Ralph Lauren's Polo lines have always played a key role in my wardrobe, not just for their timeless goods, but also because of their styling. A lot of my personal style developed because of key looks the RL team has put together over time. Here's their latest for Spring/Summer 2011. A lot of what I wear is very similar to this, but believe you me, Mr. Lauren's photos are much better quality than my own.
White Pants are essential when the weather heats up, not only do they keep you cool, they look good with just about anything. Madras ties are a great way to keep color apparent in your wardrobe. at work or around town. They have also nicely paired this outfit with the goes-with-anything brown tassel loafers and tan jacket.
Not just for St. Patrick's Day, green pants (and bright pants in general) are an awesomely loud way of declaring your affinity for all things warm weather (boating, golf, gin and tonics, tennis, croquet, margaritas, pool parties, etc.). Notice how a usually prominent purple shirt is actually mellowed by the brightness of the pants. Use this to your advantage and pair light or faded colors with bright colors up top or vice versa. As you can tell, tassel loafers and a tan jacket are becoming a theme here. I have a tan Prince of Wales check Brooks Brothers jacket in a lightweight wool that I wear in the exact same situations you see above.
The key to pulling off pants in bright colors like this is understanding how to pair different colors together. Purple and green work well here because they are similar in tone and brightness, they are also somewhat complementary on the color scale. The tie serves to pick up the colors in the outfit and the jacket serves as a neutralizer, keeping the colors from running wild yet also allowing them to pop. I like the idea of wearing your sunglasses in your chest pocket, but I still think there ought to be a pocket square behind them.
Sometimes you have to wear a suit outside and endure the heat. Whether it be a wedding or a social function it's best to use the advantages of a cotton khaki suit to keep you cool while you enjoy yourself (and subsequently watch everyone else melt in their darker colors and heavier fabrics). Keep it simple like the look shown above with a blue or white shirt, a simple but slightly darker tie and some nice shoes.
Getting a little more casual now, I'll introduce you to some properly jaunty GTH pants. When you wear these, balance is of the utmost priority. It's very easily to overdo this look. The boat shoes, OCBD and bow tie are simple and ground the pants enough to both become the focal point of the outfit (which is the point after all) and also still enjoy a casual not-too-stuffy air.
I'll be honest with you, most of the time on the weekends when I go out during the day and it's 90 to 100 degrees, I'm not wearing pants and a jacket. I'm wearing shorts and a shirt. This is the proper way to do summer shorts while still looking decent in case you should you maybe run into a client or decide to have lunch at a nice place. The obvious reason this outfit shines is the tassel loafers, which are shiny in their own right. The crisp shirt is more formal than a polo and works well with the tailored shorts.
When you're on the links, at a BBQ, a pool party, or even just running some errands, a polo and shorts are the way to go. It's simple, timeless, and just looks good. Throw on some white bucks (dirty, since you actually wear them and don't spend hours fretting over scuffs and such, just rub them together every once in a while to get the major ones out) or some boat shoes to finish it off. This and the above outfit are really the opportunities to go full GTH with bright bold colors above and below. They're also great for breaking out and displaying any nice surcingle or D-ring belts you've got lying around.
I love me some tennis, but when the sun is beating down on your head and the temperatures literally are hot enough to cook an egg, the only way to play is in all white everything. Keep your polo trim in pique cotton, your shorts short in cotton or mesh, and your sneakers crisp with white socks.
The outfits above are ones that will work in just about any situation you're likely to encounter in the warm months. I'll be showcasing some more Spring/Summer looks from various other marques in the weeks to come.