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…

Royal Ascot

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.

Men's Morning Coats and Tails Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

Key Pieces
  • Favourbrook Grey Wool Morning Suit CoatFavourbrook Grey Wool Morning Suit Coat
  • Favourbrook Grey Wool Morning Suit TrousersFavourbrook Grey Wool Morning Suit Trousers
  • Classic Fit Morning Suit Tail CoatClassic Fit Morning Suit Tail Coat
  • Royal Ascot Regular Fit Three Piece Morning SuitRoyal Ascot Regular Fit Three Piece Morning Suit
  • Moss Bros Regular Fit Fine Herringbone Morningwear Coat BlackMoss Bros Regular Fit Fine Herringbone Morningwear Coat Black
  • Favourbrook Black Bedford Cord Morning Suit CoatFavourbrook Black Bedford Cord Morning Suit Coat
  • John Lewis Tailored Morning Suit Tailcoat BlackJohn Lewis Tailored Morning Suit Tailcoat Black
  • John Lewis Tailored Morning Suit Trousers BlackJohn Lewis Tailored Morning Suit Trousers Black
  • Classic Fit Morning Suit TrousersClassic 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.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Henley Regatta Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

massimo dutti 2012massimo dutti may 2013digeltommy hilfiger sportswear ss13gant ss14he by mango summer 2013he by mango summer 2013tommy hilfiger tailored ss14he by mango summer 2014austin reed ss14massimo dutti june 2011he by mango aw12
Key Pieces
  • Hardy Amies Slim-fit Striped Cotton BlazerHardy Amies Slim-fit Striped Cotton Blazer
  • Asos Slim Fit Blazer In Ticking StripeAsos Slim Fit Blazer In Ticking Stripe
  • Topman Selected Homme Stripe BlazerTopman Selected Homme Stripe Blazer
  • Reiss Prom B Two Button Blazer SageReiss Prom B Two Button Blazer Sage
  • Asos Slim Fit Blazer In OxfordAsos Slim Fit Blazer In Oxford
  • Asos Slim Fit Blazer In Washed CottonAsos Slim Fit Blazer In Washed Cotton
  • Incotex Slim-fit Cotton-blend ChinosIncotex Slim-fit Cotton-blend Chinos
  • Hentsch Man Slim-fit Cotton-twill TrousersHentsch Man Slim-fit Cotton-twill Trousers
  • He By Mango Garment-dyed Linen-blend Slim-fit ChinosHe By Mango Garment-dyed Linen-blend Slim-fit Chinos
  • Thomas Nash Green Texture Wide Stripe TieThomas Nash Green Texture Wide Stripe Tie
  • Austin Reed 8cm Burgundy Navy Gold Preppy Stripe TieAustin Reed 8cm Burgundy Navy Gold Preppy Stripe Tie
  • Olney Boater HatOlney Boater Hat
Wimbledon

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.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Wimbledon Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

he by mango summer 2013he by mango summer 2014he by mango summer 2014tommy hilfiger tailored ss14suitsupplyhe by mango ss14digel ss13mj bale ss12reiss ss14 feature
Key Pieces
  • J.crew Grey Ludlow Striped Cotton Suit JacketJ.crew Grey Ludlow Striped Cotton Suit Jacket
  • Reiss Sackville Peak Lapel Suit Airforce BlueReiss Sackville Peak Lapel Suit Airforce Blue
  • Copenhagen Green PlainCopenhagen Green Plain
  • Next Pale Blue Cotton Skinny Fit SuitNext Pale Blue Cotton Skinny Fit Suit
  • Reiss Miami B Patterned Two Button Blazer Light BlueReiss Miami B Patterned Two Button Blazer Light Blue
  • Stone Silk Linen Classic Fit Summer SuitStone Silk Linen Classic Fit Summer Suit
  • Reiss Discovery Bluff Point Collar Shirt MintReiss Discovery Bluff Point Collar Shirt Mint
  • Reiss Navigator Non-stretch Poplin Shirt Sky BlueReiss Navigator Non-stretch Poplin Shirt Sky Blue
  • Turnbull & Asser Pink Double-cuff Cotton ShirtTurnbull & Asser Pink Double-cuff Cotton Shirt
  • Reiss Knight Linen And Silk Stripe Tie EcruReiss Knight Linen And Silk Stripe Tie Ecru
  • He By Mango Silk Linen-blend Striped TieHe By Mango Silk Linen-blend Striped Tie
  • He By Mango Chambray TieHe By Mango Chambray Tie
Glyndebourne

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.

For more information on how to pull off this classic dress code, see part one and two of our guide to modern black tie.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Black Tie Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

unknownhe by mango aw13Ramsey Sartoria ss13sarar ss14suitsupplycalibre ss14M&S Savile Row Inspired aw12reiss aw13mj bale aw13
Key Pieces
  • Reiss Hertford B Textured Tuxedo Jacket Dark NavyReiss Hertford B Textured Tuxedo Jacket Dark Navy
  • New & Lingwood Benson Black Evening Jacket With Satin Peak LapelNew & Lingwood Benson Black Evening Jacket With Satin Peak Lapel
  • Double Breasted Dinner JacketDouble Breasted Dinner Jacket
  • Lanvin Pleated Duchesse Satin CummerbandLanvin Pleated Duchesse Satin Cummerband
  • Turnbull & Asser White Sea Island Cotton Tuxedo ShirtTurnbull & Asser White Sea Island Cotton Tuxedo Shirt
  • Black Tie Evening WaistcoatBlack Tie Evening Waistcoat
  • John Lewis Tailored Peak Lapel Dress Suit Trousers BlackJohn Lewis Tailored Peak Lapel Dress Suit Trousers Black
  • T.m.lewin Black Petersham Self-tie Bow TieT.m.lewin Black Petersham Self-tie Bow Tie
  • Austin Reed Black Self Tie Silk Bow TieAustin Reed Black Self Tie Silk Bow Tie
  • Black Boned CummerbundBlack Boned Cummerbund
  • New Look Tux BlazerNew Look Tux Blazer
  • Thom Sweeney Navy Berkeley Three-piece Wool TuxedoThom 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.

An on trend cream/off white suit will anchor almost any colour shirt (we recommend pastel shades) and tie – bear in mind our advice on how to combine the two and you won’t go wrong.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Linen Suits Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

massimo dutti april 2014marks & spencer ss14house of fraser Corsivo ss14suitsupply 2014suitsupplyzara man 2014de fursac ss14austin reed ss14unknown

Lightweight Linen suits in really light shades (white/cream/light grey/khaki/pale blue)

Key Pieces
  • He By Mango Linen Cotton-blend Suit BlazerHe By Mango Linen Cotton-blend Suit Blazer
  • Havana Light Brown HoundstoothHavana Light Brown Houndstooth
  • Asos Slim Fit Suit Jacket In 100% LinenAsos Slim Fit Suit Jacket In 100% Linen
  • Austin Reed Contemporary Fit Sand Linen JacketAustin Reed Contemporary Fit Sand Linen Jacket
  • Austin Reed Contemporary Fit Khaki Linen JacketAustin Reed Contemporary Fit Khaki Linen Jacket
  • Canali Stone Siena-shape Linen SuitCanali Stone Siena-shape Linen Suit
  • Jack & Jones Premium Billy Derby ShoesJack & Jones Premium Billy Derby Shoes
  • Alexander Mcqueen Suede Derby ShoesAlexander Mcqueen Suede Derby Shoes
  • Ovadia & Sons Midwood Derby ShoeOvadia & Sons Midwood Derby Shoe
Final Word

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…