Many of us rightly find dressing for the summer far more difficult than the winter. Not long after we come to appreciate good outerwear and develop a penchant for a multitude of the season’s latest accessories, the concept of warm weather comes to snatch it all away with the muggy heat that Britain is accustomed to. The necessity to wear as few layers as decently possible – in a seemingly futile effort to keep cool – has always left me with a feeling of being somewhat under dressed.
However, recently attitudes towards to summer style have taken on a more positive outlook. This year especially, men have begun to gravitate towards the more minimal style that comes with summer, putting additional emphasis on good colour co-ordination, fit and the little details that let so many men down before.
However, rather than focus on the negatives and perennial mistakes – socks and sandals, I’m looking at you – we should look towards taking a more constructive approach as we have with our five tops tips to pep up your summer style.
This may seem a rather obvious point, but a good pair of shorts forms the cornerstone of your summer wardrobe. Sadly, many men are misinformed on what constitutes a “good” pair of shorts. Matt Allinson did a fantastic job of rounding this up in part 70 of his basics guide – Reintroducing Shorts.
A good pair of shorts is defined by a certain set of characteristics:
While running the risk of sounding like a broken record, we can’t help but persist. Over the last two summers, menswear has not only nudged but also shoved us in a two-handed fashion towards being bolder with our warm weather wardrobe. First with colour and now prints.
Summer is the perfect time to be braver with our choice of attire as, without the art of layering and a somewhat narrower pool of accessories to choose from, outfits can begin to look a little bland. Throwing in a bright colour or bold print is the perfect way to alleviate this and make up for the possible lack of depth elsewhere.
A tweed blazer, chinos and brogues combination may have been adopted as the FashionBeans badge of honour, but that doesn’t mean it should be worn all year round. This is the summer equivalent to wearing espadrilles and a straw trilby in the snow.
Obviously it would be a little obscene to suggest you disregard every piece of clothing between seasons, but having a few pieces which you swap in is a great way to refresh, reinvigorate and possibly even save some money on your wardrobe.
Top tip: Consider changing your belts between seasons; opting for heavier leather ones in the winter and lighter canvas or plaited leather in the summer. This is a small change but is a great way to feel a little more casual or play around with extra colour. A lighter belt also takes away any bulk, something your less dense fabrics, such as linen, will benefit from.
Top tip: We recently wrote about the khaki suit as a palpable option this season. A lighter weight and lighter colour suit should certainly be considered when the weather gets warmer. Wearing a complete wool or wool-blend suit in the heat isn’t going to be doing anyone any favours.
Swap heavier textures for lighter materials and colours such as khaki or even white (something the savants over at GQ are currently endorsing) so your suit will reflect heat rather than take it in. Alternatively, if going lighter in colour isn’t an option, opt for a lightweight fabric such as linen or cotton to keep yourself cooler while still rocking a navy or grey suit.
You also have the option of a short suit to really embody summer tailoring (read our guide here.)
Give your brogues a break and bring out the loafers, sandals and canvas. Changing up your footwear will ensure your favourite Grenson’s are given time to breath while keeping you cooler with a more appropriate footwear choice.
It’s also a great time to go sockless (or at least appear to with some no-show socks.)
These are just three examples of pieces that can be rotated seasonally, but the same can easily apply to shirts, jackets and even knitwear.
Following on from number three, don’t get caught out in wool, tweed or corduroy when the mercury rises. While that tweed blazer is a superb piece of clothing, it doesn’t look, or smell, so great dripping in sweat. A seersucker or linen alternative would however look just as good and won’t be plagued with an unsavoury odour when the thermometer reaches the late twenties.
That example may be a little extreme, but in seriousness, going seasonal with your fabric is a great way to achieve some of those long lost layers without sacrificing too much in the way of comfort. It also just seems more appropriate and coherent – a vital component of any stylish look.
“Wear sunscreen. If I could offer you only one tip for the future sunscreen would be it … trust me on the sunscreen”
Because nothing ruins a look faster than unflattering sunburned skin that leaves you looking a lot like a crustacean. Only yesterday, Duncan spelled out which suncreams you should be applying this season in his guide to men’s summer skincare.
Let us know in the comments section below…