Runway look of Parke & Ronen’s Spring/Summer 2013 collection.

It turns out that neon and patterned socks are changing the world. As fast-emerging staples in men’s style, these small but significant details signify well-informed and considered sartorial choices—and better dressed guys overall. And Parke Lutter and Ronen Jehezkel, the designer duo behind the Parke & Ronen menswear label, agree it’s about time. We sat down with the New York-based designers in Toronto’s Holt Renfrew to find out why colour, confidence and the edgy swimsuit they dare you to try could very well make the man this season.

ELLE Man summer style guide: It’s all about the colour

When it comes to your style challenge, start with colour then—if you’re so inclined— work your way up to bold plaids and intricate prints. “It’s a graduated progress that you see in casual menswear, but also in suits: you see more plaids and bold colours that make it more gutsy,” says Ronen who says he’s seen the greatest shift in menswear in the last few years. “In the beginning, we were doing colourful pants with a more casual shirt, then men got used to wearing colour. As they wore more colour, they started to wear pattern.”

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ELLE Man summer style guide: Actually, it’s all about confidence

For boldness in menswear, does a confident man naturally have great style, or does a stylish suit give him a confident swagger? “Oh, I think it’s definitely the former,” Parke enthuses. “With women, it’s more of a chicken-or-egg kind of thing, but I think with a man he has to feel comfortable. With men, we have to really feel comfortable before we’ll even make the effort at all. We either can’t be bothered or don’t want to seem like too much of a dandy, especially American men. And that’s what I think is really fun and inspiring, to see different types of men feeling more confident and comfortable in their own skin.”

Basically, whether it’s bold plaid and or neon prints, own it. “To say, ‘you know what, I don’t have to worry about feeling vain if I care about if my socks match.’ That’s confidence to be able to let go of that, which I think is a product of culture. The fashion is an expression of that.”

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Runway look from Parke & Ronen’s Spring/Summer 2013 collection.

ELLE Man summer style guide: Add accessories for a personalized touch

If you’re hesitant about stepping out of the house in emerald shorts, start with playful accessories to build up your style confidence. “Accessories are where it’s easier for men to really experiment with a touch a pattern, a touch of colour, without fully committing to it,” says Parke, who advocates adding patterned socks or a whimsical pocket square to everything from casual wear to sportswear to a well-tailored suit. “It’s a way to make it personal and special.”

The key to a well put-together look is giving yourself a thorough onceover in front of a mirror before dashing out the door. “All I’m saying is five extra minutes,” Ronen pleads. “Five minutes in front of the mirror, and it will be a good date tonight.”

ELLE Man summer style guide: Own a great swimsuit

Ignorance is no longer an excuse to look sloppy: just look to street style, men’s magazines and Instagram photos to see what men are really wearing. “When we launched the four-inch swimsuit a while ago, it was a culture shock,” says Ronen.

“But we are not here to make men look bad on the beach.” Stay with him on this. “The legs are the last things that stay beautiful on your body—you get a stomach, something here, there, whatever—but the legs stay.” The proof? “Only gutsy buyers bought our swimsuits, and today everyone loves it.”

See what’s out there and opt for what you’re most comfortable with sporting on the sand. But don’t be afraid to challenge yourself when shopping around. “The Internet lets them see, and when they see what’s out there, they learn why it looks good,” he adds.

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Runway look from Parke & Ronen’s Spring/Summer 2013 collection. 

ELLE Man summer style guide: Invest in classic, multi-season pieces

The most common question Ronen hears from male shoppers? “‘What else can I do with it?’” he says. “I believe that people don’t want to buy something that’s only good for one thing, they want to have flexibility, variety, a bargain. But the challenge we face with every collection is how do you make it fresh and sexy and innovative.” Dudes, just look to the women in your life who have been championing the all-encompassing wardrobe for years. “Having an ease of transition is always important,” says Parke. “Everything is speeded up so it has to be even more convenient and comfortable, but you don’t want to give up style or expression in that process.”

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ELLE Man summer style guide: But have a little fun this summer

Whether it’s a pair of persimmon-coloured denim or polka-dotted bow tie (tied by hand), find a unique piece that you love and can’t live without, even if it’s just this one summer. “In every collection, there are pieces that are for the fashionista, we have to make something fun for them. We always maintain the basic things, but there is always something that is completely outrageous,” says Ronen, who falls into a mischievous grin. “It’s a great challenge and we always like to push the bar a little bit higher, make the shorts a little bit shorter.” Really? “Relax,” he insists. “It’s going to be fine.”

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