We are several months into our sartorial relationship, so by now you trust me, right? I mean, if this was a real relationship we’d now be beyond the initial pleasantries and minding of manners and, if I was your other half, I’d now be telling you what I really thought about you and your mates, and that Xbox you’re on all hours of the bloody day.
So this month’s Style Guide is about laying down the ground rules, establishing boundaries and, above all, making sure we all understand what’s acceptable in this relationship.
Here, then, are the 10 commandments of this season’s fashion.
1. Flip Flops are for the beach or poolside only – no exceptions. If you do need to bare your feet then invest in a solid pair of sandals or boat shoes at a push. But remember: no socks are to be worn under any circumstances (see rule 8). And while we’re at it, Crocs are a crime against humanity.
2. Get a tan. Not necessarily a style pointer but everybody looks better with a tan. I’m not advocating basting yourself with olive oil in front of harmful UV rays (by all means have a go with the missus’ self-tan, but seek advice first and use sparingly) – think a healthy golden hue, not George Hamilton’s pillow.
3. Vests. Are worn by American truckers or Italian gigolos – I’m afraid you are neither.
4. White jeans. A big trend for this summer but to be avoided unless you are two weeks into a serious vacation tan. Be warned, if you wear them with a pasty white complexion you’ll basically look like you’re naked from the waist down.
5. Replica football shirts. Look, I know that the World Cup got you all hot and bothered about the beautiful game, and I’m as patriotic as the next man, but keep them for the sofa not the Sunday afternoon stroll around MacRitchie Reservoir. There’s also a tendency for the football supporter to sport the three-quarter length trouser to “complete” the look. That’s a straight red and a 10-game ban in my book.
6. Speedos or – worse – G-strings on the beach. Unless you’re a) Michael Phelps or b) Ron Jeremy, swimwear should be modest and sit somewhere between an inch or six above the knee. The trend for this summer is upmarket swimshorts with subtle prints or bold patterns – Saturdays Surf NYC have some great options and bank-balance friendly prices.
7. Slogan T-shirts. Did you really go to Malibu Beach University in 1973? No? Then there’s no excuse for wearing a t-shirt that says you did. The key here is authenticity, so before you banish the logo T-shirt from your repertoire, it’s worth noting that all the big fashion houses are borrowing from street-wear and bringing back the big logo T-shirt. Kenzo and Calvin Klein have both been leading the charge on this trend but “KEEP CALM AND EAT NASI LEMAK” just won’t cut it.
8. No socks. Take a tip from the tanned continental European types and ditch the socks. I can’t stress enough how impeccable foot hygiene is key here, otherwise you’ll end up cheesier than a 3am chat-up line at 1Altitude. Note: ditching the socks is non-negotiable when wearing sandals or loafers, but never ever with flip-flops – obviously.
9. Get your sunglasses right. Choosing the right accessories are crucial and a cool pair of shades can be the difference between you looking like Ryan Gosling or a trainspotter. Resist the temptation to go for a pair of “personality shades” and go classic. Raybans are good but on the wane – Persol (the choice of Steve McQueen and heir-apparent, the aforementioned Mr Gosling) is where it’s at for this year.
10. Flower Power Rules. Florals are everywhere this summer, and even footwear and accessories haven’t escaped – from bold Hawaiian patterns to subtle liberty prints. If you’re heading off on holiday you’ll need a small capsule wardrobe of dependable staples to take with you, but always include something special to mark you out from your alpha male rivals as you lounge with stylishly effortless nonchalance at the bar. Depending on your level of style bravery, a floral print T-shirt, subtle flower-print pocket square or bold tropical print shirt will do the trick.
So there you have it, ten simple rules for approaching the coming season with confidence – just don’t forget the factor 50 in this heat. Until next time.