The T-Shirt

The tee is – thanks to menswear’s current loosening up – more useful than ever, an inexpensive warm-weather essential that works just as well with a full suit as a pair of chino shorts. But maximising your opportunities for wear means choosing wisely.

Uniqlo SS16 TshirtUniqlo SS16

Entry-Level: Uniqlo

The redoubtable boss of basics, Japanese retailer Uniqlo offers tees that tick every box – covering off pretty much every colour and fabric composition you can think of – from sweat-deflecting Dry styles to timeless Breton stripes.

Uniqlo T-Shirts

uniqlo MEN Supima Cotton Crew Neck Short Sleeve T-Shirt - Click to buyuniqlo MEN AIRism Crew Neck Short Sleeve T-Shirt - Click to buy

Premium: James Perse

While there’s little logic in blowing the guts of your seasonal budget on a couple of barely-there tees, LA brand James Perse’s are so finely crafted we couldn’t fault you for it.

Available in lightweight cotton-jersey, slub linen and performance blends of polyamide and elastane, Perse’s tees drape better than any we’ve seen and boast subtle details like a bound neckline that frames your face perfectly.

(Related: How to find the perfect T-shirt)

James PErse T-Shirts

JAMES PERSE Slub Linen And Cotton-Blend Jersey T-Shirt - Click to buyJAMES PERSE Slim-Fit Cotton-Jersey T-Shirt - Click to buy

The Field Jacket

We use the term loosely. Because while an authentic M-65 style is sure to serve you well, any lightweight, earthy-coloured jacket replete with pockets ticks the trend box.

Proffered by designers across the board, a field or safari jacket is this season’s outerwear non-negotiable. Good news, because it’s well-built for layering in winter.

Field Jacket mango man spring 2016mango man spring 2016

Entry-Level: Mango Man

Less about flash-in-the-pan fashion than some of its high street competitors (in aesthetics at least), Mango Man has gone on the offensive with its army of military-style jackets.

Pick up its cotton-canvas style for something classic, or broach new territory with a safari jacket made from performance water-repellent fabric or buttery-soft suede.

Mango Man Field Jackets

mango Suede field jacket - Click to buymango Cotton field jacket - Click to buy

Premium: J.Crew

Outerwear investments probably don’t rank high on your shopping list come summer. But make an exception for J.Crew’s Field Mechanic Jacket, an authentic re-working of the original M-65.

Available in navy or green, it comes equipped with field jacket signatures including a foldable zipped hood, a standing collar and flap patch pockets. Yes, it’ll cost as much as a week’s worth of London rent but you’ll be putting this one to work right up to winter.

J.Crew Field Jackets

J.crew FIELD MECHANIC JACKET navy - Click to buyJ.crew FIELD MECHANIC JACKET green - Click to buy

The Knitted Polo Shirt

Gucci’s Alessandro Michele might want you to ride menswear’s 1970s wave in pussy bows and floral bell-bottom jeans, but there’s a less Are You Being Served? approach to tapping the heyday of disco.

The knitted polo shirt gives a summer-ready classic a retro treatment, resulting in something that’s smarter than a tee but still staves off sweat.

Knitted Polo Zara 2016Zara 2016

Entry-Level: Zara

Trust one of the high street’s biggest runway-gazers to deliver designer trends at a fraction of the price. Zara’s got both plain and ribbed and tipped knitted polos cut in a slim-fit that steers this sporty classic in a smarter direction.

Zara Knitted Polo Shirts

zara khaki RIBBED POLO SHIRT - Click to buyzara maroon SHORT SLEEVE POLO SHIRT - Click to buy

Premium: Roberto Collina

Heritage is expensive, which is why one of Roberto Collina’s masterfully fine knitted polos will set you back the same you’d pay for five at Zara.

But not only does the extra spend buy you something produced entirely in Bologna, it also gives you options including 100 per cent cotton styles and sweat-wicking cotton-polyamide blends in more colours than you can shake a breadstick at.

Roberto Collina Knitted Polo Shirts

ROBERTO COLLINA shortsleeved knit polo shirt blue - Click to buyROBERTO COLLINA shortsleeved knit polo shirt white - Click to buy

Lightweight Chinos

Some menswear rules may have been rewritten in the last few years, but sartorial etiquette still dictates you can’t wear shorts to the office. Which is why airy, featherlight chinos are a godsend for sweaty pins.

Marks & Spencer 2016Marks & Spencer 2016

Entry-Level: Marks & Spencer

Next to fit, colour and fabric composition are key factors in making a quality pair of chinos. The right colours mean better cost-per-wear while finding the right composition means you’ll stay cool and comfortable no matter how far the mercury rises.

Whatever you’re looking for, household name Marks & Spencer probably has it this season, with colours including beige, black, blue and shades of grey, as well as classic cotton, quick-drying cotton-polyester and easy-iron linen styles. (And, to ease your conscience, most are made from sustainable fabrics.)

Marks & Spender Chinos

M&S COLLECTION Cotton Rich Super Lightweight Chinos taupe - Click to buyM&S COLLECTION Cotton Rich Super Lightweight Chinos teal - Click to buy

Premium: Incotex

Those with deeper pockets might want to upgrade to Italian-made. Incotex, part of the decades-old Venice-born Slowear group, uses custom-developed fabrics honed over almost 50 years to produce chinos that are synonymous with the word itself.

Incotex Chinos

INCOTEX Chinolino Slim-Fit Linen And Cotton-Blend Trousers - Click to buyINCOTEX Slim-Fit Linen Chinos - Click to buy

The Boat Shoes

Unlike sandals or flip-flops, boat shoes don’t come with the risk of making people wince. Add to that their preppy cachet and the fact that you can wear them on city streets as well as boardwalks, and there’s no competition for what you slip on your feet in summer.

Boat Shoe SebagoSebago


Boat shoe OG Sperry might have beaten Sebago to the punch in developing the first ever pair, but it’s the latter, for many, that offers the style and level of craftsmanship to clinch gold.

Try Sebago’s Docksides in Ariaprene for a pair that features a classic handsewn moccasin construction with the added benefit of breathability, or punch your budget up just slightly for a suede, leather or nubuck style.

Sebago Boat Shoes

Sebago Docksides Ariaprene Boat SHoe - Click to buySebago Docksides Leather Boat Shoe - Click to buy


Can’t find a pair of boat shoes worth your bread? Take the bespoke route with Maine-based label Quoddy. This shoemaker crafts boat shoes entirely by hand, letting you choose everything from the hardware to the colour of the upper.

Need them in a hurry? The brand also produces a superb ready-to-wear line in a variety of popular colourways.

Quoddy Boat Shoes

QUODDY Downeast Nubuck Boat Shoes - Click to buyQUODDY Leather Boat Shoes - Click to buy

Swim Shorts

Good news, we no longer have just budgie-smugglers and boardshorts to choose from. The men’s swimwear market has swollen over the past five years to include a wave of specialist brands offering both sporty and tailored styles.

Swimwear David Gandy For M&S 2015David Gandy For M&S 2015

Entry-Level: David Gandy For Autograph

Tailored swim shorts under £50 aren’t exactly ten-a-penny. Which is exactly why you should snap up some of model/designer/world’s-most-envied-man David Gandy’s new line for Marks & Spencer’s Autograph.

Cut comfortably close to the leg, these tailored shorts come in classic beach-to-bar colours like black, navy, burgundy and white.

David Gandy For Autograph Swim Shorts

DAVID GANDY FOR AUTOGRAPH New Quick Dry Geometric Print Swim Short - Click to buyDAVID GANDY FOR AUTOGRAPH Tailored Fit Mid Length Quick Dry Swim Shorts - Click to buy

Dan Ward

Although a newcomer to the swimwear market, Dan Ward’s eponymous founder is anything but, having held senior positions at Bally, Calvin Klein and Hermès.

Made in Italy, Ward’s broad beach-ready offering spans sleek plain-colour styles and punchy geometric patterns.

Dan Ward Swim Shorts

DAN WARD Coral-print solid swim shorts - Click to buyDAN WARD Solid swim shorts - Click to buy