There is just something about Memorial Day Weekend that makes you want to blast Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out.” It doesn’t matter how far removed you are from actually sitting in the classroom, Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer and all the awesomeness that comes with it—beaches, BBQs, beers, bikinis, other cool things that start with B.
Hopefully you’ll be barbecuing at least once over the three-day weekend. Even if it’s just a hot dog from the deli cooked on a tiny Hibachi on your fire escape it still counts. Just make sure that you consume some form of meat cooked on an open flame.
Whether you’re the guy lording over the grill, the guy in charge of tunes, or just Otto who likes to get blotto, it’s important to look sharp this weekend since it could set the tone for the rest of your summer in terms of future BBQ invites and future dates. So we pulled together all the clothes and gear you need to be prepared for your Memorial Day BBQ in our latest Lookbook.
1. J.CREW JAPANESE CHAMBRAY POPOVER SHIRT
This is quite possibly the ultimate summer party shirt. The popover style strikes that perfect balance between dressed up and casual. It’s got long sleeves that look great rolled up and transitions well when the temperature dips at night. And the chambray fabric, which comes from the Kaihara region of Japan, has the ideal weight and feel.
2. SUNSPEL MERINO CREWNECK SWEATER
It’s always a good idea to have a sweater at BBQs because they always start when the sun’s still out and continue into the night (at least the good ones do), so you’ll be thankful for the extra layer that this lightweight sweater provides. And even if you don’t get cold, you can be chivalrous (and earn some major points) by offering it to a lovely lady when she gets chilly in her sundress.
3. VUARNET 002 SUNGLASSES
Vuarnets were the shades in the 80s. Now, thankfully, the brand is making a comeback that pays homage to the classic styles but adds some modern updates. With their thin arms, minimal branding, and reflective flash lenses, you may be tempted to wear these sunglasses at night. Please resist the urge to do so.
4. KAUFMANN MERCANTILE BBQ SET
If you have the responsibility of manning the grill, know that everybody is judging you. Every guy who has ever cooked a hot dog likes to think he’s a Franklin Barbecue-esque prodigy. One way to impress the critics is with a legit set of tools. This 5-piece grill set will do the trick. Built at a 188-year-old factory in Massachusetts, they feel great in your hands as you stand over the fire and have great-looking rosewood handles. No one will even notice that the burgers are totally burned.
5. POLER FLOPPY CORD TENT HAT
Corduroy baseball hats are just cool, with their vintage feel and the way the material gets worn in over time. Something about this cap from Poler with its rudimentary tent graphic on the front patch, makes you want to sleep outside. Note that we said sleep, not pass out.
6. BURTON BEERACUDA
Summer calls for canned beer, of either the macro or microbrew variety. If you’re sick of being the guy who puts his beer in the cooler only to come back 15 minutes later to find them all gone, the Beeracuda is a great way to keep your six pack secure and cold. The insulated sleeve holds five cans and has a koozie on the strap for one more. Now you can only give beers to the people you want to, and you’re always ready to shotgun one (or not).
7. SATURDAYS EVAN SHORTS
Inspired by military fatigues, these ripstop cotton shorts have plenty of utility but still look polished, with patch front pockets and flap rear pockets. They are plenty rugged enough that you won’t sweat it if a little ketchup drips onto them.
8. VANS BRIGATA
Vans have been a go-to summer shoe for decades. The newest silhouette, the Brigata, deserves its place right alongside the classics. It’s a great mashup of a boat shoe and a skate shoe. The white won’t stay clean for long, but who cares? And the chambray polka dot lining is a sweet detail.
9. NIXON MINI BLASTER
If you’re hosting the BBQ, it’s a given that you have to have music. The tiny Nixon Mini Blaster packs plenty of sounds and is water resistant so if someone spills some beer on it, it’s not the end of the world. Even if you’re just a guest, this tiny speaker can come in handy if the host’s music sucks.