If You Could Actually Summer 2020

The year started so well, didn’t it?  Or maybe our recent nostalgia is especially heartbreaking because we had so many plans, just to have them melt away like so many ice caps.  But even if the only sunshine you can get is on your way to pick up essentials, dust off and don those summer togs for a little thread therapy.  If nothing else, imagining yourself actually enjoying festival activities can transport you to warmer thoughts for a bit of safe escapism.  Need some inspiration?  Try the following…

Sell Yourself Shorts

It’s no secret I’m a fan of shorts — I grew up in Southern California, after all — but for some reason many guys are reluctant to wear them in public. Fortunately for you, there’s no better time than when no one will ever see you to try a pair, and there’s no better place to start than with good ol’ Birdwell Beach Britches. The nylon boardshorts are a mainstay in sandy scenes, but these classics in corduroy are perfect for lounging on your couch in comfort with your favorite tee, sweatshirt, or shaggy shetland.

Slip Into Some Easy Pants

Shorts aren’t for everyone; I get it. If that’s you, consider easy pants: a catch-all phrase for trousers with a comfortable fit, usually with an elastic or drawstring waist. Can’t decide between the two? Informale offers a pair with both, can be dressed up or down, and are hands-down my favorite for warmer weather.

Eidos jacket in linen/cotton, 18Waits polo shirt in double-faced linen/cotton gauze, Informale trousers in linen, Kilim and Shoes slippers

Greg and the crew at No Man Walks Alone has a good selection of easy pants as well, such as these indigo-dyed linen from Blue Blue Japan and these in cotton-silk seersucker from Kaptain Sunshine. Speaking of Greg…

Let Greg Dress You

Greg at No Man Walks Alone has done much of the thinking for us in his series of quarantine fits, covering everything from relaxed suiting to poolside gear.  What I like about his styling is that he isn’t pushing looks that would be out of touch in a casual environment.  If you’ve been wearing sweats all spring and are wondering how to dress up without looking “dressed up,” Greg gives you plenty of options to choose from.  Bonus: almost everything is now on sale.

Doppia cotton jacket, Stephan Schneider Formido pants, Monitaly vacation shirt, Greg’s own shoes
Camoshita shirt jacket, Stephen Schneider Formido pants, Niche Nelson mules
Tony Shirtmakers guayabera, Document striped shorts, De Bonne Facture sandals

Worldly Prints

An easy way to transport yourself to another place is with clothing.  Whereas espadrilles and Panama hats are a common choice, there is much that can be found elsewhere, such as the offerings from 18East.  Drawing from influences from Ireland to India and everywhere in between, designer Antonio Ciongoli’s clothes highlight unique prints, are heavy on texture, and can easily be paired with what you already have in your wardrobe.  

18East shirt in patchwork Kantha chambray and shorts in inside-out Bagru print. Terrycloth jacket from WMBrown/Rake/Armor Lux, huarache sandals from Palermo
Cotton seersucker kurta, nylon smock, linen shorts, all by 18East
Missed this drop? Dont sleep on it.

Camp it up

Camp collar shirts have been around since forever, but if you’ve held off for some reason, now is a good time to try one.  Really, any shirt where the collar opens up will do – a guayabera, a Cuban or Capri shirt, and so on.  These types of collars are interesting enough so that the shirt can be worn on its own –buttoned or not — and looks just as good layered under a jacket.

Eidos Ischia shirt, Sublime paper hat, Orlebar Brown shorts, Jacques Marie Mage Mollino sunglasses

Tony Sylvester, who has a great sense of style, a keen eye for small details, and also happens to be Content Manager at Timothy Everest, told me about the company’s offerings this season.

“Our best seller is always our Cuban collar open shirt,” he says, “but we recently added a one-piece collar for the summer.” Some of their Cuban collar shirts have long sleeves and come in a variety of fun colors like red seersucker and a dobby stripe, but the short sleeved one-piece collar, made in Japan using a heavier textured cloth, is especially striking in a bright white, and will go with practically everything.

The one-piece collar from Timothy Everest

Canoe Club has a few by Gitman Brothers Vintage (all on sale!) in madras and Ivy stripes, but for something different, try one in kalamkari, or better yet: a print inspired by Italian architect Gio Ponti.  The mid-century industrial patterns are a nice way to express a bit of fun if aloha or Americana isn’t quite your bag, and the linen fabric is perfect for the off-chance that you brave the heat.  Among the last to be made in the Pennsylvania factory, my favorite is this one in various shades of blue, available in all but the smallest size.

Casual Suits and Tees

A canvassed suit isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind when choosing a work-at-home fit, but if that’s how you roll, some fabrics are easier than others to dress down than others.  For example, Spier & MacKay has some unique suiting options this summer, such as emerald green linen and a more dusty gray-green seersucker

Jesse Burzminski in Spier and MacKay and the Anthology tee

To really take advantage of the inherent casualness of these fabrics, ditch the tie, and try pairing them with a tee.  This knit one from The Anthology is available in cream, mustard, and navy, and looks great dressed up or down, with or without a jacket.

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Peter Zottolo
Peter works in construction, but has an extensive collection of custom suits which he gets so that he can wear suits on the weekend. Even though he lives in San Francisco, he has never used the word "impact" as a verb. He writes about classic menswear and is one fedora away from being a complete dork.

7 thoughts on “If You Could Actually Summer 2020

  1. GREAT!!! article Peter…After reading through your post, I felt so relaxed that I slipped into a pair of stored away shorts, poured a large glass of Ovaltine with 5 fresh baked chocolate chip cookies and plopped down on my sofa to watch one of my favorite movies “Amadeus”. LOL
    I can’t speak for younger guys, however, perhaps some older guys are reluctant to wear shorts in public because of the declining condition of their legs over the years. For some of us, our legs resemble “bumper cars” at an amusement park that endured daily wear and tear or better, bumps and bruises. Although long socks are an option, they don’t meet the comfort standard, especially in Southern California.
    The older bare-legged wearer of shorts should be prepared for stares and perhaps be armed with an occasional anecdote to put the pensive starer at ease. Otherwise, confine our shorts wearing to home, “because no one knows what goes on behind closed doors”. LOL

    • My father – in his late 60s and one of the best dressed guys I know – still wears shorts today. But I hear you, Raleigh. My dad has been wearing them his entire life, but many guys either don’t have the habit or are self conscious about it. No need to worry, though; there are plenty of other options listed in the article. Have a great summer!

      • Yeah, I’ve never gotten the whole “NO SHORTS” thing for guys. My dad used to be that way, until he started wearing them, then he questioned why he ever felt that way. I’ve been wearing shorts in the summertime since I was a kid(in the 70’s and early 80’s, those super short jogging shorts with the white trim, lol), so I’ve never had an issue with them. I don’t know how guys can wear pants in the summertime, especially down here in Miami; it’s like my legs feel like they are being steam-cooked!

  2. Thank you for the tips! Question: how much linen is too much these days? I love linen and I have a bunch, but I don’t want to look like I have overdosed on it.

  3. Yes, because more advertorial puff pieces shilling the same old handful of forum sponsors is exactly what we need.

    • It’s true that some are affiliates, but some aren’t. No one gets kickback from listing affiliates, and if items are sent free of charge for review, such information would be stated as per our policy.

      All the items listed are because I’ve either bought them myself or am a fan of their aesthetic. As always though, whether or not they are actually needed is up to each individual.

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