Summer's coming, so get ready to show some ankle, gentlemen!
RULE 1: Never mix patterns.
You don't want to wear stripes with plaid, or checks with a print. So if you're wearing patchwork madras shorts, you want to wear them with something solid and not too bright.
RULE 2: Know your limits.
If you're wearing a pair of multicolored boat shoes, that should be the only pattern going on. That should be the eye-catching element to the outfit.
RULE 3: Comfort conquers.
Things like madras shorts are not only cool but also really comfortable. They're preppy, but with an edge.
RULE 4: Lose the socks.
From May to September, if you're wearing shorts...no socks. If you're wearing boat shoes...no socks.
RULE 5: Slim is in.
Whether it's a polo shirt, shorts, or pants, slim cuts are much more appealing. You don't want anything too oversize or baggy, but you also don't want it so tight that it's restricting.
RULE 6: Old is new.
Try to keep things weathered and comfortable. Anything too crisp and new looks, well, too crisp and new. If you have a bright bottom, wear a faded top.
RULE 7: Remember, it's sportswear.
All this stuff originally served an actual function. These clothes came from cricket, rowing, rugby, boating.
RULE 8: Four simple words.
I'd define American summer style as relaxed, cool, easy, and fun.
RULE 9: Oxford rules.
A washed, solid, untucked Oxford shirt goes great with anything from grass-green chinos to a pair of white jeans.
RULE 10: Preppy lives.
It's a distinct style, but it takes twists and turns. Right now slim silhouettes are in, but in a few years it may loosen up. Faded and washed is in, but next year it could be crisp and new.
RULE 11: When all else fails...
Be like JFK!