Ah, the posh do. No, I’m not talking about that fancy new side parting you just got your hairdresser to give you. I’m talking about the kind of party that only comes around once summer rears it’s beautiful golden mane. The kind of party that involves Marquees and a large amount of ribbon. The kind of party where people like to pretend they actually know what the hell is going on when it comes to tennis, rowing or lacrosse. The kind of party where £12 for a cup of Pimms (a.k.a. as fruit juice) makes perfect sense.
Yes, that kind of posh do.
When attending such an event it’s important to bear in mind two things: Dress code and weather. When it comes to any party taking place in the summer sun, be it beer garden or Buckingham Palace, I would say the latter takes precedent.
Having a seasonal wardrobe is something I tend to go on about a bit. But it is for a good reason. In the summer, you want to be wearing pieces that are lightweight and breathable so as to minimise body odour and discomfort. So forget about your wools, flannels and heavyweight cottons. You want to start sticking to thinner cottons like madras, linen, seersucker or blends of material. This way, even if you are wearing a few layers, you won’t hate every minute of it. My personal favourite is a wool/linen blend on a 30/70 split because, especially with tailored items, the linen keeps them light and breathable while the wool helps the material keep its shape and fight wrinkles.
Next comes the dress code. At this point, you are going to have to man up… and wear a jacket. If you automatically turn your nose up at the thought of this, then I suggest you re-think your attendance. Formal wear will play a heavy part in everyone’s wardrobe going, so look to do the same – even if it’s as simple as a waistcoat.
However, with that said, there is nearly always a Dandy element to these events too. And this is where you have a chance to get creative and even embrace a few trends. Wearing colour is pretty much expected, so why not go with some pastel pink, green or yellow in your outfit? Interesting shoes will also be on display, so you could even try some unique coloured footwear, or perhaps even this season’s essential – camouflage? Either way, putting a twist on whatever tailoring you are wearing, is pretty much a must.
So with all that in mind, why don’t I give you a rundown of three outfits that you could wear to three possible events? OK, great:
For a very formal event, such as place where the ladies must wear hats and the men suits, it’s best to stick to the classics: A navy or grey suit. Keep it in lightweight cotton and maybe even go with a three piece so that even if the jacket comes off you’re still looking put together.
Accessories are really where you have the room to have a bit of fun. So why not try out some brogues in an olive green or maybe a floral pocket square? Or you could simply go with an interesting shirt and tie combo like a blue striped shirt with a brown plaid tie.
You could even take a little inspiration from the Italians and mix your suit up – try going with navy up top and grey below or vica versa. However, if you do happen to be in the Royal Ascot enclosure, then remember you will have to wear black shoes and a top hat, so don’t forget those!
The classic look for most events like this are a navy blazer, white shirt and khaki chinos. But why not flip that look around and go with navy chinos and a khaki blazer instead?
Better yet, with navy chinos and a white shirt as your base, go big in the blazer department and try some colour. Pastel pinks, greens, blues and yellows will all look great and very appropriate. Unless you’re in the Steward’s enclosure, you can skip out on the tie, undo a few buttons and just go with a great pocket square instead.
If you do go with a tie keep it simple, neutral and preppy (striped or plaid). But what about shoes? Well, it’s by the river so what better than a classic leather boat shoe to see you through the day.
At a place where there is no real dress code but still an expectation of dressing smart you have a bit more room to be casual. Why not go with a piece that is part of the tradition and opt for a polo shirt? Either keep it simple in white or blue and pair with a navy or grey linen suit, or highlight this season’s key trend and go with a printed version under an unlined khaki blazer and neutral chinos.
For the more brave amongst you, why not pair your cotton suit with a neutral t-shirt and some crisp white trainers?
So there you have it guys, a few ideas on what to wear to one of the endless posh do’s available for attendance this summer. Do you agree with the looks I’ve provided? What events are you attending and what will you be wearing? Let me know.