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A heatwave can put a damper on a suave men's edit. Or so you might think. While it’s undeniable that rising temperatures can bring out the worst in a wardrobe – board shorts and flip flops at the office are a low point – opting for lightweight fabrics, softly tailored styles and a muted colour palette will ensure you don’t break a sweat.
Whether you’re getting ready for a resort holiday, a staycation or summer in the city, we’ve brought together five elegant essentials that will help you acclimatise to the heat. Welcome to the refined take on destination dressing.
Make button-ups your base.
Keeping things neat and tidy. A button-up shirt is a year-round staple, provided you adapt it to seasonal demands. First, let’s talk fabrics – the more lightweight, the better. Linen is the king of high summer (more on that below) but Tencel and cotton blends woven from thinner yarns also offer a breezier feel than a heavy gauze cloth, such as Oxford. Short-sleeved shirts aren’t the only option in high summer; a grandad-collar shirt is a smart option for cooler evenings. And while we’re on the subject of necklines, when travelling to tropical temperatures, opt for open camp-collar shirts.
Because shorts can be smart too.
Shorts aren’t for everyone. But when faced with a Saharan summer, there’s no better way to stay cool than by airing out your pins. The key to keeping your look sharp is to shop for shorts the same way you’d shop for smart trousers. Labels like NN07 and PS Paul Smith offer a tailored take on the summery style that will ensure balanced proportions when worn with a shirt. An elasticated waistband is also an acceptable option – especially after dinner. Just hide it away by keeping your top untucked.
Look for lighter tailoring.
The thought of wearing a suit in summer isn’t always appealing. So when visiting venues that require a jacket and, at the very least, a pair of trousers, we recommend a few seasonal tweaks to your tailoring. As we touched upon earlier, linen suits are ideal in stifling conditions – it’s a lightweight and breathable fabric that gets softer the more you wear it. A light cotton blazer offers a slightly sharper look that’s less prone to creasing; and whatever two-piece combo you go for, just make sure it’s unlined for greater airflow. Special mention must go to Oliver Spencer for its line of linen and cotton-blend suits designed exclusively for Harvey Nichols.
Slip on something luxe.
Sandals are great for the beach, but they’re generally frowned upon at the office and upscale restaurants. To avoid being turned away, ditch the sliders and switch to a pair of casual shoes in the driving or espadrille mould. Classy and comfortable, they’re the perfect go-between for semi-formal occasions, when walking around town or, as the name suggests, for coastal drives. Connoisseurs of the style swear by Tod's, Valentino Garavani and Gucci, with both suede and leather variations offering a casual footwear option all year round.
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Swap in a smart-casual bridge.
Polo shirts are the one piece that can transition from the poolside to aperitifs. Lightweight styles in particular are having their moment in the sun, popping up in all the SS19 collections – John Smedley nailed the fine-knit polo long ago. The piqué cotton polo shirt is another super-staple, with brands like Alexander McQueen elevating the short-sleeved design to high-fashion status. On sweltering days, an open collar is preferable; or try a breathable mesh style such as Sunspel's Riviera tee.
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