CELEBRATE BRITISH SUMMER
Embrace your inner eccentric for an idiosyncratic look that works all season long.
Fashion author and critic
Dressing for the beloved – and generally all-too-brief – British summertime is a complicated matter, and much of that can be attributed to our famously unpredictable weather. After all, it’s not quite so crazy to combine a woolly jumper and shorts, with a waterproof mac over the top for good measure. You could feasibly need any – or all three – on a typical British summer’s day.
High fashion has taken a leaf from that book. Maybe it’s because the traditional boundaries between fashion seasons are disappearing. Or perhaps it’s because there’s something supremely stylish about the liberated British spirit that international fashion designers are channelling as inspiration. We saw this mash-up of clothes at labels as varied as Valentino, Marni and quintessential British brand Burberry, which felt like fashion’s riff on the English eccentric. Gucci’s Alessandro Michele chose not only to dress his models in that style for his SS17 show, but also to shoot his Cruise Collection campaigns at Chatsworth House, the family seat of the Duke of Devonshire. British summer style is riding high.
But, given the oft inclement climes, you’d be excused for asking exactly what the difference is between British summer style and… well, style at any other time of year. There is a gleeful indulgence when the sun does finally come out in Britain – the sudden emergence of shorts, and hence legs, for example; the peppering of shirts with print; the socks and sandals combination. Many of these have been subject to jeering over the years, but suddenly those British summer fashion archetypes look fresh and new. Socks and sandals certainly beat sweaty trainers when the mercury begins to rise.
But it’s the mix of clothes that keeps the whole feeling fresh and vibrant and, practically, that’s how it can translate into your wardrobe. It doesn’t necessarily mean slinging a Barbour over your swimming trunks, or wearing Hunter wellingtons with shorts (although if you’re frequenting a music festival this summer, either could be an option). Rather, it’s about blending together styles, old and new, to make something that feels idiosyncratic and unique.
Pair a Panama hat with a polo shirt and shorts, rather than a traditional lightly tailored suit, or maybe break up said suit by wearing it with a print T-shirt and sandals. The whole ethos is that rules are made to be broken. That’s really what British style is all about – especially in menswear. After all, we’re the nation that invented punk.
ALEX'S EASY SUMMER STAPLES
This feature originally appeared in the summer 2017 issue of Edition magazine
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