Long sunny days. Warm smiles. Sun-kissed hair. Blue skies. Sunglasses. Convertibles. Freedom.

This is summer.

For most areas of the world, summer only lasts a few months. That gives you a short amount of time to spend some time in the sun.

Picnics, barbecues, parties, fireworks, pools, beaches… time really flies during the summer.

If you live in an extremely warm climate like Phoenix or Miami, your wardrobe is all summer already. This guide doesn’t really apply to you.

But for everyone else with a limited wardrobe, it can be difficult to keep the outfits interesting all throughout summer.

Here’s the thing, as a guy, there’s not as much pressure on us as our female-counterparts when it comes to the whole idea of “can’t be seen in the same thing twice”.

It’s okay to wear the same thing every day if we look good in it. See the white tee for example.

Where we run into trouble is if we wear the same bright colored t-shirt and swim shorts to every outing.

You do have to change it up every once in a while. And it’s tough because you don’t want to break the bank just for a few months in summer.

Don’t forget, fall clothing arrives in store by the end of July. Expect to see fall suggestions in a few months. I don’t mean from me. I mean from everywhere.

For people who have real seasons, aka an actual summer, fall, winter, and spring, (Floridians know what I mean) you’re summer is going to be a couple of months.

But that also means you’re going to enjoy it as much as you can.

So for summer, I’ve put together a budget-conscious guide to male essentials.

The best part of these pieces is that they’re all affordable, so feel free to get them ruined if you happen to be an outdoor party or something, just sayin’.

I’m using H&M for this guide because I’m focusing on basics for you. You can find these basics at other similar priced online retailers like ASOS or UNIQLO.

You can spend a little more and find the same styles from other brands as well. It’s up to you.

The goal is to lock down the basics and then you can experiment from that point forward.


Short-sleeved Cotton Shirt – White – $13

A white shirt is a must for summer. As much as I love black, a white cotton shirt can be paired with chinos, linen pants, or shorts. It’s really versatile. You can wear it to a pool party, brunch, or an outdoor concert. It’s the most versatile piece on here.


Short-sleeved Cotton Shirt – Blue (or any color) – $13

Same use case as before. Just go with a different color to add a more vibrant touch to your arsenal.

I like the dark blue dotted. You can also go for the blue chambray or rust red. Be creative with this one.


Cotton or Twill Shorts Slim Fit – Dark Blue or White – $18

I’m not a huge shorts guy, even in the summer. I just prefer pants overall. However, in some cases (like going to Disney World), I will wear shorts.

The twill shorts are a very slim cut. Go for the cotton ones if you want something a little more relaxed. Also, the cotton shorts can be used in those day-date situations when paired with the cotton shirts above.

One more note, I’ve had the H&M cotton shorts for 5 years now. I’ve only bought 3 pairs from them and they’ve all lasted without any issues. I only wear them in summer and to parks, which I do attend a lot.


Linen T-Shirt – $18

T-shirts are a must and since you’ll be wearing these outside, keep them relaxed. It will allow the shirt to breathe and keep you cool.

Linen is the best option for this. Cotton blends also work well.

Pair this green with black or white shorts.


Long Sleeve Cotton Shirt Relaxed fit – $18

I prefer slim fit at all times of the year. But for most people I recommend a relaxed fit during summer to keep things breathable.

If you’re a heavy sweater, go for a darker blue like this one. I also like the light blue. Pair it with dark pants for a solid outfit.

Or pair the light blue with white pants if you have an olive to dark complexion.


Twill Pants – $30

These pants are basically in between jeans and chinos. You can wear them for a ton of different occasions.

With a t-shirt to a barbecue.

With a cotton shirt to happy hour.

With a tank top and you just happen to end up at the pool so you change into swim shorts.

Ok maybe I’ve already said these before but for other items. I don’t know. These pants are like that saying where the world is your oyster. Except these are just pants. Just wear them as much you can because you can.

If you’re buying from H&M, know that these pants are very slim. If you’re getting them anywhere else, just check for the type of fitment you want.

I would go for the white or light gray. I would buy the blue or black if I didn’t have so many.

Note: I have plenty of white pants and would still buy another.

The Extras

If you get these items, you’ll be good for summer. Combine some of them with jeans, blazers, and chinos for some variations.

There are a couple of other things you might need like swim shorts, sunglasses, and shoes.

Try not to wear flip-flops unless you’re at the beach or the pool. You can go for any kind of slip-on shoes, canvas sneakers, deck shoes, or espadrilles from your desired brand.

Men's summer essentials

Stick with blue, brown, black, or white. You’ll get the most use out of those colors.



Beyond those items, everything else is just personal preference and how much you are willing to spend. I tried to make it as affordable as possible. You can even find sales on these items throughout summer.

And be sure to go with what you like. Maybe throughout the year you stay with clean silhouettes but in the summer you like to wear graphic tees.

Want to wear that black tee with a palm tree on it? Have at it.

Summer is about being fun. Enjoy it. Wear what you want. If you’re ever having a freak-out moment, just stick with the basics.

What is your favorite piece you plan on wearing this summer? Leave a comment and let me know.

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