While a few aging hipsters with bad knees might bemoan the fact that skate and surf clothing is now being worn by people who have never shredded a pool, busted out a boardslide, or carved a wave, you can’t blame anyone for wanting to rock the style.
When done right, skate and surf wear is cozy, relatively affordable and most importantly, heavy on understatedly cool vibes. The secret to really nailing the look is to go with soft, natural fabrics and a muted yet optimistic color pallette (think sky blue, sherbert orange, and light grey.) Keeping with the bohemian leanings of these garments, you want to have plenty of room to move, so consider sizing up when you try stuff on.
Whether you remember bugging out to Rodney Mullen’s darkslides back in ‘93 or are just discovering the look now, these six breezy yet sophisticated surf and skate-inspired pieces can and should find their way into your summer rotation this season.
THE RIGHT STRIPES
If there’s anyone who was going to perfect the grown up skater/surfer look, it’s Brendon Babenzien, founder of NYC-based, beach prep-inspired brand Noah. While some of you might know/worship Mr.B based on his previous work as Supreme’s design overlord, you don’t need to be a hype beast to enjoy Noah’s totally wearable take on high end, vibey sportswear. Need proof? Check out the brand’s short sleeve cotton/linen striped shirts, made from luxe Italian fabrics that bring to mind a breezy, sun kissed version of a classic Missoni sweater.
ALL GOOD WITH A HOOD
The difference between a cool skater hoodie and a dorky hall monitor hoodie are subtle, but important. Zippers and loud graphics are a no, so keep things understated and classic with a solid colored hoodie from a heritage brand like Champion. Styled with some olive chinos and crisp canvas sneakers, you will never not look cool rocking a cozy minimalist hoodie, even if you can’t pop an ollie just yet.
We tend to think of plaid flannels as bulky and butch, but thanks to improvements in garment production, brands are finally cranking out summer weight flannels in a range of thin, cozy cottons. To really give your flannel that essential surfy vibe, look for something with a dreamy, muted colorway, and something that doesn’t pop so much as flow. To get a good idea of what we mean, check out this laid back blue/grey flannel from button down kings Gitman Vintage.
DIG DEEP, GO VINTAGE
You probably already know that Thrasher-branded hoodies and tees are definitely a thing right now, so much so that people who don’t know their Alien Workshop from their Alien: Covenant are now rocking them on various hype powered fashion blogs. Instead of following the herd, why not dig deep on eBay and find yourself a real deal vintage skate shirt from an iconic brand like Powell Peralta, Zorlac or H Street? Vintage tees often have that perfect mix of weight and softness that just can’t be faked or photoshopped and, if you invest in the right ones, you might make a mint in 20 years.
THE CLEANEST KICKS
Skate footwear has undergone quite a transformation since the early 2000s era of morbidly obese badunkadoo-style sneakers. Today, it’s all about slim silhouettes and elegant minimalism. If you’re a footwear fan, you probably already own a pair of Vans or three, so spice up your rotation with these retro-inspired Nike Janoskis. Simple but not plain, they can also be super work appropriate when paired with a nice oxford cloth button down and some easy fitting chinos.
We’re just wrapping up a decade-plus era of skinny jeans and all signs are pointing to a future where men’s pants are a bit looser and more relaxed. For perfectly on-trend skater slacks, do what real skaters have been doing since forever and cop a pair of straight leg, loose fit chinos from a heritage brand like LL Bean or Dickies and cuff them up at the bottom. For a nice, discreet fashion forward touch, you can even get yours with a pleat.