The Definitive Men’s Spring/Summer Style Guide

Granted, it’s still spring and far cry from BBQ season just yet. However, to ensure you bring your A-game when the sun finally returns (and we’re allowed outside again), now is the perfect time to start giving your warm-weather wardrobe some careful consideration.

As you’re probably already aware, blindly following fads is not an effective way to spice up your style. There are some seasonal trends to be shopped and certain others that are better off dropped. Being able to tell the difference is what separates the boys from the men.

But it’s no easy feat. What you really need is some sort of handy guide that does all the legwork for you.

As luck would have it, we’ve made one. From the footwear and clothing ruling the roost to what to pick for your next trim, here’s Ape’s official Spring/Summer Style Guide.

Key Trend: Preppy 2.0

With its trademark blend of smart and casual, Ivy League-inspired style has long been one of the pillars of modern menswear. It’s the kind of clothing your mum would approve of, which admittedly hasn’t done much in terms of scoring it cool points. However, as we move into this summer, that’s already beginning to change.

Pastel colours, tactile fabrics and independent labels are all helping to reinvigorate this strait-laced menswear subgenre, turning it into something ultra-wearable, stylish and timely. Look to tastemaking upstarts like Aimé Leon Dore and Noah as prime examples of the modern-day preppy aesthetic, as well as long-established names like Beams and Ralph Lauren.

If you invest in just one piece from the trend, make it a colour-block rugby shirt.

Key Piece: Camp Collar Shirt

If there’s one garment that encapsulates everything summer style is about it’s undoubtedly the camp collar shirt. With its spread collar and short-sleeved design it’s the perfect companion for everything from al fresco evening dining to beers on the beach.

The camp (or Cuban/open) collar shirt’s status as a warm-weather essential isn’t anything new. Still, year after year, it continues to hold its place as the one thing you need in your summer rotation above all else. It’s breezy, it’s timeless and you can go as stand-out or stripped back as you want with it. Perfect.

Key Colour: Pink

The abundance of pink on this season’s runways was perhaps one of the more unexpected menswear moments of late. And while we’d never advocate dressing head to toe in such an eye-catching colour, it can actually be a valuable asset to summer wardrobes when styled with care.

Admittedly, it’s not the easiest hue to nail, but getting it right hinges on remembering two key details. Number one: stick to subtle shades. And number two: don’t overdo it. Yes, co-ords are having a moment right now, but don’t take that as carte blanche to parade around in a matching hot-pink T-shirt and shorts. Instead, keep it to one pink item per outfit, and keep the palette muted with pastel and dusty variations.

Key Fabric: Seersucker

Fleece and corduroy have stolen the show for the last half of the year. Now it’s time for something lighter to take over.

This puckered, all-cotton fabric is airy, breathable and lends itself nicely to anything from a Cuban collar shirt to a full summer wedding suit. If you were worried about bursting into flames at a friend’s August nuptials, seersucker offers a stylish solution.

Key Cut: Double-Breasted

In what could be described as a surprising turn of events, double-breasted jackets are cool again. So if you’d been putting off getting one, now’s the time to invest.

It’s good news for bigger guys, too, because not only is this throwback tailoring gem striking and stylish, it’s also flattering if you have a larger midriff. Historic Italian tailoring houses Brunello Cucinelli and Boglioli have some great premium options. Or, if you’re on a tighter budget, Suitsupply and Oliver Spencer have some accessible versions in beautiful summer-ready fabrics. Whichever you opt for, remember to take it to your local tailor (or avail the brand’s in-house service) so it fits you like a glove.

Key Outerwear Trend: Technical Fabrics, Subtle Silhouettes

Outdoor gear has been trending hard for several seasons now with many of the fashion industry’s leading names looking to the mountains for inspiration. Is it practical? Sure. Is it for everyone? Certainly not.

For those who prefer their silhouettes sleek and streamlined and their detailing understated, the average technical jacket can pose a problem. Thankfully, there’s a way to get all of the functional benefits without any of the alpine styling. Brands like Norse Projects, Aspesi, NN07 and Arc’teryx are taking the same tech that goes into high-performance mountaineering outerwear and delivering it in a more aesthetically-refined package. Think silhouettes like the car coat, overshirt and field jacket but reimagined in watertight fabrications.

Key Accessory: A Colourful Timepiece

When thinking of where to add some pops of colour within an outfit, your timepiece is probably the last thing that springs to mind, but it shouldn’t be. Are we saying you should rush out and buy yourself a canary-yellow Casio G-Shock? Not quite. What we had in mind is a little more elegant.

For as long as we can remember, blue, black and white have been the default options in terms of watch dials, but thankfully things are beginning to brighten up. Many of the world’s most respected watchmakers are now experimenting with coloured dials, which opens up a world of options for the rest of us.

Key Swimwear Trend: Tropical Prints

Hawaiian prints are nothing new in the world of swimwear but they haven’t always been a hallmark of good taste in the water. Billowing boardshorts adorned with garish floral motifs have long been the antithesis of stylish resortwear, but this season tropical patterns have returned to form.

Respected labels such as Polo Ralph Lauren, Hartford and even Dries Van Noten have been splashing their swim shorts with vibrant Hawaiian prints. Only these aren’t baggy three-quarter-length strides, they’re well-cut, mid-length shorts and they’re exactly what you need to see the warm weather through in style.

Key Hairstyle: Buzz Cut

The coronavirus-related lockdown that has gripped the world since March has had many unexpected side effects. As far as grooming goes, one of the key ones has been that it’s given thinning men everywhere the chance to finally answer that most important of questions: what will I actually look like with a shaved head?

The surprising answer for many has been, “not as bad as predicted”, and as a result, the quarantine buzz cut has become the hairstyle du jour. Even before lockdown started, there was a trend developing, with tonsorial tastemaker David Beckham reacquainting himself with a pair of clippers as early as February. Hey, if it means an end to dodgy comb-overs we’re all for it.

Key Footwear Trend: Back To Basics

After what seemed like an eternity of bulky silhouettes and migraine-inducing colourways, sneakers are finally beginning to calm down. The signs have been there for a while, what with 990 v5 mania last year and the resurgence of minimalist retro running shoes, but this year it’s due to go full tilt.

Yes, minimal suede trainers, canvas court shoes and classic leather tennis styles are coming back to the fore this spring/summer – and not a minute too soon.

Paddy Maddison

Paddy Maddison is Ape's Style Editor. His work has been published in Esquire, Men’s Health, ShortList, The Independent and more. An outerwear and sneaker fanatic, his finger is firmly on the pulse for the latest trends, while always maintaining an interest in classic style.