Beach Attire for Men

A Top to Toe guide to your
essential holiday wardrobe

The beach holiday is the ideal opportunity for men to ditch their regular, workaday wardrobe and really show off their peacock feathers. You’ve spent hours, days, weeks seeking out the holiday, you’ve finally booked it and now you can start planning how little you’re going to do when you get there and how fabulous you and your man are going to look doing it.

So leave those work shirts behind in the laundry bin and put those funny Hawaiian shirts on the reject pile. Book him a pedicure (you’ll both be grateful) and take a look at our ideas for the perfect casual beach wear selection for men. Thankfully, there’s plenty of smart casual wear for guys out there that’s both stylish and functional.

Top Sun Hats for the Smart Casual Men

Let’s start at the top... a well-dressed head is a must. With the depletion of the ozone layer men’s sun hats have never been a more vital part of his holiday wardrobe. Here are a few ideas for types of sun hats that act as perfect accessories for any smart casual beachwear.

Bucket Hat Go coolio with this look... cotton, breathable and packable.

Straw Hat A timeless icon. Summer just wouldn’t be summer without one of these nearby. It complements any casual beachwear, its wide brim protecting the face from the sun too. Perhaps tricky in the wind but chasing it along the beach will keep him fit.

Panama Fedora A trusted classic that instantly transports you to the days of plucky colonials in exotic foreign lands. It’s stylish and elegant and can be worn with or without a headband - both ooze understated style and add sophistication to every man’s summer smart casual dress codes.

Choosing the Best Lightweight Long Sleeve Shirts for Summer

So, the countdown to your vacation has started and you’re getting more excited by the minute. Brimming with sun-kissed daydreams you cast your eye over his wardrobe…. and suddenly you’re transported to a wet weekend in a dreary seaside town where the pier’s collapsed. Those shirts. Oh dear me, those shirts.

The majority of visitors who come ashore on Indigo Island tell us that women end up packing the holiday suitcase for the men in their lives – the husbands, the boyfriends, the sons. Why? Well it’s partly down to the fact that many men view packing as merely an irritating detail, a bit like thinking ahead or asking directions. But also - and this is the clever bit - offering to pack the holiday suitcase for him gives her the opportunity to edit out ‘those’ embarrassing outfits, consigning them to the laundry bin of history. Rather than frighten the Customs Officer or provoke the wrong kind of stares on the beach, best to prevent such items from even leaving the house in the first place.

The shirt is the signature of a man’s holiday look and there are plenty that fit into the category of what he would consider smart casual wear, that is if he’s the sort of man who uses phrases like “smart casual wear”, or even “semi-formal attire.” We at Indigo Island welcome fusspots and dandies alike and we specialise in designing and making high-quality block printed shirts for men.

Our shirts are all made from finely woven cotton cambric, giving them softness and even grain. The fabric falls beautifully – perfect for cool, comfortable summer clothing.
The cotton is hand block printed from intricate mirror image wood blocks that have been expertly carved by our team of skilled artisans in Jaipur, India. There is one block for each layer of colour and are carefully printed on the fabric by hand. The shirts are all hand cut and tailored, so that the patterns match across the plackets and pockets, giving them a seamless quality.

We designed these shirts to take him from the beach to the bar, from ocean to outback and from sand dune to sundowner. We promise to lower his pulse rate, cool him down and dude him up.

But a word of warning: if he leaves it lying around he risks the lady in his life nicking it... wearing the boyfriend’s shirt is definitely as on trend this year as it was last.

The Bottom Half for Men’s Summer Fashion

Now obviously a man’s beach look isn’t complete until he’s got the legs covered… or uncovered. The team here at Indigo Island have gathered our thoughts and picked out the best ideas to get you in perfect shape below the belt, which let’s face it is the engine room of your man’s smart casual wear holiday wardrobe.


When it’s time to take a dip...

Over the years, male swimwear has seen various iterations from a unitard in the 1920’s, short shorts in the 1960’s, to even shorter shorts in the 1970’s. But let’s drape a discreet towel over that particular era, shall. we?

Today, happily, an enormous range is available but whatever the chosen length of swimwear it ought to be able to carry him through an entire day... so choose a fabric that will dry quickly.

While there are styles available to suit every budget and every thigh, we favour ‘mid-length’ swimming shorts. Tanned legs deserve their place in the sun, so get those pins out there... choose a colour that will suit his skin tone but exercise caution with some of the bolder prints.

Comfort is a vital consideration too, the inner mesh shouldn’t be cotton and neither should any drawstring cord... otherwise fraying can occur. PLEASE avoid plastic detailing, it looks cheap. And talking of cheap, never – ever - Budgie Smugglers. Got that?

Pay as much attention to his choice of swimwear as you do to his gorgeous holiday shirts and all will be well.


The fashion Gods have spoken and have decreed that this year smart casual men are expected to be wearing shorts to the knee... Hurrah, no more skimpy shorts down below with loud Hawaiian shirts blaring out up top!

Luckily, we at Indigo Island have just the answer. Our soft linen shorts with button fly and a proper leg length (no skimpy hot pants on our Island, thank you very much), have come ashore in three colours: Pacific Navy, Aegean Sky and Nantucket Sound. Available in five sizes, from Small (30” waist) to XXL (38” waist), they can be teamed easily with any Indigo Island shirt.

To the Trouser Department 

So he’s got his swimwear and his shorts sorted, both of which look great with a fabulous Indigo Island shirt. But when the sun goes down it’s time for a change of look. Luckily our Indigo Island shirts are fantastically versatile, perfect for relaxing poolside by day and then for playing by night. But he might want to slip into something longer.

Again, the fit is everything here too. If they don’t fit properly, he’ll never wear them. Check the detail, look inside the trousers to see how the seams are constructed. If the seams aren’t flat then the outside seams won’t lie properly.

Back in the 1800s men began to favour linen trousers in the hotter climates of the world realising that it breathes so well, reducing uncomfortable and let’s face it unsightly sweatage. Chino’s are also a good option if the evening is likely to cool.

Remind him that the word Lightweight, in this context, is a compliment and although practically every colour under the sun being available, we would opt for white, navy or any pastel shade... these will work with any type of relaxed holiday shirt for vacation even those tropical men’s shirts we’re trying not to mention. Oh alright, if he has to wear a Hawaiian shirt at least make his trousers look good. Or are they ‘pants’ rather than ‘trousers’? Well,
that’s a topic for another time. For now, let’s tilt down and look at his tootsies

Shoe Choices in Men’s Beachwear

You’ve got almost everything you need to prepare your husband/ boyfriend/son for his well-earned holiday, but he can’t go barefoot, at least not all the time...

Flip flops The good old flip flop is back on the boardwalk. While they allow sand between the toes all day long, a pair of leather sliders are even more versatile, enabling a perfect transition from the beach to the bar for evening cocktails and maybe back to the beach for that barbecue under the stars – Ted Baker, Paul Smith or Lanvin all have great collections. 

Loafers Since we’re now past sunset and if flip flops or sliders aren’t in order, then consider the espadrille, the deck shoe or even the sneaker. But maybe guide him towards a suede loafer this year. Soft, friendly, a huge range of colours on offer but remember, the socks, if they’ve travelled with you at all, stay in the cupboard. Footwear on holiday, like the vacation itself, is all about relaxed breathing.

Accessories for Smart Casual Men on Holiday

To complete your ideal summer casual dress code for men, here are a few accessories to consider.

Throwing Some Shade

Sunglasses may be a year-round accessory these days but what better excuse than going on vacation to put a slick new pair of shades on your shopping list. Remember... good sunglasses also protect your eyes from the sun, so there are a few things to bear in mind before settling on a pair. It’s essential that you do your homework. More expensive doesn’t necessarily mean better so you certainly don’t need to buy the pair that cost the same as that private jet you’ve got your eye on.

Our tips… You’re in the store. You’ve put on a pair of giant purple goggles that Elton John probably turned down in 1972. Of course the Sales Assistant is going to tell you look fantastic in them – that’s what they’re paid to say. So, make sure you have that trusted someone with you on this particular shopping expedition to help choose them with you. Someone who will give you an honest opinion when you pop them on – obviously not the Someone who
told you that your bum did indeed look big in those jeans, because you haven’t actually spoken to her since.
And do check that the shades have 100% UV protection, that’s key. Don’t be drawn in by darker lenses. Darker doesn’t really mean more protection. And be sure to buy polarised lenses for driving and for water sports, they reduce reflections dramatically. Follow these top tips and you’ll look lip-smackingly SPECtacular!

Here on Indigo Island we think you can’t go too far wrong with choosing from one of the established brands, such as RayBan, Persol or Armani. Moscot x END have some cool styles, too.

Belt up

“Darling, have you seen that belt I like to wear with my semi-formal attire?” is a phrase no-one should have to hear, except perhaps in court when citing reasons for the divorce. Going on holiday is the moment to have some fun with his midriff – allow the belt to show off his personality. Woven leather, fabric webbing, tooled leather, exotic skins, printed straps…. the options are many, varied and tempting. So there’s absolutely no excuse to wear an eye-shuddering formal belt when everything else on the body is winking ‘Casual.’  Tell him it’s either a new belt, or you’re leaving him for Piers at the tennis club. Remember:  Beltless is always better than a belt that’s even one single notch in the wrong direction.

Keeping Time

Why bother with a watch? You’re here to relax. And no-one likes a tan line. Just lie back and let time float by. But if he really needs to know the time tell him to stick a twig in the sand and create a sundial. It’ll be the talk of the beach and everyone will tell him he’s sophisticated.

Beach Basket

We love to see a man with one of those long leather handled straw baskets slung over his shoulder, stuffed full of sun cream, books, tangled headphones and the half tonne of magazines you popped in it without him noticing… essential paraphernalia for a day on the beach.

Last word

So there he is, the very opposite of suited and booted – casual, stylish and looking 100% relaxed. Just what we like on Indigo Island. We’ve no doubt that you’ll have planned your own holiday wardrobe meticulously. Now with the help of our guide maybe you can help him surprise himself with some exciting new ideas for the beach, the boat and the sunset bar. And to start the vacation on just the right note (and to make yourself feel better about the six outfits you’ve bought for yourself) we suggest you present him with a gift – the perfect holiday shirt from Indigo Island.

Footnote: if you’ve read this far you’re probably wondering why this article is peppered with peculiar phrases you don’t
actually use in real life. It’s all to do with SEO. Which is a thing.