Island Stylin’

Men’s Summer ’17 Style – Trends Every Guy Needs to Know

By SANDRA WEYANT | Jul 19, 2017

For the past 50 years, Sink ’R Swim Men’s Shop on Long Beach Island has been the fashion hot spot for men, locals and non-, to find the latest and greatest clothing trends for the year. Sam DiPietro and her family have owned the store for the last two years, and they have renovated the space and revamped the assortment, hoping to cater to “the 20-year-old grandson, the 50-year-old dad and the 70-year-old grandfather,” instead of targeting one specific age range or type of customer.

The DiPietros also own popular seafood/steakhouse Stefano’s, which has been serving the freshest seafood and cuts of meat to Islanders and guests for the last 30 years, along with Blue Water Café, situated next door to Sink ’R Swim. When the time came for the previous owners to retire from Sink ’R Swim, the DiPietros bought the building and the business and left it in Sam’s hands to let it continue to blossom.

With a background in fashion and a passion for men’s apparel, at just 23 years old she was up for the challenge. “When I was in college, I was an intern at Nautica in their PR department, and I learned so much there. I learned that I liked men’s clothing much more than women’s. It’s a little more straightforward, and you can have a little more fun with it. You don’t have to worry about so many different styles, more so perfecting the ones that are available. That helped me to open the men’s shop, and it has been an awesome opportunity to share with my parents,” DiPietro said.

Due to the spacious setup, DiPietro arranges specific rooms to evoke different styles or “vibes.” One room is focused on boating and fishermen – everything from the casual angler to “someone who is a little more serious.” There is an entire room dedicated to Tommy Bahama, one of the store’s top-selling beach brands. Customers can also find a “preppier” area with more sophisticated looks, and, finally, a surfing room, which carries several different clothing lines, including Manahawkin-based surf and skate brand Jetty.

“I never thought Jetty would be a part of this store, but I am so glad we have them here. I like to bring in smaller, newer brands that people don’t know about. It’s all about branching out and seeing what’s out there, for me and for our customers,” DiPietro said. Her goal is to help clients experiment with new styles and wear what truly makes them feel comfortable. With her expert advice and plethora of stylish outfits, every man will look and feel handsome wherever they go.

Here are some of the tops trends of the season:

It’s Happy Hour Somewhere. Among Sink ’R Swim’s bottoms are the customer-favorite “Happy Hour” shorts – its version of a pair of shorts men can wear in or out of the water. Quick-drying and lightweight, Happy Hour shorts resemble the look and feel of khakis (but better because they’re a bathing suit and a pair of shorts all in one).

“They are the best crossover short. Every brand has done their version of it. Southern Tide calls it Tide to Trail shorts; Tommy Bahama calls it Beach to Boardwalk shorts. They are very transitional, and for a place like Long Beach Island, it is the perfect idea. It also helps men to look a little nicer than just wearing bathing suit bottoms while they are out and about,” DiPietro said. She also expressed her jealousy about the fact that women do not really have convenient clothing options like Happy Hour shorts. One day.

Hunks in Trunks. Men can wear short shorts, too, you know. Lately, men are gravitating more toward “the trunk,” a style of short that features an elastic waistband and higher cut on the thighs. “It’s not about the longer, baggier styles anymore. Elastic waistbands, in general, are coming back,” DiPietro said. When it comes to summer clothing, comfort is always key.

RompHims: Why Not? First of all, what the heck is a RompHim? It’s a new take on women’s rompers, a shirt and shorts fused into a fashionable one-piece garment. Typically, these styles are popular among children, but adults have embraced them, too. RompHims also feature a zipper fly to make it easier for men to do their business without disrobing entirely (a perk that women are surely envious of). The grown-up onesie mimics the look of a short-sleeved button-up shirt and extends into mid-thigh shorts for an easy, breezy fit.

Match Made in Heaven. Looking to take your style to the next level with all-over prints? Even though DiPietro hasn’t included RompHims in her clothing assortment just yet, she offers outfits that provide a similar effect. To create the appearance of a RompHim, Sink ’R Swim sells matching printed tops and bottoms for customers to buy a complete set or mix and match to create their own masterpiece. “It’s not a one-piece, but it’s two that go together, and there are plenty of men who can pull off this look. If a matching set isn’t your thing, you can still purchase tops and bottoms as separates,” DiPietro said.

Comfy in Corduroy. Corduroy shorts, made of a soft, heavier fabric, are a great style to make a smooth transition from summer to fall, when it is still warm enough to keep your legs bare. “Believe it or not, people are loving it. It’s kind of a throwback. It changes things up, and it’s something different,” DiPietro said. Who wouldn’t love this cozy material?

Performance Is Everything. This summer, casual-cool is the desired look, and a lot of garments are designed with moisture-wicking performance fabrics to keep clothes dry and fresh in the intense heat. Similar to women’s fashion, the athleisure trend is on the rise in men’s apparel, as well. Women have comfortable leggings and yoga pants, and men have stretchy, sport-based options.

“The clothes don’t look technical, but they are. Super-light materials. Air vents, but you can’t tell. It just looks like a normal button-up shirt or regular shorts. In the summer, everything should be light … this is what men are looking for,” DiPietro said.

Put Your Party Shirt on. Remember those outlandish Hawaiian shirts with big, bold prints that a weird uncle was probably wearing at your last family barbecue? Well, he may have been onto something. These festive shirts – dubbed the “party shirt” by DiPietro – are all the rage now, but they have been modernized to appeal to men of all ages. Designed like a short-sleeved button-up, these looser-fit tops feature subtler prints – small flowers, tiny checks or polka dots – instead of huge florals or themes that are “loud and crazy.”

“It used to be looked at as something older people would wear, but now it’s definitely making a comeback. If customers don’t buy one of my matching sets, they almost always pick out a party shirt and pair it with a solid bottom for a more fun look,” DiPietro said. “The trend is only getting bigger. It has expanded so much now. It’s not only 20-year-olds who want to wear them when they go out; it’s really reaching everyone.”

The Return of the Dad Hat. No, you don’t have to be a father to rock a “dad” hat. Dad hats are characterized as baseball caps with an oversized fit and a curved brim. They are usually made out of canvas or cotton and can be solid-colored or stitched with random logos. Sometimes, they are intentionally faded to appear older and worn-in. Chances are you may remember this style from the ’90s or you recently picked one up as a souvenir while on vacation. It’s the one hat that looks good on everyone.

“A few years ago, no one was wearing them, and now men and women are proudly wearing them. We sell them the most, over trucker hats and regular flat-brimmed styles,” DiPietro said.

Boat Shoes That Will Knock Your Socks Off. Along with traditional boating shoes from the sea-inspired clothing retailer Sperry, Sink ’R Swim offers a new, sportier type of boating shoe from the same brand. The athletic-meets-casual shoe is 100 percent waterproof (are you sensing a theme here?) and intended to be worn without socks. To prevent them from retaining any odors, the shoes are equipped with air vents to allow water to filter out.

“This year, Sperry did something a little different because athletes were wearing Nike sneakers while out boating. The new shoe looks more like a running shoe, but it is completely a boating shoe. We sold so many of them so far. My dad hasn’t worn any other shoe in close to one month. You can even put them in the washing machine and they look brand-new again,” DiPietro said.

When it comes to merchandising the store, DiPietro considers both her summertime customers, many of whom frequent the family restaurant, along with the locals on the Island. She expressed that she does not want the men’s shop to feel like a tourist destination, but rather a one-stop shop for all men, all year long.

“I try to think about articles of clothing and decide first, if I like it, and second, do I know enough people who would like it, too. I also think about what people have asked for that we didn’t have, and I’m always looking to fill that gap,” DiPietro said. “I grew up down the block, and it was always a cool store, and I was happy to bring life back into it. Haven Beach is becoming a little community, and we always have cold brew coffee on tap in the store and a bunch of events to get our customers involved. It’s a lot of fun.”

Visit Sink ’R Swim Men’s Shop in Haven Beach to find clothing and accessories for every fella you know, or check out the website to learn more: sinkrswimlbi.com.

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