A casual Summer capsule
About a month ago, proper Summer started in the UK.
Now I don’t define Summer by the solstice, the calendar, or even the moon. Summer, for me, is when it's so hot that it severely affects the clothes you can wear.
Anything consistently above 25 degrees, with bright sun, means shorts are an option and linen is a necessity. Sunglasses are a question of practicality rather than fashion. Headwear, if you’re as follicly challenged as me, is essential.
It could seem like a restriction. But actually if you love clothes, it opens up a whole new wardrobe of things that are designed only for hot weather.
In the UK, unfortunately, these periods are unreliable and often brief. It’s happening less and less, but there have been years where such weather never really arrived.
So when it’s here, I revel in it. I get out the espadrilles and the guayabera, cream-linen trousers and white-linen shirts. I turn my face to the Sun and close my eyes.
This is also a professional exercise.
Because I'm aware that many readers around the world enjoy this weather more consistently, and for longer periods, than in the UK. If you’re in New York or Spain, this is weather you can plan for.
During the first 12 days of our ‘Summer’, therefore, I posted a quick Instagram story every day of what I was wearing.
At the end, it occurred to me that there was a lot of consistency there. That it almost made up a Summer capsule wardrobe.
And so I thought I’d repost some of them, and comment on what that capsule could look like.
One of the first outfits I leapt to wear is this one.
I bought the guayabera from Anderson & Sheppard last year (imported from Ramon Puig in Miami) but only got to wear it a couple of times before the weather cooled off.
It is traditionally worn like a shirt, with nothing underneath; but I like something simple under it, like a vest or undershirt. I like the style because it manages to look both subtle but unusual, casual yet conscious.
It’s worn with fairly smart trousers - Fox Air high-twist wool, made by Pommella - and black espadrilles.
The guayabera works equally well with my olive-linen trousers from Paul Stuart, which are pictured above with a different outfit.
There, the shoes are still black but they’re Alden LHS loafers (dyed black after I got an oil stain on a snuff pair). There’s a grey T-shirt on top, but this could equally be a white shirt.
And over the tee is an equally unusual jacket - my hand-dyed Mandarin jacket from Prologue. More on that here.
The reason this starts to look like a capsule collection, I think, is all the pieces could be swapped around. You could wear the outfit above with the white guayabera (perhaps worn open) and with black espadrilles.
The next outfit is seemingly quite different: white-linen shirt, PS khaki shorts, brown-suede loafers.
But most things could again be swapped with the preceding outfits. I might hesitate to wear the brown loafers with a brown jacket, but it wouldn’t look bad. The white shirt could be worn with either pair of the earlier trousers, while the grey T-shirt would look good too.
The key thing that makes all this easier is that the tops are all lighter, and the bottoms darker. Even though you wouldn’t call the shorts dark, they are darker than the things above them: the white shirt, grey tee, and white guayabera.
The following day, it wasn’t quite so hot but I kept the same colour combination, just in different styles: white T-shirt rather than a white shirt; khaki chinos rather than khaki shorts.
That’s an old Flat Head tee, with my old Armoury chinos, vintage belt, white socks and still Alden LHS loafers. A rather Ivy look, overall.
The only thing that wouldn’t fit with the capsule idea was the vintage jungle jacket I wore over the top (shown at the bottom of this article). But that could easily be replaced, if you were putting together a capsule like this for travel.
If you were travelling, and wanted a smart option too, then a cream linen jacket could be useful.
In the outfit above - worn when I was going into town rather than staying at home - there’s the same principle of lighter top and darker bottom, just with different items.
Those taupe-cotton trousers could easily have been the olive linen or Fox Air wool, and the white guayabera would have been effective too.
In any capsule there are often compromises - unless you are very narrow with the colours and styles. And here while I prefer these smart Edward Green loafers with the jacket, the Aldens would be OK.
With tailoring, it’s more usual to wear darker tops and paler bottoms. That’s usually easier with jackets, when the shirt underneath doesn’t matter so much.
But with a casual capsule, such as the one we’re running through, it’s usually better the other way around. Another of my favourite Summer outfits, for example, is the one above: brown knitted polo or T-shirt with white or cream trousers.
The trousers can be cotton or linen (as here, from Ambrosi); the shoes can be loafers, deck shoes or espadrilles (as here, Diego's). But you can’t wear the white shirts or T-shirts we've shown higher up.
A casual capsule collection - whether for travel or for a guy just building a wardrobe - could therefore be something along the lines of:
- Khaki and/or olive shorts and trousers
- White and/or grey T-shirts
- White shirt and guayabera
- Black and/or brown loafers and espadrilles
- White or cream deck shoes
- Navy knit or sweatshirt (could also be cream or grey)
- Brown overshirt or jacket
The tricky area for clashing is really just the outerwear and the shoes. So I might only take black shoes if my single overshirt were brown.
There are other colours you could happily throw in, such as the navy knitwear I’ve included in that list, or something brighter or patterned like a Breton top.
If you need more smart options, you could take taupe trousers rather than the khaki, and add a taupe jacket, to give you a suit (shown above). If you need sportier ones, add dark patterned swim shorts and maybe something in towelling, to wear around the pool.
There are lots of ways to tweak it depending on your circumstances. But the foundations are to have dark and light one way round, and to make sure the shoes, bottoms and outerwear all work with one another.
I hear it’s going to hot again next week. Enjoy.
Below, the shoes. Top to bottom: black Diego's espadrilles, black Alden LHS loafers, brown Edward Green Piccadillys, brown Alden LHS loafers, and two canvas shoe options - white, new, linen 45R oxfords and cream, old, cotton Doek derbys.
I find these wardrobe articles incredibly useful.
Looking through the clothes, with the exception of the cream jacket and guayabera,I see I have most of the colours, if not the exact style, quality and material.
Again, the versatility of brown loafers.
The mandarin jacket is my favourite piece, do you find much use for it Simon, apart from summer? I was taken with the recent chore coat, but think I might find more use for this.
I don’t think you’d get anywhere the same amount of use out of it Peter, to be honest. It’s much more unusual and works with fewer things underneath
I was thinking of this jacket in the navy wool hopsack. I would usually wear it with the collar down. It’s certainly striking.
You are wearing white tops in almost all the photos. One of the joys of summer is being able to wear bright coloured shirts and polos. They would be prominent in my capsule collection but not yours. Can you tell us why?
Linen, especially from Italy, crumples very quickly and looks scruffy. It also feels itchy next to my skin. I therefore wear lightweight cotton fabrics such as Indian madras and seersucker in summer. Are there any reasons why they are not in your capsule collection?
The aim of a capsule, usually, is for the pieces to all be extremely versatile, so they all work together – every top goes with every trouser, ever shoe and every outerwear.
This is much easier with things that don’t have strong colour or pattern. If you have a pink polo, it might look great with the olive trousers but not work with the khaki.
As a personal point, I also wear colour less than some people. I tend to prefer things that are more subtle and subdued. It’s just a matter of taste.
I’ve never found linen itchy next to my skin. Some of it will certainly crumple easily, but so will most lightweight cottons. I also think there is a certain elegance to rumpled linen.
With linen shirts I think the lower quality ones maybe itchy or maybe when tried on they seem itchy but with washing soften, I’m thinking it’s time to treat myself to a luca faloni shirt, have any experience of them simon?
I don’t own any Ian, but I have tried them on a few times. The linen is nice, but generally they’re designed for wearing more casually I think – the collar is low and soft, so not great with a jacket, and the length isn’t so good for tucking in (though that will depend on your height and trousers of course)
I’ve found an off white / natural linen colour shirt works better than white if you’re wearing it without a jacket. A linen shirt can be a bit see through so dialing it back from a harsh white keeps the transparency from being too obvious (depends on your skin tone, of course). And it’s still light enough that it has some contrast with tan or khaki shorts.
Good point Adam, I know some people prefer not to have that transparency.
Do you mean as brown/natural as this shirt? Or more just a cream?
The one I have is closer in colour to the one in your link. The colour works fairly nicely with that jacket, actually.
Figured I would chime in since I grew up and live in the south east US where a high of 25C is still nearly considered springtime weather.
My go to shoe in the summertime is a light brown leather deck shoe (I’ve gotten very good wear out of the Sperry brand, with their classic unlined deck shoe made in the Dominican Republic, and although the fit and finish quality isn’t the highest, they last a few years of heavy use). An advantage they have over suede is they don’t get as dirty as quickly. Being light brown they’re very versatile. Culturally deck shoes are also ubiquitous here, though most men favor “upgraded” designs with added cushion, etc, whereas I think the most basic designs look best.
Speaking of cultural preferences, I’ve thought about getting some espadrilles, however hardly anyone wears them here and so they would seem out of place I think (one could of course wear them here, but they would communicate a certain amount of “look at me”), whereas deck shoes are par for the course.
I think that’s an important point that one must consider in building a wardrobe, is to know the culture you inhabit, because what’s typical in one place might be showy in another.
Thanks for it, good to hear your experience. The last point is a good one – in the UK, a deck shoe can seem a little moneyed, what we might call Sloaney and you might call frat boy, perhaps. But that disappears if everyone is wearing them.
Pleased to hear this had some resonance in a much hotter part of the world!
Deck shoes can indeed seem frat boy (or fratty as we’d say) here as well, if worn in a fratty way. For example with with <7” shorts that are very wide legged, perhaps colorful, and then with a polo shirt that is two sizes too big.
If one considers the cost of Sperry deck shoes which can be bought on sale at the lowest end of the loafer price range, isn’t it ironic that you say such shoes evoke what you call moneyed?
Yes, though I think the association, at least historically, was with sailing, which i guess takes rather more money to be able to do
That’s a very interesting part of the US. What happened to Bass LOGAN Weejuns – why do Sperry deck shoes dominate – are you South East US natives so often on deck?
To me, the regional acceptability of more casual attire compared to the more universal nature of Western business attire is a fascinating subject. I reside in the NE US, but have family in the SE US.
Weejuns and deck shoes are both NE in nature (more in the Ivy / nautical line of dress and, yes, the Weejuns do not originate in the US). The replacement of Weejuns by deck shoes likely represents an emphasis on more casual dressing.
While deck shoes can represent a lack of originality, they also embody a practicality and comfort associated with US dress. To the eye, deck shoes compliment other aspects of casual dress in the South, such as seersucker and lighter-weight trousers. Also, the association with fraternity life has a far less negative association in the American South (unlike the NE US or, from Simon’s comments, England).
Regional attire is fascinating and something, in my opinion, to be celebrated. Espadrilles are a great example. They look lovely (and are rather ubiquitous) in Southern Spain or France. They would look quite out of place in the SE US.
Everyone has their judgements. One of mine is against the bit loafer which is somehow an acceptable shoe in the finance industry of New York.
I agree with other comments in that I find this type of article interesting and useful. It’s also in keeping with the theme of buying less, more considered and better. I particularly like the white T-shirt and chinos; simple and stylish (I just need a bit of warm weather now!).
On a sort of related point, I am currently having some work undertaken in my home so pulled together a capsule wardrobe for days we will spend away, it’s striking that when you boil it down, the few items you actually need especially for the ‘summer season’.
All the best and keep up the great work.
Interesting article and well worth reading. My Summer casual look consists primarily of basic Sunspel tees in black, white, gray etc and the Riviera polo in basic colors as well. Coupled with appropriate chinos, this is a simple yet stylish look that works very well in a variety of Summer situations.
Sunspel has been one of my favourite brands for over 20 years. Unfortunately, the prices have sky rocketed over the last couple of years or so – around 25-30% according to my calculations. Sterling has recovered in recent months, up to 1.17 Euros today. It seems that customers are being asked to pay much more to recoup the Covid losses. My loyalty has now reached its limit and I wonder if other customers feel the same way.
Sunspel is also one of my go to brands for warm weather clothing, but with some serious caveats. I love the fit of the Riviera Polo and the cloth is wonderfully light and breathable when it’s properly hot, but I’ve found they don’t age well even with careful washing and the shrinkage one my white one has been properly appalling, losing nearly 3 inches in length.
I didn’t observe if shrinkage was cause of the impression L was simply too small, but I switched to XL which is really just a tiny bit larger and now wonder if XXL would be better?!
I agree. I like their (white) Jersey polos, but they have become far too pricey, IMO. Fortunately, I bought several a few years ago, but now I’m done.
I switched from Smedley to Sunspel which doesn’t develop runs and holes very soon. In fact I never had a run only a few small holes in my Sunspel t-shirts. I can only afford to buy them when they are offered at very reduced price.
They are so finely knit (or are they woven?)
repair exasperates my aunt. But this fine cloth is so much more wearable than heavy cloth!
Love that suit! If I’m thinking of a cotton suit for hopefully year round use, would you suggest olive or taupe? I feel khaki is a bit too summer focused for me. Olive and taupe are good in spring/autumn as well as summer, and are useful as separates.
I really love this taupe, but I think most people would get more use out of dark olive.
On a recent quick trip to Miami I brought a very small capsule:
Two shirts in a jersey knit, lavender and light blue; a blue-white striped oxford, and a grey tee. Bottoms where white chinos and navy swimming trunks, smart enough to get into a restaurant at the beach. Brown suede penny loafers and cream espadrilles for shoes.
Packing so light is a joy in itself, at least for me.
That sounds lovely Charles. I like the fact that the simple bottoms and shoes help wear pattern and colour in the top half.
Is the black suede Alden LHS a makeup for a retailer? I don’t believe Alden produces that makeup regularly
No, as I mention in the piece, this was a snuff pair that I had dyed.
Hi Simon – did you send them back to Alden to be dyed, or was it a relatively simple thing you could get done locally?
I’ve got a pair of boots with a great big oil spot on the toe, you see.
Locally, it’s pretty easy – I used Tom at The Jaunty Flaneur in London
You have very many sartorial benefits and advantages in UK
which you might take for granted!
You “can” do it yourself, but there is a risk of creating unwanted… “patina” or result being darker or lighter than you would want. I’ve done 2 pairs myself. First pair I tried to dye to oxblood, turned out almost black. Second pair I tried to dye golden brown, and I love the colour.
But for an expensive shoes that I would hate to ruin, and want them certain way, I’d go to professional.
Great article Simon.
In regards to the linen jacket, I know you mentioned in your Neapolitan article that you didn’t notice much difference in terms of temperature when wearing cotton or linen shirting, have you noticed much difference for jackets?
Would a cotton / linen blend jacket be warmer than a pure linen jacket for example?
If it was a lightweight cotton, then no it wouldn’t make a big difference
Hi Simon, nice article especially in sweltering DC. Just to note of course that the guayabera wouldn’t be worn with a jacket. It actually can operate as business wear in Latin America and the Caribbean, hence the more formal trousers. Stay cool.
Of course, thanks for adding Zeke. No problem staying cool today – it’s damp and barely 20 degrees! Summer has left London…
I love the guayabera, but living in London and on a limited budget I might have to accept that an overshirt in a heftier cotton that can do good service from March – October (whilst not being ideal in the very hottest conditions), might be the more useful purchase. Might I also ask where you found that jungle jacket? I’ve been eyeing up Informale’s as haven’t had much luck down the vintage route. Many thanks.
Yes, I think that’s definitely more sensible with a limited budget.
The jungle jacket was from The Vintage Showroom, which has sadly closed down now (at least for normal retail)
Summer has always been a difficult one for me, when it comes out I don’t really know what to do as I am not used to it, so I always overheat – too many layers. Being from around Manchester, rain is normality. Now in the Falklands i have to sort of plan and order summer clothing in winter here, before it all disappears for more heavier fabrics.
but when I don’t have layers I feel plain, almost underdressed. I have been looking at linen as an option for both the overheating and the sort of crumply nature of it adds texture. where would you suggest for linen shirts?
Thanks Alex. I’d suggest someone like Luca Faloni for casual linen shirts, and the likes of Drake’s or Anglo-Italian for slightly smarter ones – though still not usually a business-shirt style.
Alex, you’ll certainly be the best-dressed person in the Falkland Islands – no expedition wear for you!
Triskel, You would be surprised warm it can get when the sun’s out. I do get called that a lot anyway, I am still new to all this, but the fact I have suits, pocket squares, cravats, overcoats, etc. I am told I do look well put together.
My going for a explore clothes, are normally my thick cords, Barbour jacket, and flat cap, and I can cope in most weathers here. The Antarctic wind can be cold though.
I was looking at Drake’s, Just not so keen on the range of colours, was looking for something in a lighter, less bold shade. but I will check out Anglo-Italian and Luca Faloni. Thanks.
Watch out for black goo – it won’t behave like others!
I would wear a guayabera all the time when I was a little kid. Especially, when I visited relatives in Central America. I had this cool looking pink (rosada) one and others. All the adult males would wear them even for formal events.
It’s funny to see how it has become a staple for mainstream menswear now. And no less than Anderson & Shepphard is offering it, lol. I have seen it all now. However, it’s not suppose to be worn tucked in or with an undershirt. Also, they are traditionally worn short sleeved.
Thanks Dan, it’s so cool hearing that personal experience.
I’m not sure I’ve seen them around that much, which is one of the reasons I like them to be honest. And I hope you can forgive me for the undershirt – it does make it a lot more practical in England!
Yes. i wore them (short-sleeve) whilst living/working in Colombia. I love the pockets–very practical. Having the maid iron them first made sure they always looked crisp!
Simon, what do you think of linen in its natural colour? I like it but reckon it would clash with khaki chinos/shorts.
Also, what the name of the blue paint on your walls? It’s beautiful!
I think it can be great, but you’re right it’s not usually as useful. Hence my question to Adam above. It looks great with starker colours – navy, white, black etc. But is often too close to khaki or beige.
I can’t recall the colour of the paint I’m afraid. It was Little Greene, I do remember that, and I do love the chalky texture of all those new ranges
“ About a month ago, proper Summer started in the UK. ” About three weeks ago, proper summer seemed to have finished in the UK!
Great article, this style of article is so useful for readers.
Hi Simon, thank you for this useful article.
Please, I wold like to know your opinion about some aspects and ask you some questions. Some topics might be a bit far from a capsule wardrobe (sorry about it).
– Seersucker (specially blue/white) what are your thought on this fabric? As a casual suit I believe is a good option. And both jacket and trousers can work as a separate. However, it’s not the most versatile piece.
– Red or wine trousers: I do like them with a navy jacket or with a white shirt. I know you don’t really like them but would you wear and how?
– Linen shirts: which RTW brand would you recommend for linen shirts to be worn with a jacket? .Luca Faloni’s ( as you mention in another comment are great but not to be worn with a jacket. I think the same happens with linen shirts from L. Borrelli.
– Black shoes: though I’m no one to discuss your great style, I honestly believe dark brown suede would be better where you use black shoes. Please, can you explain why you go for black?
Thank you and best regards,,
– Seersucker can stand out rather in the traditional white and blue, but it can be great in navy, such as mine here.
– I wouldn’t wear them I’m afraid, sorry. But that is just me.
– I’d look at Drake’s or Anglo-Italian first for ready-made linen shirts. Though it’s often worth looking at MTM makers too, which are often around the same price. Eg Simone Abbarchi in Florence.
– In some instances, like with the Mandarin jacket, I wear black because other things are dark brown already. But in general I like black more and more these days because it is a little more modern, a little less traditional, and that’s sometimes what I want. Perhaps a touch more flash than fuddy. See article here on black
Great article and lovely set of clothes. Love the Doeks too: not often we see you in something so battle-scarred!
My summer staples are white and blue cotton/linen s/s shirts, a couple of old Fred Perry polos, white M12 and grey knitted cotton, both on their last legs, navy shorts, beige chinos, black canvas trainers and brown suede loafers.
Got loads more pieces I’d consider better or more interesting but like you say, it’s the quality basics that you reach for most often (and as such, I’m upgrading a lot of my wardrobe staples as the old ones wear out)
Cheers Tommy. I love the way those Doeks have aged – important to clean them though, as things can look worn and broken, but it’s another thing when they’re just dirty.
The contrast of wearing them with fairly smart things, like tailored linen trousers, is pleasing.
Yep: scuffs good, stains bad!
Really love the LHS loafers too: a touch more masculine and practical than a dress loafer but smarter than a deck shoe. Seriously considering a pair of those when I retire my Paul Smith loafers.
It’s a good choice Tommy, particularly in warmer weather. Go for the snuff
Cream and brown have become one of my go-to combos. It doesn’t matter which one is on top and which one is below. Add navy as a third option and you’ve got a great basis for mixing and matching, which is great when you’re packing light for a trip.
What is the color of the EG loafers?
It’s mink – the unlined Piccadilly here
Any places you recommend guayabera shirt? Can’t seem to find any .
No, sorry Michael, I haven’t shopped for them anywhere else. Though if you want you can buy through the Ramon Puig site in the US
Try Camisería Burgos in Madrid. They have a nice website and a MTO Guayabera service in the usual colours.
Thanks PF, I didn’t realise they did guayaberas. Haven’t been there in so long
Hey Simon! This one is a great article, thank you.
Which color of shoes would you recommend for a pair of navy chinos? Is dark brown suede a good option? I’m referring to loafers, not to white trainers. What about if you are wearing navy chinos with espadrilles? What’s the best color in this case?
I wouldn’t say there’s ever one ‘best’ colour Gabriel – loads of materials and colours can look good.
But dark-brown suede is probably the most versatile partner for navy chinos, yes.
With espadrilles, as mentioned in this piece I like black, but navy can also work well.
Simon, thank you for your help.
Please, would you mine to mention 2 or 3 alternative to dark brown suede for loafers worn with navy chinos? I refer to loafers
It’s interesting to see how navy espadrilles work well with navy chinos but loafers in navy suede wouldn’t (at least that’s my opinion).
Thank you again and have a nice day.
They wouldn’t, absolutely. Navy is rarely a good idea with footwear.
After dark-brown suede, I’d look at dark-brown calf, and perhaps black suede if you like that look
How versatile did you find your snuff suede Aldens? Do you find it is necessary in casual outfits, that the shoes are darker than the trousers? In an example: would you wear snuff suede loafers with navy shorts/chinos? (I think I remember you wearing the snuff Aldens at least with a military green trouser)
Thanks! Have a great (english week of) summer!
The short answer is they are quite versatile, even though shoes should usually be darker than the trousers.
I wouldn’t wear them with navy, no. But with olive it’s OK because the colour isn’t too different to snuff, and they’re similar tones of colour too
I like the guayabera shirt by Anderson and Sheppard.
Great Fedora. I like how you store you hats!
Living in NYC I wear shirts or polos, shorts, sneakers & Panama Fedora.
Hi, first of all thank you for the great articles you always publish. I’d like to ask you a question about unlined loafers. Should one be worried about having visible marks of the toe on the side of the shoe? Or is something normal due to the caractheristics of the shoe?(thin leather and unlined). My unlined shoes are really comfortable though the shape is not always very “clean”. Thanks
I think it depends on degree Oscar. If it’s only very slight, it’s fine. If it’s very obvious, it’s probably not.
Put another way – does anybody else notice, or just you?
Along with Guy Kemmann, I would like to add some comments from the U.S. I live in the Princeton, NJ area, which is, of course, a hotbed of Ivy style. While it would look normal in Miami, a gyabera shirt would look very odd around here and in most of New England. Stick to a polo, khaki shorts or trousers and boat shoes, and you’re good to go. Add in white cotton trousers, a seersucker or other cotton sports coat, along with brown loafers, a couple of oxford shirts, and you’re ready for anything except the most formal occasion. The summer uniform is pretty simple around here.
Lovely, thank you Evan
A very useful and informative article. Do you have similar capsules for other seasons, other circumstances? I have two questions: do you ever consider closed toe, leather sandals – what is called “fisherman” sandals rather than shoes with no socks? And hats. You wear a hat in one image, but warm weather means the hot sun. To be frank, bald means always wearing a hat in summer. Perhaps something more informal than a Panama such as Locke’s namibia calico fedora in cotton. Or Worth and Worth in New York City has some wonderful straw hats – some perhaps a little edgy – but certainly some would work with the different combinations that you illustrate. What’s your opinion on a wider range of summer hats beyond the Panama or baseball hat.
We have lots more capsules – see page here:
On sandals, no I don’t really wear them, I prefer espadrilles.
On summer hats, see my notes in these articles: https://www.permanentstyle.com/2018/06/indigo-navy-and-natural-a-summer-combination.html
Hi Simon, as ever a thought provoking article & a good way to hone our own style & wardrobe. Regarding the Guayabera do you know the purpose, if any, of the buttons at the base of the bottom pockets & at the shoulder? And the A & S import are those two vertical seams plain or do they have some embroidery as on some?
I don’t know the purpose, no Stephan. Perhaps another reader could tell us.
The vertical lines have lots of tiny knife pleats, but no embroidery, which is probably the way I would prefer it.
really like the first shot – white t-shirt, chinos and tote. Can you tell me the make of t-shirt. Also the vest/undershirt with the guayabera? Thanks
More details on the T-shirt in this article.
The vest is from Sunspel.
Simon, great article, thanks! I was a bit confused about the following sentences:
Isn’t the example (brown knitted polo or T-shirt with white or cream trousers) more alike to the typical tailoring combination (darker tops, paler bottoms) than the other way around?
Yes Stephan, that was my point.
Most of the clothes shown have a light top and a darker bottom. I describe a capsule wardrobe that includes these clothes.
The brown top and cream trousers are not part of that capsule. That outfit is included as an example of having things the other way around – dark top and lighter bottom – and show that it wouldn’t fit as easily into the capsule wardrobe described.
Thank you for the clarification! Now I see. Yes, it makes sense to build a casual summer capsule around light top / dark bottom combinations.
Great article as always.
I have found that different weights of linen work better for the items they are made for. Heavier Irish for jackets and trousers and almost paper thin for shirts (more of which below).
Even though I love my cotton navy knit t-shirt and polo, they are just too thick and hot for anything over 25C with the brutal 70%+ humidity of Japan. Now if there was a place I could get a merino polo…
Nice sandals-toeless or otherwise-in leather are essential here.
As people tend to hang out their washing on wire or lightweight plastic hangers here, shirts keep their shape and you can avoid ironing linen shirts if you want to. This can be further enhanced by straightening the wet shirt into its proper shape, folding the shirt on itself (fold it in half, put the sleeves together and then under the body) and then gently smoothing out the bulk of the wrinkles. Open the shirt out, put it on a hanger and put it out to dry. In this way, you have a kind half way house of a linen shirt that looks smart without ironing yet still retains its character of nice crumples and wrinkles.
Nice Dan, thanks.
I assume you’re aware of our merino polo? Was that the point of the ellipsis?
Of course! I am waiting patiently like many others I imagine.
Really liked this article. Probably a bit late for me to work towards this this year but something to think for next. For some reason summer surprises me every year she I suddenly realise I have nothing much to wear other than t shirts and jeans.
A question I had been thinking of recently actually arises in this article – I was curious that you chose fox air as a trouser fabric. Much as I love linen tailoring, I had been wondering if a summer suit in another fabric could be a good idea for the future – one that draped more, and held more shape whilst still having some hot weather properties. I know you’re a big fan of linen, and also hopsack jackets, but I wondered if you also put much value in other summer fabrics, such as fox air, and if there were any other worth considering ?
Yes absolutely, I love high-twist wools like Fox Air for summer suits – I have them in Crispaire, Fresco, Drapers 4 ply and so on.
They’re the summer equivalent of flannel, being relatively smart but with more texture than worsteds, and great as trousers in warmer weather too.
There is an article about high twists for trousers here, and here is an example of a suit of mine in Fox Air.
What are your thoughts on linen t-shirts? You never seem to wear them…is this just a matter of preference or is there some performance/functional aspect that makes you prefer cotton?
I have had them in the past, and tried them, but I find I dislike the look of knitted linen – the sort of patchiness to it, as well as transparency
Those wall colours are very nice – did you choose them? I wonder how it feels to be in rooms with wall painted in those dark colours?
Why do you hold the cell phone – are you really photographing yourself with one hand?
Yes, we painted and decorated all of the house ourselves. Dark colours are fine in rooms with a lot of light, like that room has.
Yes, that’s how a selfie in a mirror works – I’m photographing myself using the phone
I actually would wish for those selfies not to disappear from Instagram. And for more of them!
Yes, that’s the pain of Stories. Always seemed silly to me. But then you also don’t want to flood the main feed with all these daily shots
I guess it’s one advantage of a website over social media. I’ll also collect more together like this in the future, so they don’t get lost.
A new account for permanent style London selfies
True, that could work
You could create Stories Highlights on your IG profile so people can find them in the future!
Thanks, yes I do that already. The problem is, they’re set to always start with the first image you added, rather than the latest. So once you have more than a few in there, it requires a lot of tapping to get to anything recent. It’s a static area, basically.
Where is the taupe suit from and what material is it in?
It’s cotton from Elia Caliendo – see full article on it here.
Not a fisherman’s sandal in sight!
thanks for the great post, I particular like the first outfit. I think a summer wool worn casually is a nice representation of casual chic. Just out of curiosity, why did you chose these trousers in taupe rather than grey? Did you try this outfit with your 45r trainers?
You mean the the guayabera outfit? Yes I think the sharp wool is slightly unexpected there, which is nice.
I think grey in that outfit might have looked a bit too formal, a bit too business-y, like part of a tailored outfit. The different colour helps avoid that.
No, I didn’t try it with the 45R deck shoes, but they would have been too casual I think. I wouldn’t really wear them with high-twist wool.
Love the guayabera, Simon. Not sure if I’m reading it correctly – did Anderson & Sheppard make yours? Or did Ramon Puig make it?
Ramon Puig. Anderson & Sheppard just stocked it. But it wasn’t made for me – it was RTW
Hi Simon, The sizes of the guayaberas on the Ramon Puig website are a little inconsistent. Please could you let me know what size you are wearing and how you find it? I can then compare it to the other sizes you’ve given on the site. Thanks!
Sure – I took a medium, and it was good in most places. Just a little roomy in the body and perhaps short in the body. As mentioned in the chore suit piece, this is always the case with me.
Great article as always. I like Sunspel T-shirts but find myself in-between sizes there (a small and medium). In your view, when between sizes, is it better to size up or down in T-shirts?
It really depends on the look you want I think. One will be a bit tight, the other a bit loose. It also goes with fashion. I think in the past 20 years, the trend has definitely been towards the tighter, but it’s loosening up now a lot. Personally I feel better in something that’s slightly looser these days
This is an odd request, but do you know anywhere in London where I can buy espadrilles in size EU 49 (13.5 UK)? I’ve been to all sorts of places in Marylebone, Mayfair and Soho and had no luck. I am used to this of course but it’s still a pain. I really don’t want to have to go bespoke for a first pair.
I don’t, sorry Matt
Thank you for taking the time to reply.
A guayabera? I had never heard of them before this article. But now they seem to be everywhere. Drakes have some nice ones. Short sleeve or long sleeve? And how do you avoid looking like an ice cream seller?
I prefer long sleeve with the sleeves rolled up. It looks more casual yet also more elegant.
The Drake’s ones look nice, though they’re not the same level of make (check the pleats) as the Ramon Puig one here.
To be honest, I’m not sure anyone would make an ice cream seller link any more. But I find the rolled sleeves and something like a vest underneath help make it look less unusual.
I see what you mean by the level of make. I’m not sure I can find a UK stockist though.
Is the fox air fabric essentially the same color as the Paul Stuart trousers? If so, would you mind sharing the fabric #? I have been trying to fill that olive summer trouser niche for what seems like an eternity.
No, not really. It’s a browner colour, and looks rather different because of being high-twist wool. Much smarter
Hi Simon – being from a tropical country, I was delighted to see this casual summer capsule which would be more of a year round capsule for me!
Never owned a guayabera and would like your advice on them. Firstly, the length – is it meant to be as long as you wear it here i.e. just a touch longer or the same length as a suit jacket. Also, what about sleeves – did you go for long sleeves for the practical reason that it’s just colder in the UK? Thanks Simon.
The length is meant to be similar to a suit jacket, yes. Certainly covering your seat in the back – that’s the important thing.
But no, I preferred long sleeves because I thought the look of long sleeves rolled up was a little more expected and less risky than short sleeves. And I think that is the case.
Simon, when wearing summer knitwear with a thick ribbed hem, such as the Colhays silk/cashmere polo or Colhays merino sport shirt, do you prefer to tuck into your trousers, or for the hem to sit on top of the trouser waistband? I think such pieces are designed to be worn with the hem sitting on the waistband. But I still think they look better tucked in (at least on me) because, when untucked, they tend to elongate my torso relative to my legs, which I find less flattering. Thanks.
They should be worn untucked, yes, on top of the waistband. They’re a piece of knitwear, a sweater, and are designed to be worn as such.
That does of course shorten the legs somewhat, but that’s the case with any knitwear.
Sorry but doesn’t your latest Instagram pic (the Clutch Cafe one) contradict this advice, as you’re wearing the same Colhays polo I described tucked into shorts? Unless perhaps you’ve rolled up the hem such that it appears tucked in. But then I don’t see why rolling up the hem is much different stylistically than tucking in. I could see the argument if we were discussing a bulkier piece of knitwear–of course that would look terrible. But it wouldn’t look terrible because it’s “a piece of knitwear.” Rather, it would look terrible because it’s too bulky to look coherent tucked in. Thin pieces of knitwear made for summer, like the Colhays polo, aren’t remotely bulky and would look just as good tucked in as other, non-knitted polos.
It isn’t tucked in in that photo, and I haven’t rolled it up either.
The hem is doing what it should on all good fitting knitwear: sitting on the waistband of the shorts/trouser and then folding over the top, so the knit doesn’t ride up when you move.
As a separate point, that Colhays knit is actually as thick as most long-sleeve ones.
Hey Simon, just playing catch-up on PS posts as I have been preoccupied with work in recent weeks. The incessant deluge this summer hasn’t helped my mood either, but writing this is making me feel better now.
Have you ever discussed the weight of the clothes we wear especially in hot, summer months? For me, weightlessness in clothes has become a sort of ‘sartorial nirvana’. Featherlight cottons, silks, wools, technical fabrics too, etc. I started seeking them out through my running and cycling gear which are the epitome of lightness.
As you wrote somewhere else, sportswear is gradually seeping into our normal everyday clothes more and more now. Perhaps a feature on the subject for those who, like me, hanker for more light, technical fabrics would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
Oh good, pleased to hear it.
I can certainly look more at lightweight fabrics, though to be honest I personally feel that they are often prioritised too much in the name of comfort or coolness.
Technical fabrics have many advantages, but they are just not enjoyable textiles – they have no character, no beauty, nothing aesthetic to enjoy.
I always feel that when you see people all wearing crinkly waterproof jackets when it’s raining, standing at the train station. There is so much to enjoy in better fabrics, but people have no patience for it. They think of wool as not waterproof, but it’s absolutely fine unless you’re deluged for half an hour. And it’s so much nicer. Part of the problem is they haven’t learned how to take care of anything.
Sorry, I just feel quite strongly on this. Men have a habit of valuing practicality and ease – for example with things like caring about clothes – above all else. And it just sucks the joy out of it all.
Another great article,especially for who is living in tropical climate.
May I ask you what do you wear in a summer rainy day?
The rainy day in summer is still hot and very humid.
What’s worst is that the afternoon thunderstorm is so heavy,that I can’t wear my suede loafer as usual.
Yes, that is hard.
What you really want is a lightweight rainproof layer, like a windcheater jacket. Not a new technical one, but something in lightly waxed cotton, perhaps. And of course an umbrella. For shoes – see here on rain.
Have a look at the lightweight raincoats by Sealup (Milano). They are very smart.
They also have a collaboration with Connolly-it has served me well during this summer’s torrential downpours in the Netherlands. It is certainly waterproof.
Thank you Peter,
I have heard of sealup and their raincoats. But not for sure what fabric should I go for. Some of their raincoats are 100% Polyester, others are 45% cotton 16% nylon 39% polyester.
I have a little fear about the polyester.
And there is no agent of Sealup in my country. I have to buy their products online.
Thank you for your reply Simon,
I think I will try a suede chukka.
May I ask that what brands offer “lightly” waxed cotton jacket?
Nothing springs to mind actually. But I know what I’m looking for!
The American workwear community love them. I would look there. This example by filson I find appealing .
Thanks Peter. I didn’t really mean a workwear jacket like that, more a brighter yellow windcheater style. But those Filson ones are nice
Have you looked at https://www.jamesdarbyclothing.co.uk/ up in Manchester,James? They do that style.
Hey Simon, is that guayabera linen?
Yes it is
Awesome thanks. I’m visiting Miami in a month or so and May look into one.
Any issues wearing your linen guayabera with your linen pants? Aren’t they too similar to wear together?
It’s certainly something to be aware of, but I find it’s OK as long as the colours aren’t that close, and there’s a T-shirt or something else under the guayabera. Also, it’s helpful if the two are different weights or weaves of linen – eg one lighter or softer, one heavier or denser (as most Italians vs Irish are)
Simon, could you elaborate on the following:
“The tricky area for clashing is really just the outerwear and the shoes. So I might only take black shoes if my single overshirt were brown.”
My initial reaction is the trousers separate any outerwear and shoes, and therefore having a similar colour would not clash.
You’re right that the outerwear and shoes are separated, and so there’s not so much of a clash as there would be if it were a top and trousers, for instance.
But the outfit would still probably look nicer if the outerwear and shoes were not both a matte brown. It wouldn’t look wrong, but I think it would be nicer with the brown overshirt and black-suede loafers/espadrilles
Hey Simon, just picked up a Ramon Puig Guayabera in Miami in the Irish linen. Great summer shirt-jacket type. Any thoughts on cleaning it? Also, would you switch out the buttons for some creamy mother of pearl buttons like your luca shirts? Where do you even get those type of buttons? I know some of the guayaberas had nice MOP buttons just not in my size. Thanks for the recommendation in your summer capsule
Nice, sounds good Joel.
I’ve dry cleaned mine, which isn’t great to have to do all the time, but it’s what they recommended and I would be nervous about machine washing it, even if the make is pretty much the same as a shirt.
You could certainly swap the buttons, yes that’s a nice idea. I hadn’t thought of that. It would also mean the buttons weren’t branded, which I prefer.
I don’t think it’s easy to source those buttons as a customer though – they’re ordered in bulk by shirtmaking businesses, but the suppliers aren’t set up to serve individual customers. Perhaps ask a shirtmaker if you can have some as a favour?
Thanks Simon. I guess I could hand wash as well. As far as the buttons go, I will reach out to some shirt makers and see what say.
Yes hand washing might be a good idea – just soaking in warm soapy water, with maybe a light rub on the collar and armpits
Sounds like a plan. I have a shirt maker sending me buttons.
I have done two hand washes so far and it has worked out perfectly. Pretty much just wash like knitwear and your good.
Which fabric mill is the taupe cotton trouser/suit made from and which tailor?
It’s Holland & Sherry, made by Elia Caliendo – article here
In india it is hot most of the year and therefore on weekends my default for trouser becomes linen. I do want to go for cotton trousers but yet to find a perfect tailored cotton trouser which can be worn casually because most of them actually look quite formal which you have already addressed. So most of the times I swap between denim and linen.
Do you think I am overusing linen by wearing it too often as linen can be too showy a material?
I am afraid i could be stereotyped as a person who only wears linen and on certain days denim.
No I think that’s fine Kailash. You can get quite different looks depending on what you wear the linen with.
Also, there are sharper and more rumpled, smoother and more slubby linens to explore
Simon! What is your opinion on darker shirts paired with light colour trousers but without a jacket?
Does it look good or is it top heavy and the eyes naturally gets drawn towards your legs?
No, I think it can look great. As in the outfits here for example
After reading your article on ‘white and gray’ looking best when the sun is out, I am planning to wear more white and bright colors in the day during summer months and at night go for darker low contrast outfits.
Many people say that in summer more light and pastels colours should be worn and not dark because it is reserved for cold. I on the other hand don’t wear colors according to seasons but according to the time of the day( if it is morning then more light than dark and if it is evening then dark) but do change fabrics according to seasons.
Would you be able to advice as to whether the correct approach is wearing colors according to season or according to the time of day?
Either is fine Monty, and as with many of these things, the most important thing is that you work into your own sense of style. I think you’re aware of why these different traditions exist, and that’s all you need.
I am looking to buy some black suede loafers for myself this summer after seeing this post.
Do you think the last on these loafers are a bit too smart? I primarily wear chinos, linen trousers and denim in the summer, so would love to hear your thoughts.
Probably, yes. It’s borderline, but looking at the sole, it looks like they’re a bit smart for denim and chinos
How long would you want your Guayeabera to be? Like a shirt, just worn untucked (an overshirt’s length, essentially), or shorter, like a t-shirt?
An overshirt length. Between the bottom of your bum and the middle. Nearer the bottom perhaps
Thank you, as always.
May I know the fabric code for the linen trouser which you paired with the dark brown polo? It looks really good!
The same one won’t be available Steve, they’re really old, sorry
Let me start by saying this is not a dig or negative critique, more an observation followed by a feeling of warmth and comfort. When looking through your outfit photos and seeing the normalcy (for lack of a better word) of what I can only assume is your bedroom I thought this article must have been at least seven years old. I admit, I had this image of you as this grandiose, uber successful menswear thought leader who came from a finance background and surrounded himself in a home akin to one featured in The Robb Report. But, seeing the opposite made me feel like you were less of a figure and more of a really down to earth gentleman that happened to be an exceptional dresser. I think you can credit your style, knowledge, presentation and the experience one has when coming to your website to the aforementioned assumption. Well done Simon.
Thank you Christopher, and yes that’s certainly the case. See how I store everything here as well – hardly glamorous!
Hi simon what do you think about oxford buttown down popovets in summer? I thihk they dan look quite nice tucked out over shorts or in with trousers
Yes I think it can be a nice look. Just make sure it has a square hem and you get the length right – too long and it can kind of swallow you
agreed simon. On that note, nice popovers can be a bit tricky to find. How do you feel about slightly oversized OCBDs tucked out over shorts? Do you think they look sloppy assuming one alters it shorter?
It’s a tricky one, it can easily look very sloppy, yes. I think it depends a lot on the proportions and fit of the top and the shorts.
Personally I usually prefer to half tuck the shirt, or tuck it in but leave it to ride out a bit. Looks a bit more elegant but still very easy going