Thursday, 11 July 2013

Three things not to wear now the weather is hot...

Summer seems to have finally arrived in London although, let's face it, by the time you read this it could be pouring with rain again. Perhaps it's not surprising that in a country where our practical fashion needs seem to largely revolve around warm and waterproof coats, we're not very good at dressing for hot weather. Here are a few things to avoid (and, because all problems need a solution, some things to do instead).

Short-sleeved shirts
There might be a place for short-sleeved shirts but, if there is, I've yet to be convinced of it and it certainly isn't in this country, even on the rare day when the temperature reaches the giddy heights of 30C. They make grown men look like schoolboys, or postmen, which is rarely a good look. Besides, if you wear it with a tie you can never never take your jacket off and, if you wear it with a jacket, you won't show any cuff which, on a jacket with sleeves of a suitable length is bound to look a little strange.

So no. Avoid short-sleeved shirts like the plague. Instead (and it's so easy you'll wonder why you didn't think of it) just roll your sleeves up. Any way you fancy is fine by me, but why not try the 'Italian' method. Undo the cuff and pull it up above the elbow, pulling the shirt sleeve inside out as you go. Then, just fold the rest up to just below the cuff (more or less on the elbow is best). It's quicker, involves less rolling, and keeps the sleeve (especially the cuff) slightly flatter and less creased.

Baseball Caps
No. Obviously not. And if you need me to tell you why, you're in the wrong place.

Panama hats are really the best alternative for keeping the sun off. It is possible to get ones that roll up in a tube, which makes them particularly practical. Otherwise, more conventional types are relatively inexpensive.

Boaters are an option but are a) not really suitable for city wear and b) a bit of a statement. In the country, especially by a river, they are of course ideal. Pith helmets, otherwise known as solar topees (the name, incidentally, derives from the shola pith they are made from and has nothing to do with the sun that they keep off) are marvellous but utterly impossible to wear with a straight face these days.

Inappropriate Suits (and shirts)
Men these days pay very little attention to the cloth their suits are made from. A fairly good way to differentiate a really well-dressed man from a typical besuited office worker in one question would be to ask them what percentage of their suits are summer, what percentage winter, and what percentage year-round. Men who really know and care about what they're wearing will be able to tell you, indeed they may even put some of their suits into storage when their season is over. They'll have taken care, when buying suits, to ensure an appropriate balance and to wear the right suit depending on the weather.

It's not the obsessive attention to detail that you necessarily have to follow, it's the appreciation that hot (or cold) weather isn't necessarily anathema to wearing a suit. Most of us in our climate-controlled offices no longer pay any attention, wear the same suits year round and then, when it gets hot, take our jackets and ties off and look sweaty and crumpled. A suit in a light 7-ounce cloth, particularly one with a relatively loose weave, can be comfortable even in the hottest weather. Similarly, a light and open-weave shirt is a must. All that's needed is to pay attention to what you are buying and be ready for the hot weather with an outfit in which you can look as smart and as crisp as on any other day of the year.


  1. Well laid out. But what about the casual friday attire

  2. Excellent inclusion of a photo from Dr No.


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