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This year, men’s summer fashion has more than a handful of trends to enjoy or ignore. Menswear designers and brands understand how the past year has influenced style, and they’ve created clothing that is influenced by athleisurewear. We’re also going further back in time, as the 80s fashion trend is being replaced by the looser fits and vintage shirts of the 60s and 70s, when clothing was cut boxier and there was more emphasis on wearability than showcasing one’s body. However, Tik Tok’s also become a fashion-influencing juggernaut, and practically overnight Gen Z killed skinny jeans.
All of this is to say: you’ve got a lot of options for summer fashion, with menswear trends to suit a variety of styles, age groups and body types.
We did a ton of research comparing trends — which ones were wearable, what styles you could incorporate what you already have, and what trends look good on all body types. Then we narrowed everything down to eight trends that work well. This article will break down the following men’s summer fashion trends:
- Camp Collars
- Anything But Skinny Jeans
- Athleisure-Inspired Shorts
- Tiny Shorts
- Polo Shirts
This summer, men’s summer fashion is revisiting older styles and adding a modern touch to them. Camp collars, sometimes called vacation collars, are shortened rounded collars that usually end in a vee in a boxy button-down shirt. You’re probably used to seeing them on Hawaiian shirts. If you look at photos from the 40s or 50s, men at leisure wore camp collared shirts when they were off-duty. That’s also why they got the nickname “vacation collars” as many guys only had the chance to wear these shirts when they weren’t in the office. Perhaps as a result of the world going into pause this past, year, these summery shirts have become a big trend.
1. Ben Sherman Short Sleeve Botanical Print Shirt
This British menswear designer always seems to get the right mix of 60s Mod with whatever is happening around our world at the time, and the result is timelessly cool clothing. His recherche of the camp collar shirt has a soft botanical print on a solid color background. Cut neither full nor slim, this shirt could be worn a variety of ways. Try it unbuttoned over a vintage style tee, wear it tucked in with a pair of chinos, or un-tucked over a pair of denim shorts.
2. Gitman Vintage Large Dot Short Sleeve Shirt
Gitman Vintage uses the classic boxy camp-collared shirt silhouette and gives it flair with a tonal polka dot. Made of cotton, this monochromatic pattern is at once modern and retro 50s at the same time. Based in Philly, Gitman Vintage’s mission is to make well-crafted clothing with traditional prints with a twist. Like the Ben Sherman camp collared shirt, it’s easy to wear it with shorts, jeans, or chinos.
3. Onia Vacation Linen Shirt
This rounded collared shirt covers not one, but two men’s summer fashion trends. It’s (obviously) a camp collared shirt, but it’s also a linen shirt (linen is big this summer), so wearing this shirt means you’ve got two styles down pat. Between the deep blue hue and the fabric, this button-down shirt can go from a casual weekend in joggers to an in-office meeting or even a summer wedding by simply donning a blazer over it and pairing it with trousers. The shirt has a relaxed fit and one chest pocket.
4. Banks Journal Wilder Shirt
Look, you’ve either got the confidence to pull off this shirt, or you don’t. If you do, it’s destined to become your new favorite summer shirt.
5. Levi’s Cubano Shirt
Levi’s Cubano shirt is lightweight and light-colored, i.e. perfect for the warm, sunny days of summer. The colorful floral print will go well with either the shorts or the boot-cut jeans featured below, and it’s a perfect outfit for your summer fashion. The shirt is made from a blend of lyocell (one of the softest fabrics on the planet) and hemp fiber (one of the coolest fabrics on the planet).
Anything But Skinny Jeans
You may or may not have read all the “think” pieces or watched a news bit about the death of skinny jeans. Tik Tok influencers, along with declaring that side parts were bad, also killed the skinny jean with a few snarky comments. While many people declared that it was “skinny jeans or die” time, many more were thrilled with the idea of wearing comfortable baggy jeans that actually let you breathe when you wore them. Retail’s been doing a bit of a catch-up, trying to churn out loose-fitting, or shall we say, regular fitting jeans as fast as possible. We found three pairs that are as long on style as they are on fit.
6. BDG Dad Jean – Medium Wash Patchwork
We can’t figure out whether Urban Outfitters is scarily prescient or if they have elves in their backroom who magick up the latest trends at lightning speed. Whatever it is that they’re doing, they always serve up the hottest trends fast. Take these dad jeans, made from one of their house brands, it ticks all the baggy jeans trend boxes. It’s channeling the 70s patchwork jean trend with a dose of 90s distressed jeans, and somehow it works. Cut in a relaxed fit that’s roomy in the hips and butt, the wide leg tapers towards the ankles. Wear them with combat boots, vintage tee and field jacket and you’re good to go.
7. Devil – Dog Dungarees Straight Fit Jeans – Cornelius Wash
Named in honor of the Marines, Devil-Dog Dungarees uses performance materials with heritage stitching, and bandana print pocket lining. Their jeans come in a variety of washes, and the Cornelius Wash is one of their darkest washes. Their straight fit jeans sit slightly below the natural waist, have a relaxed cut, which makes them a happy medium between baggy and skinny. They have front whiskering and have hand sanded on the front and back. Devil-Dog Dungarees has partnered with the Wounded Warrior Project and offers a discount to military members and first responders.
8. H&M Relaxed Jeans
Of course, H&M came out with relaxed jeans while almost everyone was scrambling to add fabric to their skinny jeans! These relaxed cut jeans come in black, dark, and medium wash denim. They sport a regular waist, wide legs —well, wide when you compare them to skinny jeans, and five pockets.
Short Shorts Inspired by Athleisure
Was it Milo Ventimiglia or Tik Tok that started the rush on short shorts? My money’s on Tik Tok, but there were a lot of very thirsty journalists who wrote about Ventimiglia’s shorts, or rather the lack of length of them. Not quite as bad as the teeny shorts of the 70s, this summer’s shorts are five inches long (or is that short??) and can be found in everything from performance to even the classic chino short.
9. Good Threads Men’s Slim-Fit Shorts
These cleanly designed shorts from Good Threads, an Amazon house brand, are a mix of cotton and elastane, so they move with you. Cut like classic chino shorts, but with a five-inch inseam, they come in 16 colors and two types of camo prints. Try them with a pair of low-rise Converse sneakers and a loose-fit button-down shirt or a tee.
10. Bonobos The Rec Short
Bonobos built their reputation on their pants, and their shorts are just as awesome. If you’re looking for a pair of shorts that can do it all, their Rec short can. Made from performance nylon, they can double as swim trunks, can be used to work out, and for just hanging around. They have a hidden media pocket, a back zippered pocket and mesh pocket bags. The material is moisture-wicking, has a 50 SPF, a drawstring elasticated waist, and are five inches long.
11. Patagonia Baggies Logo-Appliqued Printed Recycled Nylon Shorts
Patagonia created shorts with personality. These recycled nylon shorts have a snappy print and are water repellent. Made with recycled nylon that’s Bluesign certified, that means it’s sustainable, they have side pockets, an elasticated waistband and are five inches long. Try them with a solid color tee under an unbuttoned long sleeve shirt and slip-ons.
Stripes are all over this year’s men’s summer fashion trends. They’re part of summer’s perennial nautical look, and there’s always an array of Breton stripe tees and such. For summer 2021, stripes have gone wild; if you can make something striped, you’ll find in it somewhere. There are thin and thick stripes, stripes layered on stripes, and stripes in more than one color.
12. SHEIN Men’s Striped Drawstring Pants
13. Eckhaus Latta Off-White Striped Shirt
Meeting as students at the Rhode Island School of Design, Mike Exhaus and Zoe Latta had a circular journey in fashion before creating their own line. They collaborated with Camper Shoes, and always include artists in their stores and work. Their striped shirt literally goes with everything. There are so many colors in the stripes, you’d be hard-pressed to find something that didn’t work with it. Made from ultra-soft pima cotton, this shirt would look good under a blazer or with baggy jeans or shorts.
14. Topman Stripe Button Up Sweater
This really is the summer where everything old is new again. Take this Topman striped sweater, it wouldn’t look out of place in a Rock Hudson and Doris Day 60s rom-com. Designers keep mining older styles because they always look so fresh. This stripey buttoned sweater can be worn completely button like a shirt and would look pretty amazing with white jeans, or wear it unbuttoned like a jacket with a pair of chinos.
While linen has traditionally been a summer fabric, its breathability and luster has always had an appeal to designers, especially when creating summer suits, and this summer linen really gets to shine. Designers like Jaquemus and Botter used linen to not only create suits, but relaxed-fitting separates. Done in everything from soft buttery yellow to brighter colors, you can’t go wrong with adding this natural fabric to your summer rotation. This year, men’s summer fashion has linen options from head to toe.
15.H&M Straight Fit Linen Pants
One of linen’s traits is that it’s very adaptable. Depending upon how it’s cut and what it’s paired with, it can be worn for kicking back or going to an engagement party. This pair of linen pants are done in the looser cut that’s so big right now in denim-land. It has two front and two back pockets. These pants are nice alternative to jeans and can be worn with what you’d normally wear with your favorite denim. They can also switch it up for an office appearance by wearing them with a laced shoe and a button-down shirt.
16. Abercrombie & Fitch Linen Button Up Shirt
The linen shirt is sorta like the one thing everyone should own because it’s ridiculously versatile. Because linen wrinkles easily, pairing an unbuttoned linen shirt over a tee and jeans combo gives the whole thing a sense of ineffable coolness. That same linen shirt looks urbane with shorts or buttoned up under a blazer. Just like it’s always a good idea to have at least one white long sleeve button-down shirt, the linen version is the perfect accompaniment to summer days and nights.
17. Isabel Marant White and Blue Camron T-Shirt
French designer Isabel Marant reimagines linen into a silky linen jersey T-shirt that’s offset with a bright graphic print that’s slightly reminiscent of tie-dye (another big summer trend). This is a relaxed cut shirt, and that makes it easy to tuck into a pair of jeans or worn loose over shorts.
Here’s another summer fashion trend for men: the polo shirt, the rugby shirt’s stodgy big brother. The polo shirt’s gotten a bad rap. Originally created to be worn on a tennis court, it morphed into part of the prepster’s uniform. And while tons of people wear them in the summer, it’s so damn easy to throw on and go, it’s been kinda boring. This summer, brands and designers played with the style; adding retro touches which in turn, modernized the polo shirt and gave it some edge.
18. Bonobos Short Sleeve Polo Sweater
The basis of Bonobos’ short sleeve sweater is the classic polo shirt. However, they used a collar that was popular in the 60s, added ribbing and this lightweight cotton sweater is zingy. It’s now the polo shirt’s cooler older brother. It comes in four solid colors and three prints.
19. Zara Striped Polo Shirt
If you’re gonna go retro, you can’t go wrong with rugby stripes. We’ve already discussed how stripes are a popular trend in men’s summer fashions, and when you mix up a roomy, relaxed polo shirt that’s cut almost like an oversized T, and then toss in wide horizontal stripes, you’re looking at your next go-to shirt.
20. Ben Sherman Textured Stripe Zip Through Polo Shirt
When looking at Ben Sherman’s reinvented zippered polo, you wonder if the inspiration was the 50s or the 90s? The 90s is when the wide striped polo shirts cycled through into popularity and then quietly faded away. And this summer, these sharp-looking polos that quietly speak of cocktails and good times have rolled back into town.
What’s summer fashion without shorts? Winter! All kidding aside, shorts are not only a fashion must-have, but they also keep you cool when it’s hot out. This summer shorts have been influenced by the athleisurewear trend, and you’ll find shorts that look tailored but are made with performance materials and can be worn either for hitting the gym or hitting happy hour.
21. Western Rise Movement Short
Western Rise makes menswear that is performance-based. Using high-tech fabrics and meticulous construction, their clothing can be used for, oh say, rock climbing or running to their market. They make three types of shorts, the Movement, Boundless and Evolution shorts. The Evolution style is so popular, that they’re on backorder. That’s a testament to how good their stuff is made. This pair of shorts, their Movement shorts come in black or blue-gray, and they can do anything. They have a seven-inch inseam and are built to be worn in the pool or beach, at the gym or just sitting on the couch. Made from a lightweight water-resistant moisture-wicking material, they have zippered pockets so that nothing falls out on a run.
22. Bonobos Anywhere Short E- Waist
Before we talk about anything else, these shorts come in seven different colors –that’s like one pair a day for a week. The “E” stands for everything. These shorts can be worn anywhere, and you can do anything in them, even swim. Athleisurewear with its idea of clothing doing double duty, possibly inspired the creation of these shorts. They have an elasticated drawstring waist. A back zippered pocket, and mesh pocket bags.
23. Uniqlo Nylon Utility Geared Shorts
Uniqlo was creating utility and techwear style clothing long before either trend was cool. Their utility shorts are made from lightweight nylon ripstop material that’s water-resistant. They’re like a hiking short met a city short mated and this is the result. They’re styled so that they can be worn for a day at the zoo or a day on the trails. This pair of shorts has a built-in belt with a quick-release belt buckle. The shorts have six pockets: two back pockets and two deep pockets on each leg. The pockets are deep enough to stow a phone or snack in them. They come in six shades too.
Sandals, and we’re not talking about flip flops (there’s nothing wrong with flip flops), but sandals, especially slides, have made a comeback. Seen in almost every Spring/Summer 2021 fashion show, and often paired with socks, this summer showcases everything from rugged sandals you can wear on a hike to leather sandals that are great for city streets.
24. Off-White Blue and White Diagonal Stripe Slides
Remember those Nike shower slides that were worn everywhere a couple of years ago? Virgil Abloh has taken that blueprint and one-upped it with these slides. A stripey band gives the sandal a little extra eye candy.
25. Teva Hurricane Verge Sandals
Techwear meets athletic meets walking shoe in one sandal. That’s how you can sum up Teva’s Hurricane Verge sandal. Tough enough to be worn on a hike or in water, these molded sandals have extra insole padding for comfort and quick-dry mesh, so feet stay comfortable after crossing streams. While they’re heavy-duty enough for the country, they’re also a comfortable sandal that can be worn in the city.
26. Mango Gladiator Sandals
When it comes to men’s summer fashion, not so casual sandals have clean lines and minimal details. Mango’s leather sandals can finish off an outfit nicely without taking center stage. These leather sandals are lined in leather and have a rubber outsole.
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