High Low: 10 Stylish Summer Investment Picks and Their Budget Alternatives

With great style, there are times to spend and times to save. When to do which is highly dependent on your personal situation, for the most part. That's why our High Low series aims to show you it's possible to dress well whether you're on a budget or ready to invest in higher quality options.

high low

Fine Knit Polo

Men don't have a lot of options when it comes to shirt styles, unfortunately. And one of them has been taken over by corporate uniforms and out-of-date Dads: The polo. To look more like Ryan Gosling than Jack Nicklaus, reach for a fine knit option instead of the classic piqué. There's a reason it's one of our summer essentials.



An almost even split composition of silk and cotton makes this designer polo lightweight and buttery soft.

zegna polo

hm polo



Easily pair a knit polo with dressier trousers for a summer look that is more comfortable than a full oxford.

Slim Linen Pants

Linen offers a lot: lightweight breathability, added texture, and an excuse to not worry about wrinkles. Read Primer's full guide to wearing linen.



These pants are 100% linen with a slim tapered fit.

cos linen pants

jcrew linen pants



Mixed with cotton for affordability, the style to value ratio can't be beat.

Nautical-Inspired Striped T-shirt

A striped t-shirt calls for sand and water. Add some visual interest to otherwise plain outfits.


Alex Mill

The Alex Mill brand was dreamt up on the idea of perfecting the simple t-shirt.

alex mill t shirt

amazon striped tshirt

2 / $12


100% cotton and a looser, modern fit makes this two-fer a steal.

French Terry Shorts

Summers have always been about comfort, and as adults, that will probably never be more true than this summer. These textured neutral-toned shorts are soft and comfortable and look a million times better than those decaying Nike basketball shorts from 10th grade.



4 way stretch and a streamlined fit provide a tailored fit without being restrictive.

lululemon shorts

old navy shorts


Old Navy

A herringbone pattern and contrasting waistband give these affordable shorts a retro Steve McQueen look on a budget.

Denim Chore Coat

Not a trucker jacket kind of guy? Don't give up on denim yet. This heritage-style chore coat is easy to style with whatever summer favorites you want to throw at it.


Todd Snyder

Made of Japanese indigo denim, this chore coat places an emphasis on the details.

denim chore coat

gap chore coat

$40 with PERK


Just like your favorite pair of jeans, denim jackets will wear and age for a look that can only be earned.

Camp Shorts

Featuring front pockets with external seams known as “porkchop pockets,” camp shorts give you something fresh to wear beyond your stable of flat front above-the-kneers.


Todd Snyder

These shorts have a subtle herringbone pattern for detail and with a 9.5″ inseam are great for our longer legged brethren.

todd snyder shorts

amazon shorts



Amazon's Goodthreads is a line of J.Crew-style pieces that are easy to try with 2 day Prime shipping and free returns.

Chambray Popover

What do you get when a dress shirt and a polo have a summer love-child? The popover.


Taylor Stitch

Part of a small batch run using deadstock fabrics, this soft summer workhorse comes from one our favorite men's brands.

taylor stitch popover

jcrew shirt



This popover features neppy yarns, creating unique flecks of white all over the shirt. The result? It looks like it cost a lot, lot more.

Deck Short

Just like the popover, the deck short is a chino short-elastic short hybrid. The result? Sort of a dressy looking swim trunk you can wear anywhere. Including but not limited to: Decks.


Buck Mason

Coming from one of our go-to LA-based brands, Buck Mason reinvents the swimsuit into an all day option.

deck short




With a smooth twill weave, these drawcord shorts are business on the bottom and party on top.

Hexagonal Sunglasses

The trouble with men's sunglasses? They're either super safe or wacky. The hexagonal frame offers a classic feel with a unique shape.



The iconic design on the temples of Persols is known as “the arrow.” Founder Giuseppe Ratti was inspired by ancient swords.


rayban hexagonal



These Ray-Ban's are offered in 3 sizes so you'll have a perfect fit no matter how big your noggin is.

Retro Camo T-shirt

More vintage army than heritage navy with your t-shirts? A retro camo t-shirt adds a pattern while still being subdued. Plus, when the neighbor down the street that doesn't respect social distancing starts coming your way, you can dodge him behind some bushes.


Todd Snyder + Champion

Todd Snyder's Champion colab is a take on vintage camo featuring a slight hue shift from traditional woodland camo.

todd snyder

old navy camo


Old Navy

Sure, you could pick one up at an Army Navy store, but Old Navy's option is more subdued than the typical surplus versions.

Love finding great style on a budget? You'll want to check out our full list of the best affordable men's style stores. Click here to see other editions of High Low!

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Andrew Snavely

Andrew founded Primer in 2008 and brings 15+ years of men's style expertise. Known for his practical, relatable approach to style and self-development, he has been a recognized speaker at conferences and has styled work for top brands. Off-duty, he loves photography & editing, and enjoys road trips with his dog, Leela. Raised in rural Pennsylvania, educated in DC, and living in LA for nearly 20 years, Andrew's diverse experiences shape the relatable and real-world advice that has helped millions through Primer. On Instagram: @andrewsnavely and @primermagazine.