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What goes with what

The summer staples every wardrobe needs

The summer staples every wardrobe needs

Summer might have only just officially begun, but summer dressing started as soon as the warm weather made its first appearance. Years ago, if you were particularly well-to-do, that would have entailed packing one entire wardrobe away, and breaking out another one (or, rather, having your servants do it for you). Thankfully those days are long gone. “It’s not about an entirely new wardrobe when the seasons change,” says stylist Luke McDonald. “It’s about incorporating one or two new pieces that lift what you already own and make it feel new again.”

Pale blue jeans + a polo shirt

A polo shirt is one of those items that is never truly in fashion, which means it’s never out of style. The versatility of the polo is what makes it a real favourite – great with chinos or shorts, it gives any look an instant smart-casual feel.

“The classic pique polo is a perennial,” says Luke. “It will always be suitable and stylish. Lacoste, Fred Perry or Polo Ralph Lauren are the safe bet if you want a simple, timeless style. I also really like Sunspel for a version that feels a little more elevated and special. One of my favourite summer pairings is pale denim and pastel colours. It’s such a simple switch from your heavier winter clothes – you’re just lightening the tones. A washed vintage-feel denim is a summer essential for jeans.”

Pattern shirt + drawstring chinos

Printed shirts are everywhere this summer, which means there’s plenty of variety and a style to suit every complexion and budget. Drawstring chinos might not, on first glance, seem quite so ubiquitous. But they’re comfortable and airy, which is what you want right now.

“A botanical print is a nice substitute for the more out-there Hawaiian styles,” says Luke. “A more natural pattern is also a bit smarter, so perfect for wearing with more tailored trousers, but can lift a more casual pair, too. That’s why I’m such a big fan of the drawstring chino. It’s a bit of a hybrid – part chino, part jogger – but that just makes them more interesting and comfortable. Keep the colours neutral for maximum versatility.”

Linen shirt, hiking shorts + a bag

Linen makes a return each summer because it’s lightweight, breathable and easy to wear. It has a bit of an old school vibe – think linen suits, think Panama hats – but the modern way to wear linen moves away from that and feels a bit more playful.

“I think coloured linen has more character than white, it instantly brightens an outfit and it doesn’t look as crumpled,” says Luke. “All things hiking are currently in style, which is great for summer because hiking shorts are often packable – they fold without creasing – and dry quickly. I love the high-low pairing of a smart linen shirt with sportier shorts, they elevate each other. Swapping out your standard black backpack for a lighter one is an easy way to add some summertime vibes, without a total style overhaul.”

Words: Nadia Balame-Price
Photography: Jamie Stoker
Styling: Luke McDonald
Styling assistant: Alexander McCalla