The true challenge of dressing the summertime – how do you leave the house feeling comfortable while also looking stylish? Add the question of sustainability into the mix and it can feel like an impossible feat – which is where we come in.
We’ve pieced together the perfect summer capsule wardrobe for men, listing key pieces that are versatile and fashionable, while also being kind to the earth.
Why is sustainable fashion important?
The global fashion industry takes a heavy toll on the environment – from manufacturing to distribution, it’s responsible for 1.2bn tonnes of carbon emissions each year. It doesn’t end at the checkout either – 235 million clothing items make their way into landfills annually.
What can we do to help?
We know that fashion is an important part of identity, and luckily there are many ways you can express yourself without contributing to the waste and environmental devastation:
- Choose sustainable brands: Look for brands that have sustainability at the heart of their operations. Choose companies that follow fair trade practices and use recycled (and ethical) materials.
- Shop second hand: Making use of second hand items is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint while also bringing unique character to your wardrobe.
For more advice on shopping sustainably, check out our quick tips for slow fashion.
Men’s summer wardrobe: What you need (and where to get it)
Simplicity is sustainable – and stylish. When piecing together your summer capsule wardrobe, it’s all about finding classic items that can be worn in a variety of different ways.
Once you have these basics, we promise you’ll be impressed by how many different ensembles you can pull together to suit every event this season.
The white t-shirt
Cool both in terms of look and feel, a white t-shirt is an easy choice for casual beach time or if you’re heading out for drinks with friends.
Where to get it: You can buy a white t-shirt pretty much anywhere and so it can be tempting to opt for a cheap high street version. However, spending a little bit more on a quality option can make a huge difference, both in terms of fit and durability, as well as sustainability.
Sustainable suggestions: Everlane, Brothers We Stand
Slightly relaxed blue jeans
When we say ‘blue’, we’re talking classic blue denim in a fit that leaves a little bit of room to breathe around the thighs and calves, while still keeping a slim silhouette.
Where to get it: You might find a pair of second-hand jeans that fit you well – however, they tend to be one of those once-in-a-lifetime charity shop treasures. We wish you luck in your hunt, but if you come up short, look for brands that are mindful about water usage (it can take more than 7,500 litres of water to make one pair of jeans).
Sustainable suggestions: Huit, Levi’s Water<Less collection
Button up shirt in ‘your’ colour
Dark blue, pale green, bright red – you know that colour that looks great on you? You need a button-up shirt in that shade that you can rock on summer evenings when you’re headed out for a nice meal or outdoor event.
Where to get it: A button-up shirt is one of those things that is often given as a gift (thanks, grandma) worn once (or not at all), and donated because it just don’t quite suit the wearer – but that doesn’t mean it won’t suit you! Charity shops are brimming with button-ups, and you’re bound to find your perfect colour waiting patiently in the racks.
Sunny days might seem like a rare aspect of the British summertime, but they have been known to exist. Chino shorts are a wardrobe must-have – lightweight, comfortable, and versatile, choose classic tan or opt for a navy blue or dark green tone.
Where to get it:
Chino shorts are another one of those popular items that can be found in almost every high street summer clothing section. However, varieties made from cheaper fabrics will lose their shape quickly and often hail from unethical sources. Look for a quality pair from a sustainable brand instead.
Sustainable suggestion: Monkee Genes
Whether you’re heading out on a road trip or lounging on the sand, you’ll need sunglasses to protect your eyes from the glare and give that ultimate sophisticated finish to your look. Aviator, D-frame, rectangular – whatever shape suits you, find a pair that you can wear all summer long.
Where to get it:
You can buy cheap sunglasses almost anywhere, which is proof of how huge the industry is – and therefore how big of an impact it has on the environment. Opt for a second-hand pair instead. Head to a vintage shop and spend some time in front of the mirror to find a cool set of frames that aren’t doing any extra harm to our planet.
Chances are you’re going to need to cover up at some point this summer. Be prepared for cooler evenings and the odd rainy day and make sure to bolster your capsule wardrobe with a lightweight jacket.
Where to get it:
The style of this one is up to you – denim, corduroy, sporty windbreaker, or a parka-style, head to a charity shop and look for a lightweight design that matches your personality.
Whether you’re wearing jeans, chinos, or shorts, light-coloured trainers are easy to transition from day to evening and will look fresh all summer long. Choose a pale shade that suits your style – bright white can look fresh and sport, while beige, cream, or off-white have a more laid-back feel.
Where to get it:
If charity shop jeans are a rare treasure, finding a great pair of second hand shoes might seem like a distant myth – but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try! If you do resort to buying new, pay attention to the brand in your hand.
The shoe industry has a reputation for running on unethical practices. Luckily, plenty of companies are turning their backs on this by adopting fair trade working policies and natural materials.
Sustainable suggestions: Allbirds, Columbia
By slowing down and planning out your summer wardrobe (and how you’re going to obtain it), you can make better choices, both for your style game and for the environment.