By: Simon Oates
Admittedly, Singapore doesn’t really have what you could call different seasons; but, that doesn’t mean you can’t change your sartorial selections. Here, Simon Oates recommends his top three fashion essentials to get you in sync with summer.
Though it might seem strange to start a summer style guide by looking at outerwear, let’s not forget that when it rains here it pours. And happily the brands are awash (see what I did there?) with options suitable for a tropical climate, and ideal for if you find yourself on Orchard Road and the sky is chucking it down.
I’m not talking about that traditional heavy cotton number more commonly known as the “Flasher” due to its popularity amongst the unsavoury gentlemen of yesteryear. No, these days fabrics and trends have thankfully moved on, and you can get some incredibly lightweight raincoats in sporty performance nylons, that offer superb protection without making you feel like you’re wearing a tent ground sheet, while also being tailored with a smarter silhouette versatile for the office or dressed down with denim. My particular favourite is the West Coat from Gant.
If the idea of a mac is too upmarket for your taste, then opt for its more rugged cousin, the hooded raincoat. Again, the traditional heavy cottons have given way to more performance focused fabrics, but the shapes remain classic. Play it safe and go for a classic navy, but if your wardrobe is in need of a vibrant update, then choose bold yellow. Ralph Lauren, Gant and new kids on the block Hentschman are all showing their daring side this summer.
Finally, in the outerwear stakes, the humble denim jacket makes a comeback for 2015. For this season you have numerous options – either seek out a classic vintage denim jacket or go for a sleeker clean version like those from Burberry or Tom Ford. The braver amongst you can try a bleached white version to keep it neat and sharp, and to get noticed.
No man’s summer wardrobe is complete without a seasonal pair of shorts and now is the right time to invest in some flattering leg-wear to make your legs look less like a diseased donkey and more like a thoroughbred racehorse. The rise and rise of luxury swim shorts is set to continue into 2015 – let’s face it, they are so much more preferable than Speedos for everybody concerned, and perfect for lounging round the pool without concerned mothers having to shield their children’s eyes.
A recent find is Riz Boardshorts; London-based Riz Smith makes brilliantly tailored boardshorts with prints inspired by vintage scarves. What’s more, these shorts have a message: Riz is a surfer cum eco-warrior who churns his profits back into keeping the ocean clean, so you can do your bit for the planet at the same time. They offer free worldwide shipping, too.
Over the past few seasons, shorts have generally gotten shorter but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should go for the spray-on look favoured by footballers in the 1980s – remember, these are the guys who thought the mullet was cool. Instead, go for something tailored and cut a couple of inches above the knee. J.Crew, the current doyens of preppy Americana, have got it spot on this season with their Stanton chino shorts cut at a very precise nine-inch inside leg length and available in a colour palette broad enough to slot into any man’s vacation wardrobe.
And finally, here’s my style curve ball for the summer – the sports sandal. With sportswear currently dominating fashion, the humble sandal has been given a technical overhaul this season. Even Birkenstocks, long the footwear of choice of stereotypical “liberal do-gooders”, have been given the technical treatment; they are now more hipster than hippy.
Again, depending on where you sit on the fashion fence, you can either go for a traditional design that’s been given the colour treatment, or push the boat out and go for the cutting-edge technical version – Teva is the brand your dad knows but, much like Barbour did with the heritage trend, it has re-invigorated its range with considered and relevant colours, updated styling and old-fashioned quality.
The last word goes to Japanese outdoor sandal enthusiasts, Suicoke – a bit like Teva on steroids, with a rugged luxury edge (if you can imagine such a thing). They’re exclusively available in Singapore at Supplies & Co in Raffles Arcade.