Take It From a Woman: Magnum P.I. Should Be Your Summer Style Inspiration
All you need to do now is grow a mustache
Nota bene: If you buy through the links in this article, we may earn a small share of the profits.
My grandmother’s dream man is Tom Selleck. I know this because every time I talk to her, he somehow comes up.
“I like tall men. Like Tom Selleck.”
“Tom Selleck was my favorite — he was so manly.”
And recently, she told me that after Selleck appeared in a speedo on an episode of Magnum P.I., the next day it was all the women at her work could talk about.
Tom Selleck? In a speedo? Of course, I was intrigued! And with quarantine chugging along, I was desperate for another show to binge.
The original Magnum P.I. that aired from 1980-1988 starred a tall, hairy and dreamy Tom Selleck in the role of Thomas Magnum, a private investigator solving crimes, speeding around in his red hot Ferarri and sporting incredible short shorts on the gorgeous Hawaiian islands.
Honestly, I couldn’t give two shits about the show itself. The acting is terrible, and the female characters are portrayed exclusively as overly sexualized love interests or entirely hysterical, helpless women. But the reason I keep watching is for the same reason I started: Thomas Magnum and his impeccable style.
In the traditional sense, you can’t get any “manlier” than Tom Selleck. Thankfully, though, what we deem “masculine” has altered since 1980. What it means to be a man is not all about toting guns, rescuing damsels in distress, or even having chest hair. That said, men’s fashion has in some ways retreated since the ’80s. The same short shorts Selleck donned would be sneered at today — and have, by people who actually had the audacity to tell Selleck his shorts were too short on the show.
If it hasn’t been clear by now, I and many others are in support of Selleck’s length of short. But it’s not just about the shorts, it’s his entire ensemble — the breezy, bold-patterned, big-collared Hawaiian shirt paired with a nicely-fitted (short) khaki short, finished with a white boat shoe, a pair of oversized sunglasses and a “Pepsi” Rolex. It’s the simple yet incredibly sexy, laidback warm-weather look you should be taking a few notes from when crafting your summer wardrobe.
So below is a breakdown of Magnum P.I.’s closet, featuring items inspired by some of Selleck’s iconic looks, so you can become the next object of my grandmother’s affection.
Magnum is known for his eye-catching Hawaiian shirts that are conveniently buttoned just enough to expose all that glorious chest hair. A loose-fitting button-down is an obvious staple of your summer wardrobe, but Magnum also sports his fair share of muscle tanks and fitted polos (unbuttoned all the way down of course) that are just as essential.
California Cowboy The High Water Bird of Paradise
Arturo Muscle Tank in Faded Black
Lacoste Regular Fit Lightweight Cotton Polo
Corridor Tea Olive Single Piece Polo
The (Short) Shorts
We’ve already berated you about why your shorts need to be shorter, so here are a few short shorts reminiscent of the short shorts-king himself: an “anti-ball-crushing” khaki, a four-inch running short, a pair of classic white shorts and a tiny swim trunk (but know the speedo is always an option.
Lululemon Commission Short 5″ Warpstreme
Rhone 4″ Swift Knit Short – Lined
J. Crew 5″ Stretch Short
The Day Short Riad Tech
Magnum pretty much wears only two types of shoes throughout the show: a dashing white boat shoe and a pair of white PUMA Men’s Easy Riders that are almost sold out on Amazon, so if you can’t snag them, any pair of white, low top sneakers you can comfortably chase criminals down in works too.
Todd Snyder + Sebago Portland in White
Roma Classic Gum Men’s Sneakers
Our P.I. invariably showed off his Detroit Tigers baseball cap throughout the series (but even if you’re not a Tigers fan, any one of these neatly-designed caps will block out those rays). What else? A slim belt to keep those shorts up, a pair of Vuarnet shades (the heritage French sunglass brand Selleck wore in the show), and a newer edition of Selleck’s ever-iconic Rolex GMT-Master Pepsi.
Detroit Tigers Classic Team Front 9Twenty
Vuarnet District 1908
Rolex GMT Master II
Nylon Webbing Belt
We've put in the work researching, reviewing and rounding up all the shirts, jackets, shoes and accessories you'll need this season, whether it's for yourself of for gifting purposes. Sign up here for weekly style inspo direct to your inbox.
Suggested for you