When you go on a beach vacation, especially if it’s with your lady, you have to dress like a man who knows what he is doing.
You will be spending time with her - going to the beach, going out for meals - make sure you have the clothes that fit the occasions and leave her impressed with your dress sense.
I’m just back from my honeymoon in Mexico. With this experience fresh in mind, I learnt a few dos and don’ts for how to look stylish with minimum effort on a seaside holiday.
Below are 6 secret clothing items that you should take with you, that will make you look great and feel relaxed.
First of all, remember your baggage limits.
Check with your airline if you have any doubts. Whether you are going to the Caribbean, or the Mediterranean, or to Thailand, the limits are likely to be different.
You have to either be select or pay extra. My advice is to choose quality over quantity.
To rock this vacation, it is worth investing in some dedicated summer clothing.
Consider taking at least two of each of these shirts. They won’t go wrong:
Patterned short-sleeve shirt
I love patterned summer shirts. I sadly had to leave some behind, but I made the most of what I took with me!
These can be really outrageous, or they can be pretty subtle. Go with your gut, and your personality.
Be aware that these do shout “tourist.” You will never be incognito, and might attract pick-pockets and higher prices. Also, remember they really only work on the coast and will look out of place if you go inland.
However, sitting drinking tequila margaritas on the beach - you will look great!
Long-sleeved linen shirt
For when you go out at night time, consider a long-sleeved shirt. If you want to look the part, consider a guayabera.
Guayaberas are the typical Caribbean shirt - usually white or cream, with vertical designs on both front shirt panels. These look smart. Chose a loose fit, and don't tuck it in. This makes them cool and comfortable in hot weather.
Linen is arguably the best material to go for. Linen is a material made from fibers of the flax plant, and this fine cloth works particularly well in hot temperatures. Cotton also works, but it doesn’t have the same cooling properties as linen.
Have a look in Uniqlo - they have a decent, cheap, linen selection.
There are other options you might consider. If you are going into the jungle, or want to hike to some local ruins, a safari shirt is going to be a useful thing to pack.
Another option is the collarless shirt. These are a great casual-but-smart option.
For my holiday, I invested in comfortable flip-flops (I have a high arch so found a beautiful pair with well-shaped cork sole and soft, fabric strap, but for many people plain Havaianas do the trick) and a pair of classic looking leather sandals (again with great arch support!). Birkenstock are a popular option to try out.
Keep the flip-flops for the beach and the pool. There are better options for when you go out and about.
Remember to break them in. They have to be comfortable, or you will need band-aids. These likely cover 95% of the time you are in a hot country at the beach.
For the other 5%, I wore some Reebok sneakers. These were fine for the flights, but I wished I had taken some nice sneakers or shoes for my trip.
In one hotel I couldn’t wear sandals into the restaurant (not even my lovely new leather ones!) so I had to go with my black sports sneakers with my white linen pants. Looked awful!
One option I wish I had considered is to have invested in some nice leather sneakers.
I could have gone for more all-terrain sneakers - like these white leather Reids. These are comfortable and look great both when casual and better dressed.
Another great option would have been espadrilles. These are the ideal shoe for hot weather while still looking classy.
They are a light shoe, made from a cloth fabric, with an esparto rope sole.
These can be worn without socks, but better to invest in some ankle socks, or shoe liners (socks invisible above the shoe line) which will keep your shoes odor-free.
If you are going to need something a little smarter, try some loafers. They have that Mediterranean feel if you wear them with summer clothes.
Loafers are slip-on leather shoes. They are naturally airy.
Loafers look great with linen pants, or even go with shorts. These will definitely be worth their baggage space if you are planning to attend more formal events, or go to an expensive city restaurant.
You will see that most guys on their beach vacation have taken a baseball cap. Not good enough!
There are beautiful hats which are perfect for hot weather, above all those made from natural materials such as canvas, hemp, or straw.
A Panama Hat is the ideal hot-weather headgear.
Panama hats are made from natural materials, so they don’t heat up. They have a good-sized brim, which keeps the sun off your face and neck.
Good Panama Hats are also flexible, and so you can use them to fan away the mosquitos or to help cool down!
And they look amazing.
They come in a variety of forms. Depending on your skin-tone, and face-shape, you can find a Panama Hat which suits you. Follow this link for my full blog post on How to Choose a Panama Hat.
One final bonus clothing item to consider is getting some quick-drying trunks. Since they dry quickly, you can get away with one pair - but I bought two pairs.
Why not give yourself a little choice? They don’t take up much weight in the baggage.
Suitsupply makes some decent ones. Saturdays also. Hartford as well. If you want to splurge then Orlebar Brown or Vilebrequin.
Buy clothes that make you happy
It’s easy to buy beachwear. There is a huge difference when you buy high-quality beachwear, though.
You may have to spend a little more, but you will feel more comfortable. If your clothes are made from natural fabrics, by professionals, you can be confident that you look good. Minimum effort.
So, dress well, relax, and enjoy a wonderful vacation.