Outfits: Spring Cookout

Warm weather in my part of the world has me dreaming of cookouts and yard games.  This outfit uses muted colors to keep from being overly flamboyant but incorporates playful patterns and carefully chosen accessories to portray grownup style with just the right amount of whimsy.

LUENX Aviator Sunglasses ($18).  On a bright day, sunglasses are a crucial accessory.  I wear prescription sunnies like these from Zenni Optical, but for those with the option to choose based solely on style, I think cheap aviators are always a good choice.  The shape is classic and looks good on almost everyone.  

Hydro Flask Stainless Steel Tumbler ($25). Sure you could use a solo cup to drink your beer or cocktail.  But why would you when (1) beer tastes better cold and (2) this way no one will mistakenly steal your drink?
The Tie Bar Chambray Hankie ($11). Hankies are a must-have.  I never go anywhere without one. For more casual occasions, I love this chambray option which has a rougher, faded look instead of plain white.
LOYALLOOK Leather Bracelet ($10). I’m not a cool kid or even remotely bohemian.  But sometimes I like to pretend and a stacked bracelet like this is minimal enough to not scream “trying too hard”.  When you are wearing just a simple shirt and shorts, accessories go a long way towards adding interest to an outfit.  This bracelet is neutral and unisex.  At some point, I bet your girlfriend will steal this from you.
JINIU Canvas Belt ($10). Keep the belt as simple as possible.  You just want it to keep your shorts in place.  A simple canvas woven belt is affordable, comfortable and easy.
Haggar Men’s Micrographic Shirt ($17). A black short-sleeve shirt is perfect for a warm day in the spring.  The dark color will attract the sun, so if it’s breezy, you won’t end up chilled. The short sleeves keep you from getting too hot should the day feel muggy.   Also, black doesn’t show sweat marks if the blazing sun has you overheated or if you break a sweat playing a yard game.  Bonus: being somewhat of a klutz, I like dark colored shirts anytime the meal includes condiments like ketchup and mustard (also known as Stain and Worse Stain) because a stain doesn’t stand out as much as it would on a light colored shirt.  A black shirt paired with the wipes below keep an accident from being an embarrassment.  To keep the black from looking somber, I’ve picked a shirt with very small sharks on it.  Despite the dark color, the pop of teal blue and the almost abstract pattern make the shirt seem bright and fun.
Chubbies Shorts “The All Days” ($44).  Yes, you could wear jeans or khakis and that would be fine.  I opted for shorts because nothing says “weekend” and “cookout” like getting some sun on your knees.  British khaki colored shorts let your shirt get all the attention.  And when you have a shirt with sharks on it . . .
Handzies ($12.50) & Shout Wipes ($8). Accidents happen.  People spill drinks or a kid bumps into you just as you take a bite of your perfect hot dog and, whoops, now you are wearing mustard.  Even if YOU avoid the stain, someone else will inevitably end up with one.  Shout-to-go wipes come in handy little packets and one wipe is always more than enough to handle a stain.  I’ve used them for ketchup, mustard, soda, etc. and even on white shirts, they erase the stain like magic.  Handzies wipes also come in single-use packets.  If one of the kids comes and dumps a toad in your hands, you can wipe that slime off without tramping into the house and fighting for the sink.  Stash a few of each of these in your pocket and you’ll be set to save the day.
Gerber Dime Multi-Tool ($14). I like to carry a really small multitool instead of a knife sometimes.  The Dime is super small but has some practical tools on it.  You can cut that wayward thread off your girl’s shirt with the scissors, use the tweezers to remove a splinter after the tree-climbing race, or use the pliers to pick up the grate from the grill to add more coal.
Casio F-108WHC-7ACF Watch ($20). I always love the throwback look of a simple and cheap digital watch, but it’s especially fitting for a party situation with games.  The stopwatch feature lets you improvise games simply by adding a time element.  If there are a bunch of kids, you can have timed races, or see how high they can climb the tree in the backyard in 20 seconds, or see how many goals they can make in a minute.  The stopwatch function also helps you time the steaks, chicken, or veggies on the grill so you aren’t just guessing because “it looks done”.  Bonus: kids LOVE a watch that lights up.  You can get a lot of entertainment out of simply letting them push the button for the light.  And if you wear a cheap watch, you can lend it to the older kids without fear that they will destroy something valuable.  Cool uncle points for trusting them with your watch.
Field Notes Coastal Edition Notebook ($13).  Another EDC for me, pocket notebooks are always handy.  You can draw a quick sketch for the toddler to color on, keep score of the cornhole game, play hangman with the awkward 8-year-old, spend a few minutes sketching while you recharge your batteries, or maybe even just use the ruler to definitively determine who is closer in horseshoes.
Fisher Bullet Space Pen ($19).  What’s a notebook without a way to write in it? Handy for taking notes about details for grilling, or making diagrams for fort building, or playing that quiet game of hangman.  I pick a brighter color for outside events so if I drop it in the grass it’s easier to find.
Booda Tail-Spin Flyer ($9).  This is a floppy frisbee and made for dogs.  But I find it to be perfect for a game of catch with anyone young or old who is a little fearful of a hard frisbee hitting them in the eye.  Kids like it.  My girl likes it.  My mom likes it.  Crowd-pleaser.
Mohinder Men’s City Shoe ($145). Please don’t wear flip-flops.  You could wear sandals, boat shoes, or even canvas sneakers with this outfit.  I prefer something more grown up and with a little more class.  These handwoven leather shoes are perfect for a cookout.  The mesh weaving will keep your toes from overheating and the cushioned sole will keep you comfortable if you end up standing around for hours, either working the grill, playing games, or just chatting.  And instead of looking like a big kid, you’ll look like a guy with class.