The Beach Boys vs. The Hives: Style Guide

By Playboy.com Staff

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We compare the style of two of the biggest boy bands: The Beach Boys and The Hives.


In 1977, the late Dennis Wilson was asked when he thought The Beach Boys would stop making music. Dennis thought about it and replied, "I can tell you the day The Beach Boys will no longer exist — never. We'll be on stage in wheelchairs." Dennis may have passed on, but that answer still holds true today. Last week The Beach Boys released their 30th album, That’s Why God Made the Radio, something no one was anticipating. On the same day, the garage punk rock band The Hives also released a highly anticipated album, Lex Hives. Sure, this isn’t a battle of boy-band proportions and none of us are taking to Twitter to defend either of these bands’ honor, but these two groups of men are not only known for their kickass music, they’re also notorious for their very eclectic style. Instead of splitting hairs over whose album was better like we did with Madonna and Iron Maiden, we’re going to let their style speak for itself.

“I heard about all the pretty girls / With their grass skirts down to their knees, / All my life I wanted to see / The island called Hawaii” – “Hawaii”

If you’re going to buy a Hawaiian shirt, you may as well just give in entirely. Hawaiian shirt masterminds Tommy Bahama understand that although you may be wearing a shirt littered with flamingos and dancing girls, that doesn’t mean you should be wearing cotton so rough it will rip apart your skin. Their “Island State of Mind Camp” shirt ($110) is made with a breezy and soft silk that will have you wishing you had a bottomless Mai Tai and a few spam musubi to go along with it. Just don’t make wearing these shirts a thing, okay? The key here is moderation. 

“Grab your girl hit the road head on down to the beach, / You'll be comin' home with sand in your shoes” –“Keepin’ the Summer  Alive”

It’s no surprise that if you’re going all out with an outlandish shirt, you’re going to have to level it out with a pair of nicely tailored pants. If you’re going from work to the beach, chances are you’re strapped for what you can and can’t wear to work, unless you’re working on the boardwalk at a surf shop. A pair of chino shorts is your best bet if you’re hoping to wear a pair of shorts to work without offending your coworkers. They’re breezy, long enough to please the dress code and look great in any setting. A pair of Westpoint chino shorts ($120) in olive works perfectly with the Hawaiian shirt above and will also match more normal t-shirt choices throughout your week.

“You'd seem 'em wearing their baggies, / Huarachi sandals too” – “Surfin’ USA”

Just kidding, we’re not going to suggest Huarachi sandals. But going along the same laid-back vibe, we are going to pair this relaxed look with a comfortable yet contemporary sneaker. High-fashion menswear designer John Varvatos has teamed up with Converse shoes to design a pair of sneakers and slip-ons which aim to marry high fashion and the comfort you can only find in the Converse brand. Fixed with tan leather trim along the canvas-and-leather shoe, the cobblestone Jack Purcell sneakers ($160) are great.

The Hives

“You're looking at a black and white, Seeing our name in lights” – T.H.E. H.I.V.E.S

With this band, there’s not much color you can play around with. In fact, they’re notorious for only wearing black and white. Sure what they wear will change by the album, during The Black and White Album they rocked a school uniform look and their latest album Lex Hives has them wearing matching formal white tie evening wear with top hats. It may be warm, but if you want to get the dapper look of Howlin' Pelle Almqvist you’re going to have to suck it up and wear a slim fitting white dress shirt. We adore the Gucci Jacquard shirt with mother-of pearl cufflinks and tonal embroidery at the waist. Feeling playful? Roll those sleeves up to the elbow.

"You searched the globe for them perfect looks, And you searched for answers in all your books" – Diabolic Scheme

To level out the blinding white long sleeve shirt, pair it with a nice pair of A.P.C. black trousers ($115). It sounds boring doesn’t it? At least you’ll get all of the attention from the girls once the weather is warm and every second guy decides that wearing surf shorts is acceptable outside of the water park. Maybe keeping it simple does have its upsides right? If all else fails, and people find it odd you’re wearing this semi-formal outfit, you can always say you are a defunct band member who has lost his way to the local bar. Girls love that stuff.

“You dress up for Armageddon, I dress up for summer” – You dress up for Armageddon

So we’ve already confirmed that there’s not much to play with if you’re going with this look, but picking a nice looking pair of shoes is always exciting. Okay, maybe not “winning the lottery” exciting, but you’ll get that familiar consumer high if you find just the right pair. If you’re going to go all out with this Hives look, pick up K Subi’s Black Vachetta Buckley Boots ($340). They’re high top, they’re Portuguese and they’re leather so there’s little, if anything, to hate about them.

Verdict: Neither of these looks works for everyone, but once you find your own inner Beach Boy or Swedish Rocker, you’ll figure out what outfit works best for you. 


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