Five Summer Essentials
Here in England we are in the midst of a prolonged spell of sunshine the like of which hasn’t been seen for over three decades. I think it’s fair to say we are not accustomed to such fine weather and from the sartorial monstrosities I have seen melting on our sun drenched streets in recent weeks, it would appear the English gent isn’t quite equipped for such weather either.
At the risk of tarring everyone with the same proverbial brush, English men seem to leave their sartorial choices in the deep-freeze when the sun rears her effervescent head; garish, ill fitting surf shorts worn by men who won’t even go near the sea, tight t-shirts covered with slogans aimed at young teens, brown Velcro-strapped sandals the disciples of Jesus would have laughed at. And that’s without even mentioning men who think wearing a football shirt to the beach is socially acceptable.
Quite often in my articles for MSF I find myself repeating the age old mantra of keeping your wardrobe sharp and simple, elegant and understated and I stand by such a code of clothing conduct when it comes to your summer wears and those essential items to be worn under clear blue skies
So wherever you happen to be venturing during the summer months, there are certain items one should always pack:
Having spent my childhood growing up in Cornwall, where there must be a law insisting flip-flops are worn for at least six months of the year (no matter the weather), I have something of an aversion to grown men in flip-flops and those awful strap-on sandals which the Germans seem to be so fond of. I know it’s hot but a good pair of Gucci horse-bit loafers, Ralph Lauren driving shoes or Mr Hare tasselled loafers will keep you looking cool. And remember, socks are a definite no-no.
The latest collections to appear at the various fashion shows definitely had a nod towards baggier, sportswear led styles. Swim shorts however should still be worn more like James Bond rather than an Aussie surfer. Some of the best British brands producing an array of colours as well as both plain and print shorts come in the form of Hentsch Man Paul Smith and Orlebar Brown, all of whom have produced vibrant collections for the summer months.
When the mercury is pushing 30 degrees – that’s sweltering for us Brits – skinny jeans are definitely not the way forward. I have never really been a fan of chinos, they remind me too much of golfers and posh folk aboard Monaco yachts, but this season has season a welcome shift in the shape of the more formal trouser. Brands such as Levis Made & Crafted have produced a wonderful pleated chino in sky blue and blush pink, colours which fuse majestically under the golden haze of summer while the likes of Christophe Lemaire, Margaret Howell and Vivienne Westwood all presented S/S’14 collections with a prominent display of tapered, lightweight trousers which make the straight-leg khaki chino a thing of the past.
For all the talk of round framed sunglasses being part of the fashion zeitgeist this summer, trying to find a good pair has proved somewhat troublesome. Everywhere you look the classic square framed sunglasses are still clogging up the shops and the streets. Garrett Leight however does seem to be on the cusp of the sunglasses fashion curve with a splendid collection for this summer. Ray-Bans are also a failsafe brand but for the hipper kids amongst you, check out the Han Kjobenhavn range. You won’t regret it.
People always seem to get holiday t-shirts so wrong, it’s almost as if they’re trying too hard. The trick is to keep it ultra simple. Forget garish emblems and witty slogans and instead concentrate on colours and the finer details. Sunspel, one of the UK most respected t-shirt manufacturers produce not only the finest cottons but an eclectic mix of colours from beautiful burgundy’s to turquoises that are just waiting to be worn in the summer months. Oliver Spencer and his fashion nuances always produce a great tee in a multitude of exciting colours and with his button down pocket t-shirts, his customary attention to detail never fails to impress.