The Style Column

Feels Like Summer

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Ok it doesn't really. But our resident style columnist Jeremy Langmead invites you to at least start looking to warmer times ahead.---

It might be cold outside right now, but, guess what, I’m going to force you to think about your spring/summer wardrobe.

If you think that it’s far too early, bear in mind that I’ve just returned from a trip to Milan where we were looking at what will be on offer next autumn. So this spring already feels old hat to me (make that an old Lock & Co Panama hat, please).

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Anyway, it’s actually quite cheering thinking about the new season (sunburn, airport delays, muffin tops) and so I’m not going to feel guilty. And if I tell you about the six key trends that I think are worth considering this coming season, you can mull them over for a bit and decide if you want to play.

01 | Safari jackets. We’ve been here before, but the safari styles for this summer are a million miles from those worn by the baddies in Raiders of the Lost Ark or the short fat one from It Ain’t Half Hot Mum. Slim tailored jackets in khaki or army green, with the requisite patch pockets and belted waist, can look good teamed with pale narrow trousers, a pair of tailored shorts or even jeans. Check out those by Maison Martin Margiela, Harrington, Woolrich Woolen Mills or, if you’re feeling flush, in leather by Bottega Veneta.

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02 | While you’re in the jungle mood, it’s time to man up and dabble with some pattern. A number of designers showed African-style prints — Burberry and Woolrich Woolen Mills — while Givenchy used birds of paradise prints (more friendly than its snarling Rottweiler ones last year). And, crazy old me, I’m going to recommend you even consider wearing a patterned trouser. I’ve surprised myself a little with this suggestion, but when you look at the ikat-print trousers by Burberry Prorsum, or the blue and cream prints by Acne, it suddenly seems right. Wear them with a plain, neutral sweater, or T-shirt — even a blazer — and they will look pretty damn good.

03 | Shades of blue. Who would have thought? Blue for summer! The difference this season is that the most popular hues on show weren’t navy, but something much brighter: electric blue. When mixed in with a host of other shades, it’s highly wearable. Lanvin, E Tautz, Canali and Acne all have some great vibrant blues for raincoats, bomber jackets and suits .

04 | The pleated trouser. Small neat pleats have been inching their way back for a couple of seasons, but this summer they make a great detail on a pair of tailored trousers. Alexander McQueen, Lanvin and Burberry Prorsum have some smart slim-cut versions and Dolce & Gabbana offer a slight drop crotch. In my opinion, the best pleat trousers for summer are the slim-cut chinos with hefty turn-ups by Gucci. If I may be so bold, if you’re a tad on the tubby side, leave this trend alone.

05 | Bomber/Harrington jackets. Popular this winter, they have continued into summer in lighter fabrics. Bombers make a great casual staple (think Steve McQueen or Daniel Craig in a Harrington) since they look perfect over a T-shirt with chinos or jeans, but they can also look great if you dress them up with a preppy shirt and tie. Band of Outsiders, Alexander McQueen, Acne and the cool Japanese label Beams Plus all do versions that are worth checking out.

06 | Denim. It seems odd to say denim is in fashion — most of us wear it every week — but it has been relatively absent from the catwalks for quite some time. This season, it was back and looking rather good. Washed denim looks best in the summer, and I would recommend you invest in a denim jacket (I’m getting one by R13). They are perfect for spring — layered under a coat or jacket — and neat over a T-shirt and chinos when it heats up a little.

Bottega Veneta and APC even suggested going all out for double denim (jeans and denim top worn at the same time), while Junya Watanabe sent his models out in a variety of dungarees. Somehow, they managed to avoid looking like out-of-work children’s TV presenters, but the models did all have long hair and straggly beards. So if you don’t fancy growing either of those, you might be best leaving the dungarees to the cast of Mamma Mia!

That should be enough to whet the appetite, or send you running for the hills. But, either way, it’s always best to be prepared. I think I’ve found my niche as the Mystic Meg of menswear.

Jeremy Langmead is the editor-in-chief of Mr-porter

Above, from left to right: Taking the pith: African-style is big this summer. Band of Outsiders’s summer collection. Electric blue suit. Daniel Craig in a Harrington. Patterned prints are on trend. Ernest Hemingway on safari in 1953. Exotic uniforms in US TV show The Rat Patrol