One of the most common questions I get from guys is about which products and brands I recommend. If you have been an avid reader of this website, you will no doubt understand that we don’t like to endorse very many products here. That’s because we are more interested in providing you with the information to make good decisions, rather than just blindly telling you to go buy stuff (i.e. the whole teach a man to fish thing).
Additionally, what we may find to be a great product for us may not be something worthwhile to you. I know Eli and I have had our own disagreements about certain products. That’s why I’ve always said, do your own research! Go out there and look around and try things on. It’s the only way to truly know if something will work for you or not.
With that said, I understand that sometimes guys just want to know some of the things I’ve purchased just to get an understanding of what’s out there and what’s available – sort of a way to get the style ball rolling.
That’s why in this article I want to go over some great affordable summer style essentials – things that I’ve actually purchased in the last month or so. I want to be clear that I am not being paid in any way from the companies mentioned in this article (nor do I have any affiliation with them other than being a typical consumer).
Lastly, before we dive in, I should mention that this article is about affordable summer style (emphasis added). That means your mileage may vary with respect to the quality of these products. While we still stand by our message of quality over quantity, sometimes you are better off skimping rather than spending.
The Polo Shirt
Polo shirts are definitely a style essential for the summer season and my favourite affordable polo shirt right now is the Mossimo Athletic Fit Polo available at Target. It’s a nice cotton poly blend that has just enough stretch to it to fit snugly over the body without seeming like it’s painted on. It also comes with a nice ribbed cuff and collar (which I like) and the colour selection is quite decent as well. I find the pocket to be a nice little touch although the 2 button placket might seem a bit restrictive for some. All in all, it’s a solid casual polo at a price point that is more than affordable ($15 regular price, $8 when on sale).
For those of you who are on the hunt for the perfect polo shirt this summer, Joe over at Dappered wrote a great review of a bunch of different polo shirts at various price points (including the Mossimo Athletic Fit Polo).
The Khaki Shorts
I believe every man should own at least one pair of khaki shorts and my favourite affordable pick this season is the Flat Front Shorts available at the Gap. They can come in a couple of different lengths including an 8” and an 11” inseam, but I highly recommend the 8” shorts as they do a better job of showing off the legs, which is perfect if you have been spending your time wisely in the squat rack. The other great thing about these shorts is that for guys with larger thighs these shorts will fit much like a pair of slim fit shorts, so they definitely won’t look like a pair your dad would be wearing. They also come in a bunch of different colours including the tried and true (khaki, navy, and grey). The retail price for these shorts is $40, but can easily dip below $30 when they are on sale (which is quite often).
The Casual Sneaker
In my opinion, the best affordable casual sneaker options right now can be found at H&M. They have a bunch of great, basic canvas sneakers available in a variety of different colours at a very reasonable price point (under $20). What makes them particularly good in my opinion is their minimalistic design. Too many times I have seen companies come out with a great sneaker only to mar them with their hideous logo. You won’t see that at H&M. For those of you who are looking to branch out your warm weather casual shoe game, H&M also carries a variety of Espradilles at an affordable price point making it a great way to experiment with your style.
One of the biggest reasons why I hardly (if ever) shop at American Eagle is because they splash their stupid logo on almost every product they sell. Since I don’t plan on being a walking billboard anytime soon, you can understand my reluctance to endorse A&E products. However, with that said, I did still manage to find an item that I think is worthy of inclusion in this list of affordable summer style essentials. Specifically, for those of you who are looking for a great pair of sunglasses I highly recommend checking out some of the aviators available at American Eagle. Most of them are quite good (lightweight, simple design, nice tint) and aside from a tiny eagle stamped on the end of the temple tips, don’t have any overt and/or obnoxious branding. You can pick up a pair for around $15.
If you were to buy each of the items mentioned in this article on sale you would have an excellent casual outfit for less than $75. That’s not too shabby. While I’m not someone who suggests that you skimp on everything you buy, I certainly do understand the utility behind being thrifty when it counts. My recommendation is to buy quality whenever you can, but don’t be afraid to look at budget pieces to fill in the gaps of your wardrobe. Remember, style doesn’t have to be expensive!
Here’s to looking sharp!