While modern Riviera style is inspired by the resort wear synonymous with the first wave of upwardly mobile holiday makers to descend on the Côte d’Azur during the roaring twenties – and continues to typify the uniform of the French Riviera’s rich and famous to this day – you don’t have to spend the earth to achieve this timeless, elegant and sophisticated aesthetic.
Below we show you how to achieve a champagne wardrobe on a lemonade budget.
The Linen Blazer
The first addition to any self-respecting Riviera-inspired wardrobe should be a linen blazer. It’s the outerwear of choice for well-heeled island hoppers with a penchant for classic seaside style – and for good reason.
In an unlined, lightweight construction, throwing one on over your outfit is the easiest way to elevate your look and build a barrier between your pasty British skin and the Mediterranean sun.
Go for something in a relaxed, contemporary fit and eschew dark shades in favour of neutral tones that reflect, rather than absorb, light.
Image: Zara SS15
Try Marks & Spencer, Uniqlo, Gap or Zara for a selection of well-priced jackets worthy of an airing at Cannes Festival.
The Riviera aesthetic fuses Parisian chic with nautical style, which is probably why Breton stripes are such an integral part of the look.
First worn by the French Navy in 1858, tops with horizontal bands of blue and white across them still conjure images of immaculately turned out sailors in white trousers and hats. Jean-Paul Gaultier’s career-long obsession with the motif has also helped to keep them fresh and relevant for new generations.
Look for lightweight knitted or jersey versions and team with a pair of cropped linen trousers (preferably in white).
Image: Mango Man SS14
Selected Homme, Zara, Burton and Urban Outfitters are all offering killer takes on this classic piece this season.
The Navy/White Crew Neck
The way to give off that self-assured vibe that goes hand-in-hand with a bulging bank balance is to appear as effortless as possible.
White or navy crew neck T-shirts, while classics, are relatively uninspiring. However, they serve as a wardrobe mainstay for sun-worshippers with their skipper on speed dial. They look clean, fresh and are the ideal base layer upon which you can construct a really interesting outfit – plus they have that much-needed air of nonchalance to them.
Not only that, when you look back at your holiday snaps in years to come, any pictures of you wearing one of these timeless tees won’t have you cringing at how dated you look.
Image: Crombie SS15
If you’re looking for high quality basic tees on a budget, try ASOS, Uniqlo, Next or Gap – and keep your eye out for multipack savings.
Tailored shorts are the only way to maintain your sartorial standards as the mercury begins to rise.
Rather than opting for high-end, pure linen versions – which are prone to creasing – try a pair constructed in heavier cotton. Not only does the material hold its shape well and offer more robust wear, a pair of slim-cut chino shorts will help craft a smart, sophisticated silhouette that complements a crisp white Oxford shirt for a look that says you’re summering – not holidaying.
Ideally, you want to source yourself a pair that finishes just above the knee in a neutral or pastel shade.
Image: Massimo Dutti SS13
Uniqlo, ASOS, Mango and Gap are all purveyors of low cost, high quality summer legwear.
There’s a lot to be said for the handsome and hardy deck shoe (especially a pair of classic Sperry Topsiders), yet their solid construction can mean it takes weeks – even months – to wear them in properly.
For comfort from the offset, try a pair of driving shoes made from supple suede or leather instead. Their relaxed silhouette still cuts it on the Riviera, and you don’t need a license or a Ferrari to slip your feet into a pair.
Whether your summer plans involve snaking about the coastal highways of Monaco (or, more likely, running the Fiesta to a music festival), a smart pair of driving shoes lends a strong air of sophistication to any look.
Image: Mango Man SS13
Try ALDO, ASOS, Zara or Mango Man for a wide selection of driving shoes in a number of muted and bold colourways.