It’s tempting to keep it casual when you’re on vacation. If your activities are centered around being outdoors and in, on, or around the water, t-shirts and swim trunks sort of become the default outfit.
Before you know it, you haven’t worn a collared shirt–or shorts with a non-elastic waistband–in days, unless it’s to check out a restaurant with a dress code.
But you don’t have to go full Castaway just because you’re in closer proximity to beach volleyballs than usual (sorry, Wilson). You can keep your look polished and still be ready for anything your itinerary has to offer. Plus there’s something nice about not having to rush back to your AirBnB to change for dinner, or pack a change of clothes in your bag and carry them around all day.
As we’ve noted before, the key to looking polished is how your clothes fit. The longer and baggier a shirt or pair of shorts, the more casual it reads. That’s why we’re featuring two pieces from Peter Manning, the brand that focuses exclusively on dressing guys 5’10” and under. Many manufacturers just make their shirts and shorts shorter, without playing with the proportions. Each Peter Manning garment is scaled and tailored so that it’s sized properly, not just shorter.
A Soft, Sean Connery-inspired Polo
It takes some gumption to walk around in Connery’s head-to-toe baby blue “Dr. No” ensemble, so we lifted the polo and left the rest on Crab Key. Unlike your typical business casual polo, this one’s made from soft Pima cotton instead of a pique knit. The Pima is softer and a little drapier, so it helps you stay cool in the heat.
We like the pointed collar and slightly thicker placket for visual interest, and the chest pocket is another nice detail that keeps this from being just a t-shirt with aspirations of grandeur. This is a size 3 polo in Peter Manning’s custom-made sizing, FYI.
Wear-Anywhere 7” Shorts
“Performance shorts” sound like they should be baggy, shapeless, and sport far too many pockets for their own good. Luckily, these tech shorts are slim, tailored, and possess exactly the right quantity of pockets, in the proper places. They’re also comfortable, provide UV protection, and dry quickly.
Just how quickly? I wore them all day, including a snorkeling excursion, and they were dry by the time we stepped off the boat to go to dinner. (They’re not technically swim trunks, so prolonged exposure to chlorine and/or salt water may cause them to fade faster than usual.) Also important to note, I took a nap on the front of the boat on the ride back to shore, and they didn’t get hot at all – impressive for black shorts.
Best Foot Forward
When it comes to shoes, you’ve got a bit of a choose-your-own-adventure:
The synthetic leather sandals are perfect for the beach, pool, or boating, and look better than a flip-flop. They’re also light and easy to pack. These espadrilles might just be the perfect summer shoe. They’re a little dressier than a sandal, but they’re still casual enough to wear with shorts and dry quickly. Nothing looks more polished in summer than some fresh white kicks. And these ocean-friendly low-tops are made from plastic that was removed from the ocean–the equivalent of seven bottles per pair.
Ready for Anything and Everything
This really is a Getup that will keep you looking good all day long, no matter what the day has in store. Part of that is the unexpected color combination–tan khaki shorts are the default in summer, but black shorts are perfectly acceptable (especially in a lightweight tech fabric).
Paired with the blue polo, the overall effect reads as dressier, without being too formal for your daytime activities. So after running around all day you can walk into a nicer bar or restaurant without losing your vacation vibe.
Special thanks to Peter Manning for teaming up with us on this post! If you've been trying to find that brand that fits your body shape just right, give them a try. Primer readers giving them a try for the first time can use code ‘primer1118' for 20% off!