Get the Look: The Man from Nantucket

Tis the season! The season of sun, sand, surf  and summer vacation that is! Although this term is normally associated with Christmas and the holidays, June is in full throttle and that means summer is squarely upon us and this widely know term actually fits nicely with all the fun that summer beholds. Coming from a family rich in tradition, one summertime tradition that started before I was born (twenty-two years ago!) was our family’s annual vacation on the island of Nantucket. Nantucket is a small, gem of an island (14 miles long and 6 miles wide) located 30 miles off the coast of  Cape Cod, Massachusetts. There are not enough effusive adjectives to do justice to capture the true beauty of this majestic landmark of the mighty Atlantic.


As I grew, so did my love for Nantucket and everything associated with it, including its pristine beaches, awesome restaurants, great shopping, the world’s best lobster & chowder, and most of all the kick-back attitude and the casual yet classic Nantucket attire. Truth be known, I can’t give all the credit to Nantucket itself, because my deep connection with the island also stems from all the incredible memories I share with my family and our time spent together on our treasured isle.

I cherish these summer memories just as much as the island itself. Those who know me fully understand the deepest love I have in life is the love I feel for my family. Displayed above is a picture of my siblings and me at Cliffside Beach on Nantucket. I have two sisters, Katie and Erin, and my brother Sean. The picture was taken last summer during one of the many unbelievable dinners we’ve enjoyed at a restaurant called the Galley (If anyone takes a trip the “ACK” I highly recommend it!). Not only does it have outstanding cuisine, but it also has a priceless ambiance.  Our table that evening was located just behind the cameraman – who happened to be my Dad! As you can see, it was a near perfect Nantucket sunset famous for being a blend of red, pink and orange rays.

One of the most unique characteristics about Nantucket is its fashion scene. The unforgettable Nantucket look is the iconic, preppy-surfer fashion for guys and lots of pastels and floral outfits for the ladies. When walking around Nantucket, you will see an array of all the bright colors of summer sprinkled around the island. On the fellas, you’ll see sky blue shirts, sand colored khaki pants (the older gents like them adorned with whales, nautical flags or sails) and the classic Nantucket Reds (more on the Reds, later…) shorts. The young male might also sport a rope bracelet and/or a whale’s tooth necklace to complete his outfit. The Nantucket look for women is ruled by pink dresses from Lilly Pulitzer with Tory Burch sandals or floral dresses which evoke a walk through Nantucket gardens and window boxes matched with scrimshaw basket clutches.  In the above picture, my brother and I are both wearing summer colors which are also subtle and muted at the same time. This is ‘Man from Nantucket’ style through and through.


So, back to my family for just a moment.  😉  Above is the entire clan on Surfside Beach located on the southern shore of Nantucket.  In the picture, we’re all wearing quintessential Nantucket wear. I’m the guy with the red shorts on. These shorts are very commonly called “Nantucket Reds” and are by far the most famous color for men on the island.  The actual color and its origin are debated by many, as ‘Reds’ can appear somewhat pink at first glance, but, after closer inspection they’re really a sea-washed red color. Some claim the hue of Nantucket Red was inspired by the color of the famed Nantucket sunsets while others point to the color of steamed lobster! Both camps can stake a claim for the color in my book, as they both work! Nantucket Reds are great because you can really wear almost any color shirt and put together with flip-flops, sandals or boat shoes you’re ready to go almost anywhere on the island.  Along with Reds,  the Nantucket guy can also be seen in any light colored pair of shorts or madras plaid shorts designed with a patchwork of bold colors in yellow, green, blue, orange and pink. By no means am I suggesting other colors and styles are inappropriate on the island, yet, “true Nantucket style” streamlines with the aforementioned look.  A timeless pair of Ray Ban shades completes the Nantucket look and will keep you in style throughout the day. For all you ladies with the “ACK fever” here are a few suggestions that will be sure to turn heads on the cobblestone roads.



To achieve the casual-prepster Men’s look of Nantucket or if you’re simply looking for a few items to take with you on your next weekend beach getaway, here are a few suggestions to brighten your summer wardrobe:



The standard preppy style which defines Nantucket works for practically any occasion on or off the island, as it’s a classy but casual look. From the golf links to the dinner table to your next work function, the Nantucket prepster Man always looks like he fits in wherever he goes.




By: Billy Donlon


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