In a nutshell

A summer style born in the French Riviera in the 1920s, and which proves that you can be smart and dressed for a heatwave. Consider it the original holiday look, as stylish today as when it was worn by Picasso and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

The backstory

At the turn of the 18th century, the beachside towns of southern France were the destination du jour for transatlantic ex-pats. From Monaco to Marseille, the Côte d’Azur was inundated with moneyed Americans, all seeking a break from stifling Paris. The clothes they wore were loose and, most importantly, comfortable spins on what worked in the city – blazers with all the stuffing taken out, shirts in breathable fabrics, shoes that went from beach to bar.

“It’s a really relaxed take on European tailoring,” says Thread stylist Luke McDonald. “It was made popular in the 1950s, in the dawn of mass vacations, and it’s almost a snapshot of that era; the kind of style from films like The Talented Mr Ripley." It’s smart, without being overdressed; summery, but not obnoxious. “It’s the opposite of the tourist-on-the-beach outfit. You can wear it anywhere and fit in.”

Photographed: Jigsaw striped polo (£45); Orslow white denim jeans (£185); Moss woven loafers (£50)

How to wear it well

Your watchword with Riviera style is ‘relaxed’; think looser (but not baggy) fits and fabrics you wouldn’t wear to work. It’s basically smart-casual for the beach. “Shorts should be tailored, rather than baggy,” says Luke, “and trousers should be lightweight but still neat. With shoes, definitely go for slip-ons – espadrilles, boat shoes, loafers are all great.” Leather sandals are too, but never flip-flops. “The idea is to look comfortable and elegant, not cartoonish.”