After a few false starts – yay, summer’s here! Oh, hang on, brrr, no it isn’t – it’s now safe to break open the warm-weather wardrobe. Time to take the tissue off my new white sea-island cotton T-shirts from Sunspel, pull my navy cashmere-suede O’Keeffe loafers from their canvas slips, shake the creases out of my Michael Bastian slim-fit chinos and pop on a navy Portland blazer by Oliver Spencer.
Ahhh, at last: freedom from the tyranny of chunky sweaters, plaid shirts, lace-up boots and cumbersome coats.
I no longer have to dress like Captain Haddock – the actor Kit Harington (Jon Snow in Game of Thrones) kindly pointed out that I resembled the captain when I let my beard grow a tad longer recently, much to many of my friends’ amusement. My roll-neck sweater was placed out of sight at the bottom of the wardrobe and my beard trimmer swiftly recharged the following morning.
So, now that summer is here, I’ve decided to de-Haddock myself even further. As, in fact, did the Captain himself.
In the later Tintin books, he leaves his coarse seafaring ways behind, returns to his ancestral seat and becomes a theatre-going, monocle-wearing socialite. I shall follow suit… after all, there are only so many seasonal classics a man can own.
Since I have a plethora of blazers, oodles of chinos and a slush pile of unsolicited T-shirts, I have decided it’s time to add a few new surprises into the mix: items that may get a second look, but hopefully not quite elicit a “WTF” response.
As nice as it is to have a signature style, it’s also healthy to shake things up a bit. It’s my Kim Kardashian goes platinum moment. Here are some of the more “adventurous” pieces that I have my monocle-clad eye focused on wearing this summer:
1 | Pea-green leather Common Projects low-top sneakers. These will add a little edge to the chinos, bring some colour to my outfit and yet remain far enough from my face to avoid being annoying when I have a hangover; commonprojects.com
2 | Dip-dyed blue and cream cashmere sweater from The Elder Statesman. I’ve only got eyes for dip dyes this summer; £1,150, mrporter.com
3 | Cavrin seersucker linen-cotton blend shorts by Orlebar Brown. They’re slightly shorter than the normal ones I would wear away from the beach, but the fit and fabric pull it off. I hope; £135, mr porter.com
4 | Cotton-jersey midnight-blue and taupe cardigan by Kolor. The Japanese designers are doing some interesting things, and this jacket-cum-cardigan is unusual without being too try-hard; £390, mrporter.com
5 | Reversible cotton bucket hat from Lock & Co Hatters. These make you look marvellously grumpy. Wear one on holiday and no one will ask you to do anything. Google “Peter Fonda in On Golden Pond” and you’ll see what I mean; £80, mrporter.com
6 | Navy T-shirt with yellow and white bands on the hem by Tomorrowland. A modest dash of eccentricity; mrporter.com
7 | Hand-painted watercolour-dyed cashmere hoodie by Massimo Alba. Some say men over 40 shouldn’t wear hoodies, but I say it doesn’t count if they are cashmere; £535, mrporter.com
8 | Sleepy Jones pale blue piped cotton pyjamas. These can be worn for at least half the weekend and today seem more risqué than the now standard T-shirt and sweatpants combo; £120, mrporter.com
9 | Beige slim-fit silk trousers by Valentino. There’s something rather raffish and To Catch a Thief about these. Will work well with a T-shirt or a blazer; £580, mrporter.com
10 | Finally, a rather pricey geometric floral print shirt from Bottega Veneta. When I’ve bought patterned shirts before, I’ve never worn them. This one – due to its subtlety and blueness – might just make it through the last-minute mirror check; £530, mrporter.com
A modest nod to some of summer’s key trends, but there’s a couple of items I secretly would like to own but shall try very hard to resist: having slagged off Birkenstocks for yonks, I’m having secret sandal envy as many of my peers are now wearing them – although I still feel you have to have perfectly groomed and hairless feet to get away with open footwear. Despite the fact I was a foot model in a previous life (no one believes me, but it’s true), I shall, as a matter of pride, stick to bright-red Castañer espadrilles.
I also yearn, inappropriately, for a Saint Laurent leopard-print suede jacket. It’s not going to happen – I’d look more Scissor Sister than Jamie Hince – but I wouldn’t be mistaken for Captain Haddock.