Spring is here, and it’s not only time to rethink your wardrobe for the warmer months, it’s time to improve upon the staples you’ve always worn.
Jeans – White Out
White denim = instant style. Why do we get so excited over albino tigers and lions? Because they’re rare. And you will be, too, because most guys don’t have the stones to wear white. But you aren’t “most guys.” So go for the slimmest pair your build will allow. (Don’t go super skinny unless you’re 20 and built like Miley Cyrus.) And ditch the socks. People don’t want to see your feet, but they will embrace your ankles. (If you worry about sweaty feet, go invisible.) No, you don’t have to totally abandon your darker denims as the temperatures rise, but this occasional flash of white across the bland modern landscape will inspire “oohs” and “aahs” from the tourists. So go get ‘em, tiger.
Sneakers – Less is More
Keep your kicks simple and muted this season. Especially when wearing light-colored pants or shorts, your sneakers should be noticeably low-key. Too often, guys look like they have a couple of neon bricks strapped to their feet. That's fine if you’re a teenager, but any dude above the drinking age should eschew the cartoon footwear in favor of classic, streamlined styles. I like canvas because it breathes better, it’s washable, and it tends to be less expensive, so if you burn through a pair over the summer, you won’t feel as guilty replacing them in the fall. All white is a class move, and navy will match whatever you put on.
T-Shirt – Thin Is In
My band toured last December, and when we got to NYC, I realized I had left my garment bag with my gig clothes at home. I had time before our show, so I ventured down 5th Avenue to pay for my amateur move (literally). At H&M, I grabbed a black velvet blazer and perhaps the greatest T-shirt I've ever owned. Most T-shirts for dudes are too thick and have no discernible fit. And if you wear one under a blazer, you tend to scream, “LOOK, I’M WEARING A T-SHIRT UNDER A BLAZER!” This Holy Grail of T-shirts solves all that. It’s soft and paper-thin, and hangs on me like a breeze. Not baggy and not too clingy, it looks great under said blazer, a cardigan, or all by itself. Mine has a ‘soft V-neck’ (not one of those creepy new man-cleavage V’s), and it also comes in a ‘soft crew neck.’ It also comes in pink. I’m just going to leave that there.
Polo – Test A Pattern
Go from 'country club stiff' to 'Beat Club cool' with a patterned polo. The polo has been a men’s wardrobe staple for decades, but things started to go awry in the ‘70s and ‘80s when it became synonymous with “obnoxious-frat-boy-preppie.” In the '90s, the polo was sort of de rigeur for “casual-friday-office-cubicle-drone-sometimes-with-white-T-shirt-underneath.” That’s why I steered clear of this article of conformity until the 2000s when things got back on track. Retro styles began to appear that recalled Sinatra on a Sunday afternoon, or Brighton mod atop a Vespa circa ’64. Just imagine how this Ben Sherman basket-weave will look above your new white jeans.
Hoodie – Tailor Made
I was a bit late to the hoodie party. Like the polo, I associated hoodies with 'college fun' and 'team pride.' The cutesy name bothered me, too. (I still have a hard time saying “selfie.”) But now that there are varied styles and weights in myriad colors, I can't do without. The right hoodie looks great with everything. Under a denim jacket. Under a corduroy blazer. As the outer layer of a shirt and sweater combo. Under a casual suit. Yes, under a suit! So punt on the baggy sports ball-emblazoned garb and go with something more polished and slim-fitting. Seriously, could the gent above look any better?
More About David Santos
The author in the gig clothes that got left behind.
David is a husband, father, real estate professional, and singer/songwriter with the Boston-based band Eddie Japan (2013 Winners of the prestigious Rock 'N' Roll Rumble). He also loves clothes. Check out his Facebook page - Dress Like A Man, where you'll find grooming, health and lifestyle tips for the modern gentleman with an edge.