Jo Ellison on dressing up for summer
Gentlemen, what will you be wearing this summer? A cursory glance at the catwalk offers all kind of propositions. You might want to slip into a Prada boiler suit, for example.
Just the thing to make that post-work transition to the pub. Or, perhaps, the jazzy, metallic jacket is calling you — choose from gold and shiny at Berluti or Dolce & Gabbana, or, at Armani, burnished bronze. How about a fringed and hooded quilt coat, as seen at Craig Green?
Too directional? Fatherly types will no doubt be taken by Balenciaga’s triple-layered trousers, a garment made in banded denim and leather, to be worn belted nice and high on the waist.
What do you mean you’d rather not? Don’t you realise that the whole collection, designed by Demna Gvasalia, was inspired by dads, just like you, seen playing with their kids in the park?
It’s no surprise that ordinary men have a collective nervous breakdown when it comes to thoughts of seasonal fashionability. Or just go into flat denial. To the casual male observer, men’s fashion seems like a cruel and arbitrary riddle, teasing with its clues and impossible to solve. Instead of trying to extrapolate the codes of the season, to sort its simpler truths, many just ignore it altogether.
But even while this summer’s fashions might seem at first alarming, be assured this season is one of the most accessible yet. Even the most extreme ideas this summer can be unpicked to your advantage.
For example, if you were to do nothing other than wear a simple blue-striped shirt this summer you would be bang on trend: the standard office shirt — long banished from fashion as the dusty, fusty counterpoint to the millennial T-shirt — was given renewed allure by Louis Vuitton, Junya Watanabe and Loewe. Just make sure it has long sleeves.
Likewise, with tailoring. Yes the baggy, oversized blazers at Balenciaga were a little outré, but at the base of “dadcore” is a persuasive argument for relaxed tailoring and the relevance of the summer suit. What’s wrong with a summer suit? Absolutely nothing. Why would you struggle with a silly slogan T-shirt, or hybrid sports pants, as has been so much the style of late, when a perfectly sensible, smarter, age-appropriate solution is right there in front of you instead.
Fendi’s “Skype” look — shirt and tie on the top half, shorts down below — was conceived to maximise one’s productivity while working on a tan. I’m not suggesting anyone should wear a tie with swimwear, but Silvia Fendi’s relaxed take on the workplace-to-weekend look, with its unmatched jackets and trousers, madras checks and easy wearability, had a grown-up nonchalance that looked pretty good. The same at Hermès, which featured the most approachable palette in the world — rust, navy, khaki and blue. Getting dressed this summer is a breeze.
So, wear a tie to sports day; dig out that ill-sized suit; be bold in your boring office blues. Hell, put on a tie clip. Why not? Corporate style has rarely been so fashionable. And if anyone asks why you’re wearing shorts with calf-high socks and your Chelsea boots, it’s not because you’re a conservative scaredy-cat who can’t work out your summer footwear, it’s because you saw it on the catwalk at Dries Van Noten, and it’s really deadly cool.
Wear a tie to sports day; dig out that ill-sized suit; be bold in your boring office blues. Hell, put on a tie clip…
What smart guys are wearing this summer: light khaki cotton summerweight suit softened with a long-sleeved T-shirt and open sandals, all by Hermés
Top left: office shirt and loose grey summer suit with (again) sandals at Louis Vuitton Left: navy boxy-cut oversized blazer with faded jeans and brogues at Balenciaga