Compared to the relative safety of cold-weather clothing, summer style can be fraught for men. Between questionable flip-flops, bad tank tops, and ill-fitting swim trunks, opportunities for misguided dressing abound. But on the brighter side, there’s more room to be playful and experimental, too. To test out a few ways to take advantage of summer’s more expansive dress code, we enlisted Red Hook-based artist Ryan Scails — who recently closed a solo drawing and sculpture show, moonlights as an occasional model, and is developing patterns for his own handmade clothing and accessories on the side.
Scails’ love of design endeared him to the Mr P. by MR PORTER collection we styled him in. “I grew up thrifting for clothes at estate sales and flea markets with my parents,” he says, “and those outings gave me an appreciation for craft.” His appreciation for fit and variety played into the looks, as well. In his own fabrication work, he explains, “I try to make useful, liminal garments that aren’t bound by trends — my goal is for people to have fun and feel capable in their clothing.” An example: his androgynous, unfussy take on a bowtie. In that vein, see how Scails wears four fun, foolproof spring-summer looks below, no tanks or figurative flops in sight.
Take a More-Is-More Approach
Go all-out with the summer theme by channeling your inner Gilligan (bucket hat), Professor (double-breasted blazer), and Mr. Howell (designer slides). It might seem counterintuitive, but a floral shirt actually anchors the mashed-up elements. Just choose one that’s tailored, and with a pattern that works beyond vacation. “Olive shorts are a recurring fixture in my closet, so I felt pretty comfortable in this look,” says Scails, who’s now an orange-soda-colored hat convert, too.
Pare It All Down
In thinking about dressing for another “hot and gross” summer in New York, Scails says his instincts are to stick to boxy pieces that barely touch the body. Of course, some occasions call for a neater look. Slim things down in a dark, comfy-knit shirt that’ll conceal any inevitable summer sweat. (Note, as Scails does: “Three-quarter-length sleeves are underrated — they can really make a shirt.”) Add breathable, linen-blend pants with airy pleats, along with sleek leather sandals for even greater airflow.
Ride the Summer-White Wave
Scails says his personal style leans toward “utilitarian workwear with some techwear and preppiness mixed in.” In other words, this look hit the mark for two out of three. Because white is so visually stark, relaxed shapes and natural textures — like this modern fisherman sweater and bucket hat — help make a whole outfit of it wearable. A loosely tapered trouser adds comfortable crispness, and the cropped length gives way to a satisfying flash of color.
Make a Custom Matching Set
“My favorite look for sure,” Scails says about this one. He points out that “a chore coat gives you all the functionality — the key is finding one that’s actually different, and this one delivers.” To amplify this type of piece in a standout shade like this teal, pair it with a shirt that incorporates the same color. This one’s textured knit winks at the classic sweater set without being too literal. Offset the “matching” dynamic with an animal-print high-top that, thanks to its neutral tones, won’t compete.
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