Style Column: How To Be Adventurous This Summer

Because here comes the sun (hopefully)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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