The first rule of men’s summer fashion is “NO FLIP FLOPS.” That’s the second rule, too.
Early and mid-summer fashion is relatively easy. You can keep it lightweight, colorful and casual.
But, late summer can offer some additional challenges. You’re confronted with the hot dog days — that peak of summer heat. Meanwhile, you’ve got the specter of early fall closing in on you, offering some days of cooling temperatures. That in mind, what are the best choices for late summer fashion?
I turned to my styling expert, London-based personal shopper Lilya Chair. She tracks the latest trends and hottest designers from Central London and sent along some tips for when late summer meets early fall cooling.
“Dressing up in a nice and comfy way this time of year gets a bit complicated,” she agreed. “As a stylist and image consultant, I advise my clients to keep it smart and simple. For most people I do believe much of what they need is probably already in the wardrobe.”
Chair first signed off on the the classic blue jeans: “If you are looking for a smarter look it could be a dark blue jean or even a black one. But always make sure that you are picking up the right fit and the right cut for your body shape.”
“If you want to look trendier, you can go for a lighter fabric in some beautiful summer colors. Zegna Sport does beautiful ones.”
Sometimes you won’t really feel comfortable in a pair of jeans because of the heat, so Chair offered other option. A pair of simple Chinos are lighter than jeans and always serve as “smart casual.” She advises owning a couple pairs (dark navy and another light color).
“Another classic must have is your plain white T-shirt,” Chair said. “Pick up a nice quality one. Lagerfeld does amazing ones examples. Make sure it fits your body type again.”
“A V-neck is one of my favorites. Add a grey one, black and navy. I always advice my clients to go for neutral colors, so it will make it easier for them to mix and match.”
Once the t-shirts are in place, Chair suggests using the them as a base layer before adding a sweater, a blazer or a jacket.
“A key piece for this time of year is the Cashmere Jumper or a V-neck cardigan,” Chair explained. “They’re ideal for the transition — when the chill of late summer’s evenings takes a toll. They never go out of style.”
“Make sure to pick up a nice color that really suits you personally I would stay navy, black, grey or brown.”
Of course, a sport jacket or a blazer will smarten up any look and keep you warm enough when warm summer afternoons turn cool under the moon. You’ll probably want to keep it classic in navy or grey, but black is too formal.
For shirts, Chair insists you own at least 3 in white, light pink and blue. They compliment an at work or casual look.
For outerwear, Chair suggests a trench coat. Yes, you’ll probably wear it more often in fall, especially in windy and wet days. But, it can be the perfect lightweight summer jacket on your way home in the evening.
“Keep it classic if you want a trench coat to stay in your wardrobe a long time,” she said. “if you are a fashion victim, you still can find many choices in different brands.”
“Otherwise, the leather bomber or biker Jacket always adds style and keeps you cozy when you need it. And, a mid-weight scarf is the most versatile late summer and fall accessory for men. Fabric is important here so avoid acrylic and choose high-quality cotton, wool and lightweight cashmere.
As for lids, Chair lets you decide what works best for you — though she insists hats are always useful to add style to a total look.
In the kicks department, Chair said a pair of brown Brogues or black lace ups will be more than useful: “You still can go for a water resistant pair or a pair of boots, if you’re in late summer rain. Add to this a pair of canvas Converse – or a pair of black leather loafers for a casual look.”