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Clothes for specific weather

Four ways to embrace the last weeks of sunshine

Four ways to embrace the last weeks of sunshine

There is a time for everything, they say, and clothing is no different. A time for cable knits, a time for Breton tees; a time for chino shorts, a time for full-length cords. Right now is the time to take stock and reflect on whether your wardrobe is serving you to the best of its seasonally-appropriate abilities.

“Summer is the best time of year to start experimenting with colour, break away from your bog-standard neutrals and introduce something new,” says Thread stylist Millie Rich. A word of warning though; some of style’s greatest crimes have been committed in silly season. So keep your flip-flops for the beach, say no to short shorts, and don't unbutton your shirt to the navel.

"Every other season you have layers to play around with and this in itself can do the talking for you, but in summer you really are limited to three main items; top, bottom, shoes," says Millie. "So the difficulty here is trying to put as much interest as possible into a fewer number of items, all whilst trying to stay true to your style. It's a minefield." Here’s how to step through in safety.

Colours that won't induce a migraine

Photographed: French Connection chambray shirt (£95)French Connection seersucker suit shorts (£55)Ben Sherman stripe polo knit (£35); J by Jasper Conran slip-on shoes (£70 for similar)

If your wardrobe offers a wall of blacks, greys and the odd splash of white, then it might be time to start jazzing things up a bit. That doesn’t mean going full Wes Anderson. "If you want to keep things more on the smarter side, play around with tonal colours rather than contrasting options,” says Millie. “Blue is a good option for this as navy and blue tones work really well together – just ensure you have different fabrics to add texture to your look.”

Layers that add character

Photographed: Joules yellow laundered shirt (£19.95)Fred Perry classic navy twill trousers (£90)Sunspel t-shirt (£65)Monokel tortoiseshell ‘Ando’ sunglasses (£109)Vans white OG classic slip on (£59)

You might not think that layering has any place in a summer style guide, but you'd be wrong. Because keeping cool in the heat isn't exposing as much of your flesh as possible – it’s about airflow. "Wearing a long-sleeved shirt over a cotton tee will not only protect you from sunburn, but the natural fabric will also wick moisture away from your body and stop sweat from staining your outer layer," says Millie. "As for that base layer, it helps create a pocket of air between you and the outer shirt, so you'll stay cooler and add depth to your look."

Playing with pattern

Photographed: Gitman Vintage Oxford stripe shirt (£155)Fred Perry stone chinos (£90)Beams stripe tee (£75); Lacoste cap (£29)

"It seems like we always feel more comfortable wearing bolder and brighter patterns when we’re on holiday, then they sit in the wardrobe when you return until the next holiday," says Millie. But it needn't be that way. Sure, that mega-loud tropical shirt probably won't look right while you're shivering under the office AC, but a subtle version of it can add holiday vibes to your commute. In fact, if you play your cards right, you can even double up on pattern. “This outfit works because the bold horizontal stripes draw your eye, while the thinner vertical stripes merely complement it.” If this kind of pattern-clashing feels a touch OTT, swap the striped shirt for a plain Oxford.

Let the fabric do the work

Photographed: Armor Lux stripe tee (£45)Marks and Spencer trousers (£49.50)Grenson navy hi-top men’s sneakers (£95)

Man-made fabrics have their place – especially in the gym, where super-technical materials can suck up their weight in sweat – but you need something more natural in the summer. "You want breathable and light fabrics in the heat," says Millie. "Luckily, these often already have texture, which means introducing something more visually interesting can be easy. For example, instead of cotton trousers, try swapping them for linen or seersucker. They look equally smart and will add something new to your outfit, but they don’t need styling any differently."


Words: Tess Harold