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Summer’s best statement pieces

Summer’s best statement pieces

We all become the best versions of ourselves in summer – now it’s time for your wardrobe to do the same. The sun is shining, your holiday is just on the horizon, and it’s finally acceptable to eat ice cream for dinner. There’s no excuse to wear drab, dreary basics when life is this good. An easy way to show some personality with your wardrobe is with the right statement pieces, and the trick to pulling them off is choosing just one per look and centring the rest of your outfit around it. So which standout pieces are worthy of their time in the sun? We spoke with Thread stylist Alexander McCalla about which warm-weather styles should top your list and how to wear them in a way that doesn’t overwhelm the rest of your look. 

Printed Shirts

Patterns seem to come out of the woodwork during this time of year, and we’re here for it. “Summer is a great time to experiment with short-sleeved pattern shirts,” Alexander says. “They’re lightweight pieces to buy into, and they easily jazz up basic pieces.” Even though there’s been an explosion of eye-catching patterns, from tropical to animal prints, Alexander argues stripes can still make as bold of an impact. “Stripes are great for smartening up more casual pieces, like white jeans and shorts.” And when you do embrace quirkier patterns, don’t be afraid to wear them with a suit, in addition to your shorts and chinos. “Patterned Cuban collar or granddad shirts look particularly good with suits and add a fun element to a more formal look.”

Graphic Tees 

If you’re feeling cheeky, angsty, nostalgic, or artsy, there’s a graphic tee to express that. In fact, there is a seemingly endless assortment of styles that will communicate your exact mood. What’s particularly great about graphic tees is that they make a statement with very little effort, and they tend to get that cool lived-in look the more you wear them. “In high summer, it’s hard to pile on too many layers without overheating, and nothing spoils a mood like sweating through your look,” Alexander says. “A graphic tee lends your look personality, while still keeping you cool.” 

This season, embrace brighter, seasonal graphics that capture the spirit of summer. You can use them to elevate your favourite pair of mid-wash jeans or dress down a suit. And while white graphic tees are always classic, Alexander suggests playing around with different colours, like reds, blues, and greens. “Whatever suits the other pieces in your wardrobe, your skin tone or the vibe you’re going for.” 

Printed Swim Shorts

“Swim shorts are always something you can have a bit of fun with,” Alexander says. “They give you an excuse to take risks you might otherwise be afraid to try.” So don’t just reach for the same old solid-coloured style when you can make a splash in the range of geometric, floral, and tropical prints available. “You can easily smarten up statement swim shorts with a pair of black-strapped sandals and a plain white tee or polo for a look that will take you from the beach to the bar. The pared-down pieces will temper the boldness of the look and allow the print to really stand out.” 

Photographed: Vans OG Authentic LX (£35)

Statement Trainers 

If you want to ease in to statement pieces, trainers are a great place to pack a punch without going too bold. “There’s a wide spectrum of trainer options to choose from, so it’s easy to find a style for your level of risk,” Alexander says. In terms of seasonality, canvas trainers are lightweight and more breathable than most other trainers. Their lightweight design means they won’t last as long, but the shorter shelf life is a nice excuse to play around with more interesting styles, like checkered patterns or neon colours. 

“A lot of classic runners from brands like Nike also come in really interesting colour combinations – think bold shades with more muted ones.” Alexander also encourages you to play around with fabrication. There are a number of statement suede and leather styles that lend visual interest to your look. 


Words: Allison Pavlick
Photography: Mark Sanders
Styling: Alexander McCalla
Styling assistant: Toby Standing