Inconsistency and the British summer go hand in hand. Intermittent showers between spates of sunshine can cause all sorts of sartorial problems. Among the hours where your short suit and linen tailoring can shine, a hanging threat of rain can be a real style dampener.
This can be a particular problem during the daily commute; as broken down in a previous article. Dressing for the journey to and from work in an effective yet stylish way requires a mastery of layering and clever use of fabrics. This challenge is only amplified during the height of summer.
Keeping your cotton suit dry whilst remaining sweat-free during a summer shower isn’t the easiest of tasks. A lightweight rain jacket is a great piece to have in your wardrobe, but pair it alongside something more tailored and you risk encroaching on chalk and cheese territory.
A trench coat is a superb alternative – but what if you don’t want something that bulky, or even double-breasted? Step forward the simple mac.
The Spring/Summer Mac
Similar to the trench (to the point that their names are often used interchangeably), a lightweight mac offers protection from the elements without adding unnecessary bulk or heat to your spring/summer look.
Single-breasted and belt-less are the traditional distinguishing elements that separate a mac from a trench. And whilst both pieces share material, cut and a tailored feel, the mac was born out of more civilian needs, rather than the latter’s militaristic means.
In terms of style, your mac shouldn’t stretch past the knee, especially if you are under 6ft, as it will shorten your silhouette – and menswear is all about balancing your proportions. Somewhere around mid-thigh is perfect: long enough to cover a blazer yet versatile enough to add something extra to both formal and casual outfits.
As for colour, it comes down to personal taste and how you will utilise your mac. For office wear, stick with the more traditional hues of stone or navy; keeping things professional, timeless and extremely versatile.
However, if you work in a more relaxed environment or will predominantly use your mac casually, why not consider a pop of colour? An orange, yellow, green or red version can help separate your look from the crowd and is much easier to wear than you may think – especially considering that it covers the majority of your outfit and you will remove once indoors.
How To Wear
Look One: Spring/Summer Smart
A stone/beige lightweight mac layers exceptionally well over a navy suit. The colours contrast beautifully and it is a combination which exudes that air of timelessness we here at FashionBeans wax lyrical about. Make a conscious decision to keep the suit of appropriate material and weight (see our guides to linen and tropical wools) for the season – your traditional winter suits will be incredibly uncomfortable in the heat.
Maintain the rest of the look with a classic approach; a clean, white shirt underneath will help you achieve this. Stand out by accessorising with a gingham tie alongside a grey and orange polka dot pocket square. Together, the two are a superb entry-level pattern mixing effort that brings personality and individuality to your tailoring:
- Asos Smart Shirt
- Reiss Riva Two Button Textured Suit Indigo
- J.crew Gingham Check Cotton Tie
- Mackintosh Dunoon Contrast-collar Coat 147864
- Reiss Winehouse Modal Polka Dot Pocket Square Light Grey
- Allsaints Conduct Shoe
Look Two: A Pop of Colour
Colour pops are most readily deployed through accessories. However, do not discount the merits of outerwear in this endeavour. Attempt to inject vibrant tints into your wardrobe through your spring/summer mac.
Layer this stand out orange version over a simple blue shirt, tie and knitwear combination – the bold colour is right on trend, which makes it even more appealing.
Neutral trousers with a pair of brown shoes finish off this smart-casual look that is ready for anything the weather throws at it:
- Allsaints Redondo Shirt
- Asos Tie With Bicycles
- Etro Striped Cashmere Vest
- Reiss Ranch Cotton Single Breasted Coat Apricot
- Topman Stone Canvas Skinny Chinos
- Mr.hare Mens King Tubby Special Shoe
Look Three: A Casual Coat
Rarely are the pieces of a man’s wardrobe confined to one look. Demonstrate the versatility of the mac by dressing it down as well as up.
Opt for a timeless, navy version over a simple grey polo to lay the foundations for a faultless off-duty ensemble. The pairing makes use of your work wear wardrobe in an entirely different manner than you first anticipated.
Coloured chinos ensure the look remains relaxed and of-the-moment. The unobtrusive colour elevates the look, breaking your casual wear away from the norm without being over the top. Finish off with a pair of adult trainers to dress down the once stiff mac perfectly:
- Allsaints Bramford Polo
- Asos Mac
- Slowear Incotex Lightweight Slim-fit Cotton Chinos
- Vans California Era 59 Suede
Men’s Spring/Summer Macs
- Topman Peter Werth Arden Raincoat
- Paul Smith Jeans Mac In Waterproof Cotton
- Asos Mac
- Reiss Eclipse Mid Length Mac
- Uniqlo Men Soutien Collar Coat+
- Reiss Ivington Fly Front Jacket Navy
- He By Mango Leather Tabs Trench
- Mac Jacket
- Classic Collar Lightweight Mac With Stormwear
- Asos Mac
- Bugatti Classic Mac Beige
- Peter Werth Arden Single Breasted Raincoat
- Mackintosh Dunoon Handmade Bonded-cotton Rain Coat
- A.p.c. Cotton Trench Coat 154726
- Aspesi Packable Rain Coat
With inconsistency a perennial hallmark of British weather, lightweight outerwear becomes an essential part of your year-round wardrobe. The mac’s versatility and timeless, tailored appeal make it a welcome addition come rain or shine (or both).
But now we want to hear your thoughts:
- Is the mac your go-to piece to combat the unpredictable weather?
- Do you make use of it in both a casual and formal manner?
- Would you opt for a coloured version? Or keep it timeless and neutral?
- How do you like to wear yours?
Let us know in the comments section…