliefs is that you don’t have to SPEND a million bucks to LOOK like a million bucks.
We will always feature menswear brands that make great, stylish, affordable clothing.
But “affordable” can be relative and it always has to be balanced by your use needs. It doesn’t make sense to spend $50 on a t-shirt if you’ll only wear it a couple times. It also doesn’t make sense to buy an $8 t-shirt if regular rotation causes it to lose shape and appearance.
The key is that the higher price should be justified. That means whatever you buy should be made well, so that it lasts longer. It should also be stylish rather than fashionable, so that you’ll be able to wear it for more than a season.
With that in mind, we’re serving up the perfect smart casual summer Getup, whether you’re on a strict budget or you have some extra “treat yo’ self!” cash kicking around in your bank account.
Think of it as a “choose your own adventure,” if you will.
Starting at the top, we’ve got our favorite $12 sunglasses, which are currently a whopping $12.67 on Amazon. If you like splashing out on a really nice pair, that’s cool. But sunglasses are so easy to lose, break, or forget that it makes sense to have a cheap backup pair stashed in your bag or your car.
I’m actually the perfect example of someone who will probably buy the more expensive option, since I’ve been rocking and loving the cheaper pair for so long, the style has proven itself essential in my regular wear. There’s no doubt the Persols are substantially nicer from both a materials and manufacture perspective, and with sunglasses that can be readily obvious while handling and wearing them.
A slim slub t-shirt in a pale silvery green (some say spearmint, some say sage) to keep you cool and comfortable. While still casual, the shirt’s knit is a nice detail — slub fabric is made with a yarn that varies in thickness, which adds dimension and texture vs. the smooth look of a regular t-shirt. Both shirts have a broken-in, vintage feel; the Goodthreads option is a pocket tee, and the Buck Mason tee has a curved hem, which gives it a slightly more tailored and detail-centric appearance.
Tailored shorts are the one piece that separate the well dressed men from the…well, everyone else, in summer. As we’ve discussed heavily before, with a limited number of items in an outfit in summer due to heat, each one plays a substantially greater role to the outfit as a whole. It is possible to have a killer, layered outfit in fall with a pair of jeans that are a little too baggy – with shorts in summer? Not as much flexibility.
A beat-the-heat linen/cotton blend like these two options adds noticeable dimension to what is essentially just a t-shirt and shorts look. Either style would pair perfectly with the t-shirt, as well as any polos or lightweight collared shirts you already have. The Nordstrom pair has some spandex in the blend, so they’ll stretch and move with you.
For accessories, you can keep it simple and classic with a full grain leather USA-made belt, or get just *thismuch* fancier with a hand-stitched pants-holder-upper. No wrong choices here, just options.
We’re big fans of dive watches for summer, and this Seiko (affectionately dubbed the “Pepsi dial” for its red and blue bezel) is a favorite across every corner of the internet — Amazon, reddit, you name it. You can keep the metal band, or swap it out for a NATO strap if you like that look. After all, it’s your wrist.
Sneakers are part of our summer uniform, but sometimes you want something that doesn’t involve laces. Slip-on suede loafers elevate the look a bit, while a rope-sole espadrille is the perfect shoe for running errands or just kicking back and enjoying a cold glass of something refreshing in the shade.
Your work bag probably will look a bit out of step with an outfit this casual, so we found some roomy, slouchy totes that will hold all your gear, look good, and last you until next summer (and beyond). Whether you’re lugging BBQ provisions from the grocery store or beach essentials from the car, a large open top tote does the trick.
Time to dive deeper: 15 Men’s Summer Style Essentials: MASSIVE Post!