We've seen a lot of gear — and tested a good percentage of it. Think of the Summer Gear Awards as the upper echelon of GP-approved products. In the style and grooming category we have, as you might guess, garments, accessories and all kinds of hair and skin stuff. From the top T-shirt and sunscreen to the superior slides and the best beater watch, it all lies below.
Made in Los Angeles, this shirt has a 6.5-ounce American-cotton fabric that is garment-dyed with natural enzymes — that means it’ll feel broken-in from the first wear. It features a generous fit and high neck line.
Unstructured shorts aren't it! Yes, they're comfortable — ah, basketball shorts — but they pair well with very few tops. As such, opt for something sturdier, like Alex Mill's Pull on Button Fly Shorts. They're made from 97-percent cotton and 3-percent spandex (for some stretch) and feature five pockets — two big ones on the front, two on the back and an extra snap closure on just below.
These iconic board shorts feature Birdwell's tough double-layered SurfNyl nylon fabric. They come with a button fly, adjustable nylon drawstring waist, snap back pocket with a key loop and top-notch triple-stitch construction throughout. After wearing for many seasons, these only get better.
Made for warm-weather wear with a comfortable dose of stretch tossed in, these come in four classic colors and are cut in a perfectly tapered silhouette. Oh, and they’re made in the U.S. for just under a hundred bucks.
A lightweight lotion (deserving of the term ‘serum’, for that fact), this face sunscreen makes an invisible, breathable shield over top of your moisturizer. It won’t clog your pores, or feel like a big greasy film over top the skin. It’s topped-up with Vitamins E and B5, which together prevent inflammation, soften skin, and keep it hydrated. Don’t mistake this one for a moisturizer per se, though it’s my favorite hydrating SPF for a midday sunny-weather refresh since it packs both nourishing and defensive ingredients.
These mid-weight linen-cotton blend trousers are brand new from British designer Oliver Spencer's eponymous label. They fit in a relaxed way, with room in the crotch and calves but no synthetic stretch. There's an internal drawstring that eliminates the need for a bulky belt, stash pockets on the front and two buttoned flap pockets on the back. Best of all, they've been dyed a rich, deep designer blue hue dubbed Linton Ink Blue.
There's no going wrong with Timex's diver-inspired Q Reissue, an upgrade upon a 1979 classic. The case width is 38 mm; it's attached to a woven stainless steel bracelet; and the bezel rotates.
Vans' Classic Slip-On is casual California style at its finest. They come in an array of cool colors, but Drizzle, as this hue's been dubbed, is subtle without being drab. Plus, the canvas is ultra-durable.
When you buy one of L.L. Bean's Boat and Totes, be prepared to own it forever. Cut from heavy-duty 24 oz cotton canvas, it stands up on its own, and to whatever you put inside it. (Its handles are proven to support up to 500 pounds.)