Green linen trousers

 

Simon,

Would you be willing to do a post on (casual) summer dressing? It’s the area of dress I struggle with the most.

Every time I go on summer/spring holidays I find myself browsing through the internet looking for a good mix of casual and elegant summer dress, but mostly end up with a dissatisfying mixture of being over- and underdressed at the same time.

Parker

Hi Parker,

The central problem of dressing for warmer weather – whether in the summer or on holiday – is that you can’t wear as many clothes as in the colder months.

Most of the elegant, classic dress we discuss involves layers – particularly a jacket or knitwear over a shirt. Without that, everything starts to struggle.

There are, however, various ways to mitigate this. And they all relate to your point about dressing more casually on holiday too.

 

Caliendo Neapolitan hopsack blazer double breasted

 

1 Lighter weight clothes

The first and perhaps most obvious thing is to wear cooler clothes. This means both different materials and lighter weights.

So wear an unlined hopsack jacket or lightweight cotton jacket. Wear linen or lightweight worsted trousers. And wear linen or linen/cotton shirts.

This is one of the pleasures of dressing for summer. New materials feel different on the skin, and often brig back happy memories of long days outside.

I would also include wearing loafers/belgians/espadrilles without socks (or the little, invisible socks) under this point. Again it’s about wearing the same categories of clothes as the rest of the year, but adapting them for the heat.

(This doesn’t have to be that formal either – I recently saw a beautiful indigo-linen bomber jacket in Hermes that would do exactly the same job as the tailored jackets described above.)

 

Friday polo shirt roll back summer sleeves

 

2 Fewer clothes

Sometimes it is either too hot to wear a jacket, or you want to be more casual (eg on holiday).

In this situation I’d just wear a shirt, but retain more formal trousers. A lightweight button-down and espadrilles would be much elevated by a beautifully cut pair of cream-linen trousers.

And to take the casualness a step further, you could swap the button-down for a polo shirt (such as those sold on Permanent Style for instance – more coming soon I promise).

It is amazing how elegant you feel on holiday wearing a fine polo tucked into tailored trousers, with those loafers or even trainers on the feet.

I like my grey polo with tobacco-coloured linen trousers in particular (and pictured above, Adam’s white polo with green linen).

 

Tobacco linen suit and cream trousers close up

 

3 Lighter, brighter colours

That talk of green and tobacco also reminds me how nice it is to reflect the sun with paler or brighter colours.

Personally, as soon as I see that the weather in London will be sunny and warm, I immediately pick something to wear that couldn’t be worn at any other time. Cream gabardine trousers, for instance, or spectator shoes. There are so few such days in England that you have to grab and celebrate each one.

The cream cotton sweater pictured from Anderson & Sheppard is another example. It illustrates both the first point about wearing the same clothes, just in different materials, and this one about reflecting the brightness of the day.

Incidentally, the navy cotton/cashmere hoody that featured in my post on colour combinations is also a good example of swapping materials with the seasons. Except there, it remains navy and therefore more versatile (particularly on hot but not particularly summery days).

 

Finagon cardigan Smedley x Permanent Style

 

4 Casual clothes, but elegantly done

Finally, if do need to dress more casually (as I know many will do on holiday) make sure you put the same thought into cut and fit as you would with formal clothes.

So if you do wear shorts, take some time to find a cut you like. Not too narrow (as most of them are unfortunately) and not too loose. In a great cotton or linen. Richard James has some nice ones at the moment, as does Massimo Alba at Trunk.

If you wear shorts, maybe dress up the top with a smarter shirt. Wear espadrilles or belgians rather than sandals – they’re actually cooler, and no one has to see your toenails. And wear a top-quality panama hat, perhaps, rather than one from the local market.

 

Rubinacci belgian suede slippers brown

 

I hope that gives you plenty to think about Parker.

If I wear going on holiday tomorrow, I’d pack a few tailored linen and cotton trousers, some polos, one or two linen/cotton shirts, and a single jacket I could throw on in the evening.

Add to that a lightweight sweater, Zabbatiglia espadrilles and my EB Meyrowitz sunglasses, and I’m all set.

Simon

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Thomas

In terms of your point number 2, what trousers do you recommend for summer? If I have pale grey fresco and cream chinos, what comes after? Specifically how far along are any of the green trousers you have depicted, which look like a nice way of toning down the formality of navy jackets.

Oskar

How about cuffs and pleats? I wonder about the variability between a summer office setting and the waterfront.

NickD

Any advice on where to go for some decent RTW linen trousers, especially with side adjusters? Only A&S come to mind initially.

Nick Inkster

Interesting to read your comment about Espies. Growing up in the south of France, they were thought of more as outdoor slippers than anything else. Only ever in dark blue or black, with that funny bonded rope sole, you wore them until they were falling apart. How times change!

Jake

I suspect that you’re after something more formal/ higher-end-with A&S as your reference point- but Orlebar Brown do casual trousers in linen and linen blends with side-adjusters.

Winot

Great article. Another point to consider – if you have your shirts made, consider having some cut square and slightly shorter for wearing untucked over shorts.

Alex

Excellent article Simon, thank you. A related question regarding footwear; what would you suggest wearing on days (as we’ve had a few of in London recently; horribly muggy) when the temperature and humidity is suggesting something of a lighter weight, but the chance of precipitation (or indeed the actual occurrence of) is suggesting something rather more substantial, for either formal or smart casual wear?

Alex

Cheers for the response Simon, I was however wondering more about footwear options in these varying conditions?

Rups

Struggling with this in London. ATM as its simultaneously rainy (drizzle followed by heavy showers) while being quite warm and humid! It’s basically monsoon weather. This is challenging as any rain proof clothing doesn’t look right with summer wear! I went out in cream chinos and a linen shirt with driving suede shoes and got drenched a couple of days ago. 🙁

Jojoandthecats

Another well-organised, sensible advice piece; thanks.
The bit about using summer weights / colours but with a more ‘sartorial’, precise fit really this the spot, I thought.

Greg

Hi Simon. Looking forward to your post on the recent symposium. Otherwise, I am confused between raincoat offerings: Ventile (Private White), Waxed Cotton (Barbour) and Loro Piana Storm System. Which is best suited for rain in a tropical climate and how do they perform in comparison to each other? Thanks. And sorry about the rather lengthy question.

David

I’d certainly second this.
For my part I think there is a big opportunity for bespoke trench coats.
There is so much that could be personalised.

Alex

I’d be interested in a full post on this too. Would you completely discount Mackintosh rubberised cotton as not being breathable enough (well, at all except for vents) for summer use?

Rabster

On the more general subject of the British weather and dressing it occurred to me why we (Brits) buy and have so many clothes.
Having to put up with four seasons and then out of season weather within each season (as is the case with the current torrential rainy summer) all adds up.
Definitely the need for more articles on dressing for the weather /s.

René

Hi Simon,

I have been following your page/blog almost from the beginning and I must say you have come quiet a long way. At one point I thought You were becoming a bit elitist but now I think you have found just the right combination of well priced and upper echelon luxury items alike.
I much admire your ability to come up with new and interesting articles on a regular basis.
Your article on how to dress for summer was spot on in my opinion.
As a great fan of flannel business suits for the office and tweed for the weekend the one thing I struggle with the most is office attire in the summer.
I never can seem to get it quite right. Either it will be too formal or too casual.
It would be a great help and inspiration if you could write an article on this particular subject
Keep up the good work

Regards René

ANM

Simon, good article, however, I am not sure it can still address the needs of the many who read your article in much, much warmer climes than London.

I think of the southern USA, parts of Africa, much of Australia, and even Southern Canada for stretches (the humidity + temp can easily climb into the mid 40’s C in Toronto and Montreal for days at a stretch).

Places such as Atlanta, Miami, Houston, Dallas and Phoenix can have humidity/Temp daytime combinations that can stay above 40C for many months at a time, and even remain well above 30C overnight…

A “lighter sweater”, or unlined jacket is still far, far too much in the way of clothing..I fear there is simply no good answer, as you are likely to quickly soak anything beyond a t-shirt if you are exposed to the outside for more than a few minutes or a short walk down the street…

Scott

Simon, perhaps you could address the question of when and when not to wear shorts? Tom Ford has famously said that men should not wear shorts in the city, but only at the resort and a few other athletic venues. I personally think he’s absolutely right and that shorts are not flattering on men and should be avoided.

Gary Byrne

I think maybe you should be wary about linen or linen cotton shirts unlless you can get the sheerest ones which I cannot find in the shops anymore here in Italy ,the same for trousers. Linen shirts off the peg are mostly heavy kind of linen made in China but selling in Italian stores for big bucks. I remember I had some fantastic linen shirts , so light that they were great for hot Italian days.
Remember if you are going down south you are facing 40 or 42 degrees in the day. Lift a hand and you are sweating.
I would just think about t.shirts and polos in the lightest cotton and very light cottton trousers. There will never ever be a need for a jacket but if you want to take one a really light cotton one is best . That is Southern Italy in the Salento in Summer. Few people are dressed up, hardly any in fact because its just too hot.
You will need really good sunglasses as well and keep them on all the time in day light.

Ian

Great post as per. Only in Britain would an article about how to dress for summer be illustrated with a man wearing a sweater.

gary

The jumper is perfect for an English one so maybe Simon is thinking about that . in the UK we more or less get a kind of spring, at least in London.

Maria Isabel

I live in the south Spain , my housband wears since May ” guayaberas”, because the temperature is very hight , 40ºC or more.
Could you explain the rules for ” guayaberas”?

Tim Fleming

Nice watch. Is that a Cartier?

Rene

It looks great, Sir!!!

Burnham

How about pastel linen suits or separates? I’m not suggesting 1980s baggy suits but tailored linen suits in pastels. Is this acceptable or recommended?

gary

If you look at linen in shops its far too heavy for really hot summers , the linen that I see is basically ok for spring.Its not like the linen you could buy in italy during the 80s , most of that was very sheer and fantastic for hot hot summers but you dont see it now , I think it might have been called hankie linen .

Martijn Stolze

How about a jersey cotton for smart casual? Say like your longsleeved polo, or a jersey cotton dress shirt. How well are these to be worn with a suit, or even a tie? Because the idea of a more breathable and movable cotton in summer appeals to me. I have this white jersey cotton dress shirt from Alessandro Gherardi, and I am really wondering whether it could take a tie.
Thanks in advance.

Carl

Great article!

Is the shoes in the last picture Rubinacci Marphys? Do you consider them as a lightweight loafer or as an espadrillo?

Carl

Ok and thank you for the link!

Do you think that they may be to formal for the beach? I have a couple of more formal loafers but are thinking about buying something for a Mediterranean holiday at a resort. The alternative is espadrillos i guess.

J

Hi Simon

Any thoughts on sandals? I’m thinking that something similar to these could be a good wardrobe investment http://www.johnlobbltd.co.uk/catalogue/fullsize_images/Website_shoes_boots/Websiteshoes/Mensshoes/Sandals/strap_sandal.htm

Many thanks,
J

Anonymous

Sound advice, thanks for protecting my street cred 🙂
J

Christopher

Dear Simon,

I want to get some linen trousers for the summer. I have seen your linen made by Paul Stuart, but no review about the trouser.
They look great and versatile. Any chance to see more images?

Chritopher

Great! I am just looking for ideas for bespoke linen trousers. At the waist with adjustable, the leg should be small, but not too tight and at the ankles no turn-ups. The trouser should be versatile, so I could wear it with loafer or sagan (thinking about ordering one of the
belgian loafers after you and the readers praised them so much ;-)) ) or with sneaker….
If you have any idea in mind I appreciate your thoughts!

Anonymous

Are you wearing the band of your sweater folded back onto itself? Why?

jj

Hi, Simon. What would you recommend for someone just starting to build a summer wardrobe? I just had a great tan linen jacket made up and I was debating whether to get two more jackets or a jacket and a tobacco linen summer suit. I wanted to get something fun that was still versatile, like a mint green jacket and a tobacco linen suit. Maybe it’s a bit too earlier for a jacket in that color. Is mint green or rusty orange ostenatious or practical?

Nigel

Hi Simon,

Many thanks for your excellent and informative blog. It Is very helpful.

I have a query re your linen jackets. Are they generally structured with a half or full canvas? Or usually unstructured?

I am looking to have some bespoke summer jackets made and am concerned that unless they are at least half canvass they will be completely unstructured and look too casual.I am looking to wear these in work settings.

By way of background I divide my time between Australia and the tropics/SE Asia for work and wish to remain cool but well dressed in warm humid or dry climates. Most of the wear would be in SE Asia, (Singapore, Indonesia which can be quite humid). Sadly in Australia if you turn up to an event on weekends wearing more than shorts, t-shirts and rubber thongs (footwear) you are considered a dandy or in the more Australian vernacular (a tosser).

Any guidance would be appreciated.

Thanks

Nigel

Fernando

Hi Simon, would you wear crispaire trousers casually? e.g. shoes and a polo and no jacket or with a sweater and shirt. Or are they more formal? I’m trying to choose new summer fabrics.

Fernando

All right i’ll give them a try. Thank you

Gian

Hi Simon,

I was wondering what your opinion is on dark-brown/brown suede in the summer months? To me it seems to pair well with off-white/cream trousers; however I have seem some people consider darker brown suede to be a fall/winter material. I’ve been considering a pair like these from Carmina

https://www.carminashoemaker.com/unlined-shoes/unlined-slippers-brown-suede-80709

What are your thoughts on this? Do they still hold their versatility during the summer?

Jan

Hi Simon, i am preparing for better times (and summer…) – quick question regarding the cream A&S cotton crewneck sweater: love the style, would you recommend getting this model or are there better quality or value/money options in your view?

Ayush

Hi Simon! Got to learn a lot about summer dressing from this beautiful article. But i still have a doubt and it would be very helpful of you if you could solve it.
If you have ever been to India you would know that temperatures over here could reach upto 40° in summer which is very hot. Can i still during that weather wear a jacket if i am going out for a dinner to some place nice for a first date or if i am going to some place nice with my family? Would i come across as a person trying to hard.
You have always emphasised on the necessity of a jacket and that shirts are not meant to be worn as an outerwear but under a jacket and i too want want to wear one, but afraid that i may come across as a fool for wearing jackets in such hot weather or a person trying too hard to impress and so i avoid wearing jackets altogether.
If you were living in a country with such hot weather what would have been your style of dressing? Would you still prefer a jacket or just a shirt and nice trousers ?

Ayush

Thank you so much for the advice Simon!
Just read your article when you were in Florence and was quite amazed to see that you wearing a jacket even when the temperature was around 37°. It really gave me a lot of confidence.
So if i am going to a good restaurant where most people would probably be wearing a shirt then it is perfectly fine if I wear a jacket. Am i right in interpreting it?
Most of the times i am worried about what would other people think of me if i wear a jacket in such hot weather and that how should i make them understand that i actually like wearing one, and i don’t actually feel that hot because there would rarely be moments when i would be outdoors walking in such a heat. Have you ever faced such a problem and what should be the ideal response in such a situation?
Sorry if i am being repetitive about my question but it would be very kind of you if you could advice me some more on this topic.
Thanks