British men don’t do well in summer. Our continental counterparts understand that warm weather is a spectrum, but we can’t seem to differentiate between a balmy afternoon and a pavement-melting heatwave.
Granted, we get less practice. But that’s still no excuse to dive into the first sunny weekend half-cocked, half-clad, and burn entirely. Rather than learn summer’s lessons through trial and sartorial error, read up on the biggest missteps before the heat hits. So you can keep your cool all season.
You Reach For The Wrong Trousers
How soon you slip into shorts is a personal choice (our rule: once temperatures reach 20 degrees). But even if your pins emerge with the first double-digit temperatures, at some point in summer, you’ll have to wear trousers.
Linen’s reputation as a summer staple comes courtesy of its tiny holes, which allow air to circulate. But steer too loose and light and you end up biting your aunt’s summer holiday style. Translucent fabric reveals your sun-kissed legs and won’t pair with anything unless your wardrobe’s big on blouses.
Do It Right
It seems counterintuitive, but heavier, slimmer-fitting strides tackle both sun and style. Light shades reflect heat, but that means you need a fabric with enough weight to conceal what lies beneath.
Linen trousers can work – the likes of SuitSupply produce tailored takes that are more versatile and cut from thicker cloth – but unlined cotton chinos also offer airflow, without the VPL.
When it’s too hot for a coat, you lose the convenience of extra pockets. Hence summer’s proliferation of men juggling phones, sunglass cases, keys and pints across Britain’s beer gardens.
Your short pockets aren’t a stand-in unless you’re still wearing cargos. And if you are, then stowing your stuff is a secondary concern.
Do It Right
A summer backpack should have enough room for pocket overspill and some post-sundown layers. But it needs to look good, too. A luxury leather option is too valuable to be tossed at the bottom of a bag pile, but don’t default to canvas; a few weeks of grass stains and knocked-over cans and people will assume you’re sleeping rough.
Instead, look for a durable sports option that washes well, in a material like nylon that shrugs off spillages.
Annoyingly, sunglasses have a habit of going walkabout. But that doesn’t make cheap shades the economic choice.
Budget frames mean budget protection. Your pupils dilate behind tinted lenses and, without UV filters, more eye-damaging rays flood in. This can lead to sun-blindness or even cataracts in later life.
Do It Right
Look for lenses with full-spectrum protection for both UVA and UVB rays. They should also be big enough to cover your eyes without sunlight leaking in around the sides.
Style-wise, steer classic; black, tortoiseshell or metal frames go with every look, so you don’t need to invest in a deep shade rotation. Then spend as much as you can afford; invest now will pay dividends for your eyesight later. Just don’t let anyone borrow them.
Less is more, but only up to a point. If your outfit leaves more than half your body uncovered, best put something back on.
Remember, the stars of Ex On The Beach and Geordie Shore are warning flags, not tastemakers; if you find yourself wearing a deep racerback vest that exposes your nipples, the slide into a three-month stint as a club rep/VD petri dish has begun.
Do It Right
The deep racerback vest is as close to naked as clothing gets, a piece that obeys the letter of nudity laws, if not their spirit. But you can get the same climate control without scaring children.
A slightly oversized tee in cotton or linen offers breeziness and street cred. And leave the Club Med vibe where it belongs – the vomit-streaked streets of Faliraki.
Your feet are the first thing to suffer in the sun, in a way only stuffing 500,000 sweat glands into leather coffins can achieve.
Going barefoot will send your sneakers to seventh circle of smell, but wearing peekaboo trainer socks is a move best left to men who admire Jeremy Clarkson’s denim fits.
Do It Right
If want to go ‘sockless’, look to truly invisible socks. These cover only toes, soles and heels, so no elasticated hems to ride up and destroy your streamlined outfit.
However, if the mankle is too passé for you, then nod to this season’s sportswear trend with a logoed up athletic sock. Let your legs rep street-inspired brands like Liam Hodges and Gosha Rubchinskiy, or something as simple as a Nike swoosh. If you’re tall, you can let your socks ride high for that Compton 1996 vibe. If not, they should sit just above your ankle bone to not truncate your legs. Either way, sagging Sunday Leaguers are off-limits.
Mango Man SS16