NYC’s Vacation-Wear Kings Name Their 7 Men’s Essentials

Up with team-ball caps and camp shirts. Down with flip-flops.

A Hawaiian shirt, but make it fashion
A Hawaiian shirt, but make it fashion

Michael Sard and Chris Galasso are the gents behind Tombolo, a Brooklyn-based company that makes truly exceptional vacation shirts.

Hot on the heels of their new retail shop at 240 Mulberry St., we caught up with Sard and Galasso to get their take on the seven essentials every man needs.

Plus: the seven things that needed to be thrown into the Hudson yesterday. 

Don’t worry, the Hawaiian shirts you inherited from your old man are most definitely staying.


Sperry CVOs: “This is the original from 1935. The perfect summer shoe, whether you’re on deck, cruising the sidewalk or skating through spilled beer at your local watering hole. Under 50 bucks and timeless. Welcome the stains and aging that make them even more charming. Replace them when holes wear through the sole.”

A Hawaiian Evening Shirt: “A versatile Hawaiian shirt that works at night … obviously. Camp collar, flattering fit, subtler refined motif and a darker background color. An extra pat on the back if the artwork is original and not ripped off of the pieces from the 1940s and 50s. A high five and a kiss from us if it’s a Tombolo (please excuse the shameless plug).”

(Image via Tombolo)

A killer, chunky cardigan: “Ebay is your friend when it comes to finding one of these. Pick up a vintage wool cardigan from Orvis or Abercrombie & Fitch (not the new stuff … from back in the day when they made in the USA and Scotland and were a true outfitter). A shawl collar, ribbed cuffs that hug your wrists, patch pockets at the hips, and those leather shank buttons with the knots. Ah, the grace of grandpa paired with the virility of your youthful self.”

An AmazonBasics garment bag: “The TUMI killer! $35 bucks for a durable, simple, useful companion to schlep around during wedding season and work trips. The thing that really won over our hearts? The asymmetrical shoulder strap pad that keeps it from slipping off your shoulders while you’re hustling through the airport.”

A double-breasted sports jacket: “Again, eBay is your ticket to embrace the handcrafted fruits of Italy without breaking your bank. Search Boglioli or Barena and your size. Be a boss and live the part. Have a three-martini lunch at a red-sauce joint while wearing your new double-breaster.”

Negronis with a spin: “A classic Negroni can’t be beat, but change-of-pace variations are essentials too. Mezcal negronis offer an irresistibly smoky swagger. Or if you don’t love Aperol and need a break from it, try a Contessa. It’s a Negroni with Aperol swapped in for Campari. A summery orange color but with the heavy kick of a Negroni rather than the far-too-weak dusting of an Aperol Spritz.”

Great sports team hat: “Ironically, this is particularly essential if you’re NOT a sports fan or your city doesn’t have teams you grew up rooting for — because then all the teams under the sun are yours for the taking. We’re stuck with all the New York teams that we worship. But if we didn’t have a horse in the race, we’d quickly procure a low-crown ball cap with the Spurs’ old logo — a splash of retro color that transports you back in time and earns a knowing nod from sports fans.”


Undershirts: “Undershirt, underage! Don’t do it. We’re deadly serious about this.”

Skinny jeans: “A denim straightjacket for your lower half is not a fun idea during summer in NYC. Go for vintage 501s instead and enjoy a little bit of breezy freedom.”

Side-slung fanny packs: “This trend reared its ugly head recently. You’ve got pockets, so use ‘em! There really is no need to wear a fanny pack like a bandolier. Over-cautious uncles wear these under their shirts to hide foreign currency and passports during travel.”

Squared-toed dress shoes: “ … or spatulas, as we like to call them. Your dress shoes shouldn’t look like they were designed to flip pancakes on a griddle. Swap them out for a pair of English or American dress loafers with a gentle curve on the toe.”

(Image via Tombolo)

Flip-flops: “It may be strange to hear this from Hawaiian shirt impresarios, but nothing kills the exotic allure of a beach like flip-flops. Espadrilles, Sperry CVOs (see above), well-worn boat shoes … there are lots of good alternatives.”

Gyms shorts with three-quarter-length compression pants: “These mystify us when we see them at the gym. Shorts with Capri-pant length tights extending out from under them. We are honestly wondering what the point of these is; any possible utility is outweighed by the goofy look.”

Injury cover-ups: “If you are unlucky enough to have a cast or a medical boot, why not enjoy the only silver lining? Don your injury with pride and dress accordingly. That means no sweatpants over a boot — find jeans that can fold into the top. Same goes for a black eye — no sunglasses or creams to cover it. Yes, we’re an injury-prone bunch at Tombolo; we’ve learned all the above firsthand over the past year.”

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