Give us a cold day and we Brits – whatever our tribe – thrive. We understand coats. We have an affinity with scarves and we're engaged in an enduring affair with jumpers. It's what living in a country where the temperature rarely gets much higher than 'tepid' does to you.
Come summer, and it all goes to pot. We panic buy a few dodgy pairs of shorts and T-shirts (why spend proper money on something you'll only wear twice?) and loll around in Britain's parks looking like a bunch of half-baked yum yums in Pound Shop wrapping paper.
The thing is, looking good in the summer months is far easier than it is in the winter. OK, layers can help cover up unwelcome wobbly bits, but layers are complicated, and coats are expensive.
So here, to help you avoid committing some of summer's most heinous style crimes, we've outlined a few of the worst. Ignore at your peril.
1 | Vests (above)
The vest was originally designed as an under-layer, to be worn beneath a shirt to keep out the cold. Nothing has changed since the garment's inception. Unless you're on the beach (and even then) a vest should only ever be worn beneath another garment. Suns out, guns in, thank you very much.
2 | Not going sockless
There's something attractive, clean and brilliantly summery about the flash of tanned ankle benath the hem of a trouser and the top of a shoe. Going sockless in summer is not only far more comfortable, it also makes it far easier to team your trousers with your footwear; leaving a few sock-free inches between both can make pretty much any pairing work. A pair of crisp white Superga sneakers teamed with some tapered navy chinos is a strong choice, for instance. Oh, and they may look like foot condoms but a pair of invisible socks will prevent that trench foot feeling, which is never a bad thing.
3 | Not wearing a jacket
Get on the tube in London during the summer months and you'll find yourself exposed to a style pandemic on an epic scale. Countless, sad-looking men wearing unironed, baggy greige shirts loosely tucked into even baggier suit trousers dominate the platform. Where a good tailor would be able to sort out the shabby cut, the lack of jacket is the real problem here. Warm weather needn't mean not wearing a blazer. Avoid coming down with 'Sadandbaggyitis' by investing in a jacket cut from a light, breatheable wool from Richard James or Ermenegildo Zegna. New technology means that wearing a jacket over your shirt is more often cooler (in both senses) than not.
4 | Short-sleeved shirts
Unless it's a boxy, fifties collar style a la Prada SS'15, the short-sleeved shirt can be a tricky thing to get right. A pique polo shirt at the weekend? Fine. A short-sleeved shirt at the water cooler? No. Add a tie into the equation and you've got yourself a full blown 'David Brent does summer' situation.
5 | Too tight chinos
In summer it's more comfortable to wear trousers cut from paler fabrics. The problem is that dark skinny jeans or trousers work in the winter as they tend not to reveal too much. Wearing a pair of tight beige chinos, however, will make your legs look like big uncooked frankfurters, whatever your size. Trust us, buy a pair in light cotton with a slight taper and room in the thigh.The world at large will thank you for it.
6 | Wearing the wrong sunglasses
Not all sunglasses are the same. Buying a pair which suits your face (round with a square jaw, aviator with a heart shape) will make all the difference to your summer look.
7 | Wearing sunglasses in the wrong places
Sporting sunglasses indoors is an obvious no no, as is donning them in the dark. Wearing them when the sun isn't actually out, behind a cloud for instance, will make you look a bit silly too. Oh and let's not forget wearing sunglasses in the lift to the office, pretending as though you've forgotten to take them off. That's daft too.
8 | Too much colour
Just because the sun's out doesn't mean that it's suddenly OK to dress like a Care Bear. A bright pop here and there will look great (an azure shirt with a navy suit, for instance, or a sharp mauve sweater with a pair of slim cut jeans), but too much and you'll look like you raided the dressing-up box on your way out of the house.
9 | Hats
Vizors, caps, pork pies and panamas – unless they're being used to actually keep the sun off your face – hold untold potential to make you look like a bit of a wally. As with most things in menswear, if it's serving an actual purpose, great. If not, get rid.
10 | Shorts in the office
It's a debate that rages during the summer months, but we're here to give you a definitive answer. Wearing shorts to the office is about as inappropriate as taking your shoes off to pad around your employees' desks (take note Nick Clegg). Shorts are great on the beach, in the park, at home or at the pub. But when it comes to work, the attention should be on your sparkling wit and your unmatched skill - not your big hairy hams. If it's really that hot, invest in some slim cut, super-breatheable seersucker trousers and take the hit.