Okay, folks: we're in the throes of summer, and it's time for a butch fashion refresher. (Note: The exception to these is Pride, where you can break any fashion rules you want. I say: if full frontal nudity is accepted, your belt and shoes don't have to match.)
1. Now is a perfect time to go shopping for summer stuff, because it's all on clearance! I love waiting till a season's underway, then snagging the good stuff for half price.
2. Athletic shorts are to be worn only if you are doing something athletic. Going out to dinner does not qualify as "athletic." (Hiking shorts are a different matter--I'm talking about mesh or nylon basketball or running-type shorts.)
3. White belts are IN, and so are light grey ones. Pair with light-colored pants or shorts, and shoes that are not completely black. Check out the photo at the right. Soooo hot!
4. Experiment with lighter fabrics, like linen and seersucker. They're actually kind of fun. If you don't know where to start, try cream-colored linen shorts or a seersucker button-up shirt.
5. No pleated shorts (please).
6. Boat shoes and deck shoes are in. Wearing them with socks is out.
7. It's perfectly acceptable to wear black socks with athletic sneakers if all three of the following apply: (1) the socks are athletic-type and barely go above your ankle; (2) A significant portion of your shoes is black; (3) Your shoes are not the least bit dressy.
8. It can be hard to find men's shorts that aren't absurdly long. If you have this problem, too, check out--I kid you not--the golf shorts at a fancy department store. Most are dorky, but some are awesome. Plus they have secret pockets. Another place to look: "outdoorsy" stores like REI. Many hiking shorts are versatile enough to be worn anywhere.
9. Choose short-sleeve button-up shirts made of light material, and not too wide in the sleeve. You're going for this look, not this one.
10. Get goofy. Summer's a great time to experiment with colors and patterns you wouldn't ordinarily wear. So break some of your usual rules--heck, break some of mine, too--and go have fun!