The Summer Season Ultimate Guide
Seasons change, and so do trends. However, as we all know, some styles are simply timeless – as is the dress code for the highlights of the summer social calendar.
Here at FashionBeans, we’ve rounded up the key looks for dressing for the quintessential British summer season. Think morning suits for Royal Ascot, loud chinos and even louder blazers at the Henley Royal Regatta, soft cotton lounge suits for Wimbledon and the perfectly fitted dinner jacket for Glyndebourne…
Whatever day of the meet you attend, gentlemen in the Royal Enclosure are obliged to wear morning suits (grey or black) with a waistcoat and tie (cravats are nowhere to be seen). Top hats should also be grey or black, while shoes are strictly limited to black.
That being said, there is still plenty to play for in the style stakes – especially when it comes to making your mark. With the colour-blocking trend set to dominate SS14, now is the time to be more adventurous with your selection of tie and waistcoat.
While opting for a three-piece from a Savile Row stalwart such as Gieves & Hawkes is undoubtedly a safe bet, the more seasoned racegoer would do well to mix and match. A silk trimmed, Edwardian-style morning suit jacket (try Favourbrook on London’s Jermyn Street) paired with tailored trousers from Ede & Ravenscroft makes for a perfect combination. Elsewhere, Hackett is an excellent choice for a Royal Ascot waistcoat, being both colourful and reasonably priced for the quality.
The choice of cloth for a day in the Royal Enclosure is somewhat dictated by the prevailing weather on raceday, which is not always fair, even in June. Opt for pure wool or cashmere when the wind is blowing, switching for lightweight cotton if the sun is shining. If you’re a man in a hurry, or don’t want to commit, Lipman’s on Charing Cross Road, London is a reliable family tailor who also hire out high quality pieces.
- Favourbrook Grey Wool Morning Suit Coat
- Favourbrook Grey Wool Morning Suit Trousers
- Classic Fit Morning Suit Tail Coat
- Royal Ascot Regular Fit Three Piece Morning Suit
- Moss Bros Regular Fit Fine Herringbone Morningwear Coat Black
- Favourbrook Black Bedford Cord Morning Suit Coat
- John Lewis Tailored Morning Suit Tailcoat Black
- John Lewis Tailored Morning Suit Trousers Black
- Classic Fit Morning Suit Trousers
Henley Royal Regatta
Loud chinos and even louder blazers are the order of the day (or entire week) at Henley Royal Regatta. Seriously, no single item can be too loud or ostentatious at the annual boatie event.
The main rule to remember is that no gentleman in the exclusive Steward’s Enclosure may remove his jacket or undo his top button unless the head Steward does so. Which leads on to the second, unwritten, rule: tweed and wool blazers are out, and soft cotton is your best friend.
The same goes for legwear – with pure linen just slightly too informal, not to mention impractical if you are picnicking and don’t want wrinkles, it’s best to stick to pure cotton or sturdier cotton-linen blends.
When it comes to colour, classic red, pink and salmon tones are always popular – and on trend this year – but any bright chino is more than acceptable. Although printed legwear is also trending for SS14, stick to block-colours – preppy brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren, J.Crew and Banana Republic are all good sources – and pair with a striped blazer and tie.
Many of the jackets being peacocked around the Fawley Bar will be bespoke (from Gieves & Hawkes or a university outfitter like A. E. Clothier) and come in a school rowing club or university society’s individual colours. But that’s not to say you can’t pick your own – if you don’t belong to a boat club, a navy and white seersucker blazer is a solid choice that will continue to get good wear each summer for many years to come.
When looking to accessorise, Henley is an event where you can work a straw boater, so why not? We recently showed you how to pull off a wide brimmed hat in our style sins article and, if they suit your head/face shape, it would definitely mark you out as a confident gent.
One final tip: wear sunscreen. Red trousers are welcome, red faces are not.
- Hardy Amies Slim-fit Striped Cotton Blazer
- Asos Slim Fit Blazer In Ticking Stripe
- Topman Selected Homme Stripe Blazer
- Reiss Prom B Two Button Blazer Sage
- Asos Slim Fit Blazer In Oxford
- Asos Slim Fit Blazer In Washed Cotton
- Incotex Slim-fit Cotton-blend Chinos
- Hentsch Man Slim-fit Cotton-twill Trousers
- He By Mango Garment-dyed Linen-blend Slim-fit Chinos
- Thomas Nash Green Texture Wide Stripe Tie
- Austin Reed 8cm Burgundy Navy Gold Preppy Stripe Tie
- Olney Boater Hat
Another great English institution, the All England Club’s Wimbledon tennis championships calls for off-duty tailoring. A lounge suit in a breathable fabric and lighter shade is the right call for a day of strawberries and champagne on centre court.
For shirts think pale hues and remember an off-the-peg version from Charles Tyrwhitt or T.M.Lewin can be taken in by a local tailor if you need to achieve a form-fitting silhouette – without the price tag of The Row.
Equally, for a recession-proof two-piece, consider brands such as Reiss, Suitsupply and J.Crew or seek out tailoring services from further afield – travelling Hong Kong-based tailor Raja Fashions is a good budget-conscious contact for your little black book, while ASuitThatFits.com has advisors and studios located across the UK.
However, if you can go bespoke, somewhere like Byne & Burge in Mayfair will deliver a sharp suit that can be worn away from the court too.
In terms of finishing touches, a lightweight textured or patterned tie helps bring the formality down a notch while a pair of classic lace-ups in suede/leather will keep the look sharp and grounded.
- J.crew Grey Ludlow Striped Cotton Suit Jacket
- Reiss Sackville Peak Lapel Suit Airforce Blue
- Copenhagen Green Plain
- Next Pale Blue Cotton Skinny Fit Suit
- Reiss Miami B Patterned Two Button Blazer Light Blue
- Stone Silk Linen Classic Fit Summer Suit
- Reiss Discovery Bluff Point Collar Shirt Mint
- Reiss Navigator Non-stretch Poplin Shirt Sky Blue
- Turnbull & Asser Pink Double-cuff Cotton Shirt
- Reiss Knight Linen And Silk Stripe Tie Ecru
- He By Mango Silk Linen-blend Striped Tie
- He By Mango Chambray Tie
A summer evening of opera at Glyndebourne, and preceding picnic in the grounds, calls for black tie. A velvet jacket would be more appropriate for the dinner table, so opt for wool and single-breasted.
While black is somewhat implied by the dress code, midnight blue is a more creative alternative for jackets and trousers, and will give the illusion of jet black under artificial lighting.
As for where to source your trusty dinner jacket: Dress to Kill is the best option online; for vintage try Hornet’s on Ken Church Street; and elsewhere you wouldn’t go wrong with either New & Lingwood or Ede & Ravenscroft, both trusty Jermyn Street residents.
- Reiss Hertford B Textured Tuxedo Jacket Dark Navy
- New & Lingwood Benson Black Evening Jacket With Satin Peak Lapel
- Double Breasted Dinner Jacket
- Lanvin Pleated Duchesse Satin Cummerband
- Turnbull & Asser White Sea Island Cotton Tuxedo Shirt
- Black Tie Evening Waistcoat
- John Lewis Tailored Peak Lapel Dress Suit Trousers Black
- T.m.lewin Black Petersham Self-tie Bow Tie
- Austin Reed Black Self Tie Silk Bow Tie
- Black Boned Cummerbund
- New Look Tux Blazer
- Thom Sweeney Navy Berkeley Three-piece Wool Tuxedo
Glorious Goodwood – 100
Yes, you risk looking like the man from Del Monte, but a linen suit is still the only way to go at Glorious Goodwood. Opt for light hues instead of dark at this racing festival.
Shoes truly maketh the man when dealing with head-to-toe linen – our advice for pulling off any linen look is get the footwear right. A suede Derby in beige or tan is versatile, but aim for a leather sole. Brands such as Church’s, Ami, Mark McNairy, Loake and Tod’s are all great ports of call.
As for the suit itself, try Burberry or Hackett for high-end and Suitsupply, Austin Reed, Ted Baker or HE by Mango for more affordable options.
Lightweight Linen suits in really light shades (white/cream/light grey/khaki/pale blue)
- He By Mango Linen Cotton-blend Suit Blazer
- Havana Light Brown Houndstooth
- Asos Slim Fit Suit Jacket In 100% Linen
- Austin Reed Contemporary Fit Sand Linen Jacket
- Austin Reed Contemporary Fit Khaki Linen Jacket
- Canali Stone Siena-shape Linen Suit
- Jack & Jones Premium Billy Derby Shoes
- Alexander Mcqueen Suede Derby Shoes
- Ovadia & Sons Midwood Derby Shoe
Now you have the lowdown on what to wear for the big social events this summer, you’ll never have to fear putting a foot wrong ever again.
What’s more, as all these looks are timeless classics, invest in quality tailoring and it will make a versatile addition to your wardrobe for many more years to come. You can even customise your look year-on-year with simple adjustments like adding a new bow tie or waistcoat.
So, what summer events are you going to be attending this year and how will you be dressing for them? Let us know in the comments section below…