We hate to break it to you, but the British summer (yes, all five minutes of it) is over. Gone are the days spent barbecuing your steaks for five minutes, then retreating indoors to shove them under the grill because, of course, it started lashing rain.
Gone too are the days spent lolling in the park. As well as time spent deciding whether or not to put on sun cream each morning, only to leave for the pub later on and be annoyed, but also kind of delighted, to discover that you actually managed to get sunburnt in the UK.
But it’s not quite autumn yet, either. So if you’ve been feeling the nip leaving home in the morning, but mopping sweat from your brow once you reach your desk, you’re not alone. Here’s how to dress to bridge the between-season gap.
Denim Jacket + T-Shirt
You probably know the denim jacket best as an early summer perennial, but it should be back at the fore of your wardrobe for the weeks before the leaves start to fall. Made of tougher stuff than a linen blazer, it will ensure you won’t blow away in a breeze, while its lack of lining means it won’t cook you as fast as an overcoat.
Keep it classic with an indigo trucker, or put a fresh spin on this workwear favourite by opting for a black or light neutral-coloured style. Then throw it on over a tee, and team with chinos or jeans for an early autumn off-duty look that still looks like summer.
Lightweight Jumper + Shirt
Simple, right? Not exactly. Although on paper the process of layering a jumper over a shirt isn’t exactly what you might describe as ‘challenging’, in practice, there are gauges, fabric weights, collars and necklines to contend with. All of which makes something that should be very simple actually quite complicated. And potentially sweaty.
First, the shirt. Make sure it fits snug, and is lightweight enough to sit beneath the jumper without creating any unsightly creases or bulges. And keep the collar style clean: tab and classic point collars work best with a crew neck.
Next up, the jumper. Make sure it’s a crew neck (V-necks work, but invariably read ‘business’ when paired up with a shirt) and knit in a fine gauge so it won’t set your body on fire in the last of the summer warmth.
Raincoat + Sweatshirt
If there’s one thing you can expect from summer’s segue into autumn, it’s showers. Come September, you’re not so much looking for opportunities to plunge yourself into water as desperately doing everything in your power to avoid it.
While an umbrella’s a sound option for instantly waterproofing your wares, a raincoat’s infinitely handier – and much less likely to be left behind on a bus / in a cab / languishing in crumbs under a table somewhere. It also won’t violently explode at the first sign of an autumn breeze. Or blind anyone.
Opt for a style that’s waterproof (obviously) but still breathable. Details like pit zips and mesh-lined pockets make sure your raincoat won’t deflect rain only to leave you drowning in sweat.
Hoodie + Blazer
No longer the sole preserve of Busted, it’s possible to rock the hoodie-blazer combo without looking like a student’s botched attempt to be taken seriously at a job interview.
It all hangs on the hoodie. Get it right, and you strike the perfect up-down balance; get it wrong, and you’re instantly 20 years younger – and not in the good way. Opt for a style that’s slim enough to slide comfortably under a blazer and steer well clear of anything collegiate, boldly coloured or that could in any way be described as ‘novelty’.
The blazer should be similarly subtle. A wool style in a block colour like black, grey or navy works best, but a flecked blazer, or one in bottle green or burgundy, isn’t off-limits either. Just give your final combo a good eye-balling to ensure it’s on point before you leave home.
Overshirt + Shirt
‘Shacket’ might be a stupid word, but the garment it denotes is anything but. Like a shirt but thicker, the overshirt, or shacket as it’s more affectionately known, is a simple garment – but its potential is revolutionary.
Why? Because now you don’t have to make the choice between freezing your proverbials off in a shirt and sweating your proverbials off in a jacket that’s fine at first, but oppressive later. Which is, by all accounts, great news for your proverbials.
Nylon and cotton canvas are the two fabrics you’ll often find these in; as a rule of thumb, style the former with anything that leans athleisure and the latter with everything else.
Harrington Jacket + Jumper + Shirt
Once the cold starts to kick in, reach for another layer. Classic, clean-lined and perfectly smart-casual, the Harrington jacket is the perfect foil for the autumn/winter season’s first bite. (Little wonder, then, that it’s still a between-season favourite almost a century since its debut.)
Unlike bombers, truckers and technical jackets, a Harrington skews more sartorial than sporty, so – provided you opt for one in an all-occasion colour like navy, grey or beige – it’s a cinch to team with shirts, jumpers and chinos or tailored trousers. Instant Steve McQueen steeze.