7 Ways for Men to Dress Well This Summer for Less

Student walking barefoot in the park holding trendy shoes in hands.
Photo by By Cozy Home / Shutterstock.com

Those old shorts and flip-flops are probably not going to make it through another summer.

If your wardrobe consists of worn-out gym clothes and random items you’ve collected every summer for the last decade, know that there are alternatives.

Here are some ideas for buying men’s summer clothing that will last, as well as places currently offering good clothing deals.

This list doesn’t include the many items you may want to wear as the sun rises higher in the sky, such as wet suits, bike clothing, mountain biking helmets or swimsuits. Instead, we’re focusing on the kind of day-to-day men’s summer clothing all too often neglected in menswear guidance.

1. Casual shoes

You don't need a boat to enjoy relaxing in deck shoes, but it doesn't hurt.
Photo by dvoevnore / Shutterstock.com

Summer is a great time for casual shoes of all kinds, from comfortable deck shoes to informal shoes that still look good enough to wear to work. The goal is to get quality shoes that — with good care — you can use for a number of years.

One example is the men’s Adidas ZX Flux Casual Shoes currently on sale at the Finish Line. Normally, a pair would sell for $89.99 and is currently on offer for $41.99.

2. Shorts

Torn cut-offs might be fine for skate boarding, but won't necessarily do the job when you need something to wear to work on a hot day.
By DisobeyArt / Shutterstock.com

Let’s distinguish here between shorts and cutoffs! For the most part, getting well-made, good-looking new shorts serves you better than trying to create shorts out of pants that have passed their sell-by date.

If you look in the right places, now is a great time to get those shorts. Old Navy has sales on shorts right now. And for a very specific deal on a very specific kind of shorts, look no further than the flat, front-stretch woven men’s golf shorts currently on sale from Nike for $39.97 (regularly priced at $70).

3. Jeans

A great pair of jeans (or several identical pairs, for that matter) can be a vital part of any men's summer wardrobe.
Photo by Kiselev Andrey Valerevich / Shutterstock.com

While it’s true that some manufacturers will sell “stone-washed,” ripped and otherwise distressed jeans at a premium in the name of style, those looking for quality jeans that are going to last awhile — and won’t cost a bundle to buy — are probably not the target for those products.

The great thing about jeans is that you probably already have a brand, size and style that you like. The only real work is to find the best price. To help with that, we found Levi’s 501 Original Fit Jeans, which regularly sell for $68.99, on sale now at Footlocker.com for $49.99.

Jeans are also one of those clothing items that you can find in good enough shape at a secondhand clothing store that it’s often worth the trip to Goodwill or Value Village. If you find jeans that have been “gently used” and you treat them well yourself, they may be a good bargain.

4. Sunglasses

Man in sunglasses by swimming pool
Cookie Studio / Shutterstock.com

While the rock band ZZ Top celebrated cheap sunglasses in a famous 1980 hit song, such low-cost eyewear isn’t necessarily the best answer for your eyes. It all depends on how important it is to actually see what you’re doing.

If all you want is something that looks fun and doesn’t cost a lot of money, there are many choices at your local dollar store. If you want to go beyond that and have something that will really protect your eyes, you’ll have to work a little harder — and get proper, polarized lenses set in frames that are likely to last more than a few weeks.

For example, Oakley Limited Edition Ferrari Chainlink Sunglasses are on sale at Amazon.com. They are currently available for $74.99 — although they regularly sell for $150. Additionally, these sunglasses are capable of taking prescription lenses.

5. Socks

Strike the right balance between quality, price and style when shopping for socks.
By Costin Constantinescu / Shutterstock.com

Before starting to discuss socks, be aware of the rule about not wearing socks with sandals. Get yourself some sandals, by all means. But if you’re going to wear socks in the summer, wear them with some great casual, light shoes.

It’s easy to overpay for socks, or to end up with socks that don’t last. Some people see socks as a disposable item and just buy them as cheaply as possible. Others shop for both quality and price and try to find socks that are affordable, look good and will last awhile.

One option for finding bargains is to buy your socks online. HappySocks currently offers brightly colored bark-patterned socks that regularly sell for $12 for $7.20, and the site offers free shipping on orders in excess of $45.

6. Sandals

Sandals that are stylish, affordable and comfortable will make your summer even brighter.
By Phattranit Vinit / Shutterstock.com

Sandals offer a lot of choice in styling and design. They encompass everything from flip-flops to thongs, Crocs and wedges. Some have buckles, some have backs — and some look like air-conditioned shoes.

Given that sandals are going to be worn on both beaches and long summer walks, look for designs that are well-built and aren’t going to fall apart after a few weeks of sunny weather.

At an online clothing site such as Zappos, you’ll see a vast range of styles on offer. If you’re going to order sandals from an online retailer, make sure you pay little to nothing for shipping — most will make shipping free on orders over a certain amount. Also make sure you get free return shipping of anything that doesn’t fit.

Zappos is currently selling a pair of Nike Kawa Slide sandals for $24.95 that regularly sell for $30. It also offers free shipping.

7. Summer shirts

Amazingmikael / Shutterstock.com

You don’t have to limit yourself to T-shirts and golf shirts this summer. There’s a whole lot more choice to shirts in the summer — even for work — than you typically find in any other season.

Whether you’re looking for something you can wear to work or the beach, you want it to be lightweight, well-crafted and breathable. Your choice may also depend on where you live.

In a town like New Orleans, for example, you’ll want to make choices that can help defend against the “fry and freeze” effect — which occurs when you are constantly moving from sweltering, humid heat to heavily air-conditioned buildings.

A place like Old Navy can offer a great range of new summer shirts in a broad variety of styles. You may also want to take a tour of your favorite secondhand shops for summer shirts — this is one type of men’s shirt that doesn’t get so much wear that it becomes threadbare. That is especially true of loud Hawaiian shirts with brightly colored designs.

What’s your best-ever men’s clothing purchase for summer? Share in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

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