by Suzanne Gerber

Men's Fashion - Staples for Sizzling Summer Style

You may think that picking up a few new T-shirts is all you need for a stylin' summer wardrobe. However, "creating a summer wardrobe is an ongoing process, not a one-day event," says AICI-certified image consultant Ann Lindsay, who, as founder of Style of Success , makes her living by helping sartorially challenged dudes upgrade their "visual credentials."

Trends come and go, but if you rely on the basics, you'll have a look that scores under the sun, summer after summer. The good news?

"It only takes a few inexpensive essentials to make a million-dollar look," says Lindsay. Pick up a few of these items for summer, and you'll have it made:

Hot Shirts for Summer

When in doubt, think polo. Although T-shirts are fine for ballparks and summer barbecues, any occasion that's more elegant deserves a collar. Classic polo shirts from Banana Republic, $35 to $45, are universally appropriate and adaptable. Think close-fitting, as opposed to the hiding-a-side-of-beef look. But when you do don a tee, remember: never baggy and never hanging below the top of your back pocket. Hugo Boss makes a classic T-shirt , $75, that's worth every dollar. Complement either with a lightweight, deconstructed blazer from H&M, $30, to get a look that's great for a date or dinner on the town. Roll up the sleeves and layer it over shorts.

The Shorts List

Rule No. 1: no shorts at work, unless you're a lifeguard or a caddie (at a casual club). It's hard to pull off a power image with your knobby knees poking out. But for the right social occasions, slip in to shorts and stick with khakis or tan slacks … or even a casual madras plaid. Go for a slim cut that falls just above the knee, like these smart shorts from Banana Republic, $35 to $55. And despite your self-perceived street cred, if you're not a rapper, shorts should never hit below the calf. Ever.

A Shoe Thing

Depending on your office dress code, personal comfort levels, and the presentability of your feet, choose between an always-smart penny or tassel loafer from Allen Edmonds, $325, or sporty white summer bucks from Cole Haan, $135.

Open-toe sandals are a tough look to pull off, and unless you're a renowned foot model, yours may not be up-to-snuff. General rule of thumb: Save the sandals for the beach, and the boat shoes for your yacht. But when you do raise anchor, do it in a pair of Sperry's classic boat shoes , $70. And we don't have to tell you that sneakers are the new Rolex. You virtually can't go wrong with a clean new trainer. Diesel's latest sneakers , $110, will up your game -- on the field or off.

Cool News

The mercury may climb above 90 F by day, but nights can be chilly, especially on the water or in the mountains. Under sail, choose a nautical theme like a deck jacket from Nautica, $50. For landlubbers, the ultimate grab-and-go is a sweatshirt or hoodie from J. Crew, $60, which will keep you warm and help you keep your cool.

Men's Fashion - Staples for Sizzling Summer Style