With summer supposedly on the horizon, although as I write this I can see rain drops that may be causing serious body damage to the cars parked in my street, but I am eternally optimistic that the clouds will part and those beautiful rays will once again grace our skin. So how does one dress when the mercury begins to rise past 20ºC (68ºF) and the sweat begins to stain and embed itself in our wool rich fabrics that make up the most part of the British Gentleman’s attire?
There are a couple of things that you can do to make those ray filled days a little more bearable. And it comes down to:
Hats and Sunglasses- It may sound like a simple thing but a decent broad brimmed hat and a pair of shades can do wonders to keep you out of the sun. A nice pair of aviators and a panama hat combine two styles that really say gentleman in the sun.
Accessories- I wear a tie every day (even on weekends) but in the heat, having a tie done all the way up with the top button fastened is a little too much to ask outside of the office if you’ve spent the day sweating through your day job. But for less formal things why not try an open collar with a cravat?
The Fit- Wearing tight fitting things is a sure fire (no pun intended) way to overheat, why do you think winter is filled with tight fitting jumpers and clingy thermal layers? A loose fitting shirt and jacket can be much cooler (both stylistically as well as temperature wise) than a tight fitting tee shirt or even a ghastly tank top.
The Colour- I must admit that I tend to favour dark colours, on more than one occasion lately, I’ve been know to don black on black on black, with a suit, shirt and tie all exuding darkness. But in the summer sun, that is no longer an option. To survive without becoming a puddle, you need to embrace the light side of the colour spectrum. Think light greys, beige, khaki and if your feeling brave, you may even wish to go for white, when it comes to jackets and trousers. And moving on to shirts you shouldn’t be afraid to go to the classic white or light blue, but don’t discount cream or even a nice pastel pink colour, there is nothing unmanly about pink, for gods sake, you want something that will reflect the heat, not absorb it.
The Fabric– OK, colour and fit will only get you so far, if you wear a baggy wool suit or a pastel pink tweed, you’re probably still going to overheat just a bit, this is why you need to focus on materials such as cotton and linen for jackets and trousers, and stick to a good cotton for the shirt, whilst avoiding heavier fabrics like wool, cashmere and velvet.
hopefully this little guide will help you maintain a sartorial sensibility through the sweltering heat that June and July have come to signify, or will give you some ideas when it comes to picking what to throw into the suitcase.