Each week, Esquire's Fashion Director, Catherine Hayward answers your style conundrums.
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I've been invited to a charity tennis tournament this weekend. If it's still exceptionally hot, what should I wear?
Dressing formally in the heat always presents sartorial problems, not least unsightly underarm sweat marks if you dare to take your jacket off during proceedings. So how best to cope in the current heatwave?
Firstly, ascertain the correct dress code. Summer sporting events usually require gentlemen to wear a tailored jacket. Make sure it's a cotton-linen mix or, even better, a lightweight (7-8oz) high twist wool. (High twist cloth always travels well with minimal creasing and feels exceptionally light.) Good summer jackets are usually half-lined too – so will feel as light as a shirt that will billow in any available breeze.
The classic middle class uniform of blue shirts teamed with white trousers is popular precisely because it works; just be sure to keep the shade of blue as pale as possible to camouflage moisture, or introduce a discreet pattern that does the same job. Ensure too that the white cotton is dense enough to hide your front trouser pockets and, most importantly, the outline of your underwear which, of course, should be white.
Leather lace ups and loafers both work – but avoid black which looks too 'city'. The jury is out on the invisible sock – those flesh coloured mini socks designed especially for the 'sockless' look. If you remain unconvinced – my husband is – an extremely fine gauge, lightweight wool sock is a viable alternative.
And, if all else fails, head for the air conditioning unit in the marquee. Whilst standing purposefully underneath it, peruse the sporting program until your body temperature drops and the dreaded sweat marks have disappeared. I did exactly this with a group of perspiring male friends at a polo match last weekend and every one of them was able to remove their jackets without embarrassment when they sat down for afternoon tea.