I Polled Men on Their Summer Staples (Then Styled Them on Myself)

leandra medine cohen menswear styling outfits summer 2019 man repeller

I have been thinking about baggy swim shorts since I saw Call Me By Your Name in the winter of 2018, and vintage-style basketball shorts since I found a fashion pair by Prabal Gurung on the internet a couple of weeks ago and electively threw myself down a rabbit hole to get to the source (see: here). Short-shorts don’t feel right anymore. Lightweight cotton pants do, but, you know, sometimes a woman’s calves just want to make themselves known. Can you blame them? They do a lot of work for us!

Following the latter edition of last month’s Might I Suggest installment, which was concerned with the topic of menswear and how to make the most out of “his” closet in the context of a woman’s style, I polled 20 male-identifying carriers of a genital I am grateful not to have on the topic of their off-duty summer basics. Subsequently, I set out to style myself in the top 3 most popular choices among the narrow pool.

The quality of man includes Man Repeller’s own head of business development, Matt Little, as well as a selection of brothers (I have three), husbands (I have one), bartenders, waiters, and expats I have befriended over the last decade. The general consensus appears to be that the three most crucial items in their weekend closets are: a good white t-shirt, a pair of swim shorts and a baseball cap. I was surprised if not shocked to learn that of the 20 men I spoke to, only three identified a lightweight button-down shirt and similarly dumbfounded to learn that my own husband thinks a cashmere sweater is a summer basic, but this is not my fight, I am a mere messenger, and thus with no further ado, I present: three weekend summer basics as informed by 20 men, styled on a woman, starting with:

A Baseball Cap

Repeller baseball cap, $30

Presumably selected because it gets hot? Or because when your hair is short, your scalp gets burnt more easily? Frankly, a cap seems like a staple among women as well, and if I had to recommend how to wear one, I’d first and absolutely push my own agenda of getting as many people as possible into a white cap with neon pink letters that spell Repeller across it (come on! We’re all repelling something, aren’t we?) and on the topic of style, produce a high-low. That is, wear it with a dramatic brocade cape (this one is Gucci, I borrowed it for the shoot, but would feel equally as comfortable recommending that you wear a dramatic crystal tank top, or fancy summer dress; anything that you would wear to a dinner party, really). I went on to add baggy jeans and flat sandals (these ones are old and Michael Kors; I really like these, from Tkees, too) but did not forget a strand of pearls because, I don’t know, don’t you feel like jeans and an inconvenient top give your outfit license to accommodate the highest volume of dress code regulations? Think about that for a second as well somersault into…

A White T-Shirt

Save Khaki United white T-shirt, $50

This outfit is a good example of another place you can apply your baseball cap but given that the highlight is a men’s white t-shirt and that, frankly, one might go so far as to argue that the white t-shirt in question is actually a fantastic women’s staple as well, I’m just going to reconfirm that gender fluidity as it pertains to fashion is not just an ideal theory — it is very much a tried and true reality. What I did here, because men’s T-shirts tend to be longer, is tied a little knot at the end and closed with a butterfly brooch that I found on Amazon. I don’t know what it is with me and butterflies lately, but I like them a lot. Maybe I miss Mariah Carey. Maybe I’m blossoming into a woman — finally ready to shed the cocoon! That remains to be seen, but I paired the T-shirt with a straight skirt, not to be confused with a pencil skirt, which kind of tulips at the bottom (this one stays straight) and a pair of shoes from my own collection, Leandra Medine. They’re on sale, if you want them. No hard feelings if you don’t. But for my final trick…

Men’s Swim Shorts!

J.Crew shorts, $55.99

Jokes on me because I have a pair of Dries van Noten shorts that look exactly the same, which I bought last Spring. These ones are from J.Crew, and pretty competitively priced. The cool thing about mens shorts is that they kind of fit like skirts in that they’re straight and essentially disregard any pursuit of butt accentuation and so on and so forth. This is the reason I recommend that you pair them with a swing top, like this one from Stella McCartney, also borrowed for the shoot, but on sale (still not cheap, make no mistake) if you are interested in acquisition. The combo of straight, loose shorts and swing top create this nice ratio where your top is compensating for your shorts, but your shorts are trying to make their own point and there’s no mistaking it. Call it a healthy fight for attention.

You must be wondering why I’m running in the right-hand photo. I don’t have a good answer, but hey, here’s a slideshow of more details from this shoot if that’s of interest. Bye!

Photos by Edith Young.

Leandra M. Cohen

Leandra M. Cohen is the founder of Man Repeller.

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