It’s not hard to look good in summer if your wardrobe (and, let’s face it, your body) have the right ingredients. What is hard to do in summer is to be bothered to look good. There’s something somewhat unsatisfying about going out for a night on the town and being forced to wear shorts because the heat is so oppressive, but despite winter being the obvious fashion winner (who doesn’t love throwing on their favourite leather jacket or stylish trench?), you can still look cool in the sun.

Tops on Top

Wearing tank tops in summer is a great way to feel cooler (temperature-wise), show off your Adonis-like results from the gym, and get some sun on your guns. Don’t mistake summer, however, for an excuse to wear a wifebeater with sweat stains and a drooping hem. Now more than ever there are plenty of colorful, graphically-inspired tanks available everywhere from the likes of H&M and Topshop to high-end fashion retailers and boutiques. Just don’t be one of those douchebags wearing a few pieces of string disguised as a top. You know the ones, where the arm-hole could fit a Labrador and the front is so thin you can’t even pretend you’re trying to cover your nipples. You’re not fooling anybody and your need for attention will turn people off anywhere but the Jersey Shore.

As for t-shirts, all men should have a wide selection. You don’t want to be that person who only ever wears shirts with funny graphics on them (not to mention those sexist slogans that you think are so hilarious will get you nowhere), nor do you want to be the guy who only wears plain white tees like he’s a James Dean wannabe. Make your wardrobe a mixed selection of colorful and print-oriented designs for days when you’re feeling a bit bolder with a collection of blacks, whites and greys for when you want to be a little less conspicuous. Have at least one striped tee, a v-neck to show the tufts of chest hair you’re proud of, and a couple of great vintage designs for flavor. Scour eBay or any local markets and vintage stores. I once found an authentic camp counselor shirt from the ‘80s and it still gets retro attention and is a great conversation starter, too.

Who Wears Short Shorts

I’m not suggesting you wear hot pants like you’re about to go to the roller disco, but if your shorts are going below the knee then you are doing everything wrong. It is my firm belief that no item of men’s clothing should finish anywhere between the knee and the ankle. So throw away those capris! Shorts are called shorts for a reason. The ideal sweet spot for length is that area between the top of your kneecap and the thickest muscle of your thigh. Women can be leg-focused too, you know, and nothing is quite as libido-killing as dad-shorts. And don’t even think about cargo, okay? Nobody needs that many pockets. And if you do, it’s time to downsize.

Just like above, you should have a mix of brighter and simple, but if you’re not too sure about crazy patterns then leave them for swimming trunks. You can be as loud as you like wearing those at the beach. Retailers like Scotch & Soda and French Connection have low-key, but visually stimulating patterns that utilize stripes, polka dots, colour blocking and all do a good job of looking suave and show off some of your best assets. Ahem.

From Head to Toe

Shoes! If the weather is cool enough to throw on a pair of jeans or linen pants that you can put with a nice pair of shoes, then I say DO IT. Whether they’re leather or just your favourite pair of lightweight boots (don’t wear Timberlands!), summer doesn’t offer up too many opportunities to do it so take it while you can. Otherwise it’s imperative to have a few great pairs of stock shoes that look good with anything. Simple Vans and maybe a nice pair of slip-ons and boat shoes should do the trick. Unlike the rest of what you wear, people won’t really notice or care if you reuse the same pair a lot. It’s what they’re made for.

If you must wear flip-flops to anywhere but the beach or to go grocery shopping then make sure you’re not wearing them with socks, and be aware your feel will get dirty (especially if you live in New York City). That acquaintance you go home with occasionally won’t appreciate that. And don’t get snippy if you do wear them and someone steps on your toes. It’s kind of your own fault.

Eyes are the Windows to the Soul

How often do you hear people ask what sunglasses you are wearing? That is because most people don’t care or can’t tell the difference. They all do the same thing, it’s just that some can charge you triple figures for the privilege. Find a handsome pair that will fit any occasion and you’re set. Unless you spend time with horrible, judgmental friends then there is no reason to buy that $300 pair of Marc Jacobs sunglasses. There just isn’t. And if it does bother you, just lie. It’s impossible to tell the difference.