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Your summer wardrobe cheat sheet

The top five items to keep you smart and suave as the temperature rises

My selection of key summer pieces is intended to get you looking your most dapper, with a fresher, lighter approach to the tailored look.

The words “summer wardrobe”, or even “capsule collection” sounds, to most gents, somewhat intimidating, and even to the most conservative man downright unnecessary. While many men have moved forward in the past decade or two in terms of fashion and their understanding of it, we could all use a refresher course on putting together summer essentials. 

My selection of key summer pieces is intended to get you looking your most dapper, with a fresher, lighter approach to the tailored look while still ensuring you look sharp; whether you’re stuck in board meetings in Dubai or frolicking around Dubrovnik.

The linen suit

Linen suits in light tones are a great idea for dressy, outdoor affairs such as summer weddings. They’re cool, comfortable and still create an elegant look, when crafted correctly. Pair a blue linen suit with a crisp white shirt and a pair of monk straps, or pair a cream version with a round-neck T-shirt and trainers for a more casual vibe. 

The key here is cut. Avoid a break at the hem: Go for a waistband that is snug without being too tight and a jacket that fits your body shape correctly. This creates a good silhouette at the shoulders and back. 

Tailored shorts

Tailored shorts in a cotton chino fabric are a capsule wardrobe staple for any man worth his sartorial salt. This is where it gets complicated, with readymade offerings often being too long, wide and generally unflattering, to the more recent (and somewhat questionable) trend of too teeny tiny short. 

I always advise my clients on three golden rules: Firstly, your shorts should fit perfectly at the waist, they should taper slightly through the thigh, and finish just above the knee. A solid pair in navy or beige will take you far. 

The great thing about having your shorts tailored — in addition to ensuring a much better fit — is that you have the freedom to introduce subtle personalisation such as monogramming, trim details, pockets, or side buckles or clasps, or you could go all out Gucci style and create a real statement piece.

My selection of key summer pieces is intended to get you looking your most dapper, with a fresher, lighter approach to the tailored look.

Summer wardrobe staples

Code of London

St Johns
AED 2,650.00

Mocha Salt

City Shorts 6 Inseam Linen -Black
AED 550.00

Richard James

Pewter Grey / White Cotton Seersucker
AED 2,200.00

Emmett London

White Twill
AED 600.00

Richard James

Trousers Stretch Cotton Twill
AED 925.00

A seersucker blazer

Probably the greatest unsung hero of them all for the summer months, this material has had a lot of bad press. When done right, it can be extremely dapper and sharp. The material is woven in such a way that some threads bunch together, giving the fabric a wrinkled appearance in places. This causes the fabric to be mostly held away from the skin, facilitating heat dissipation and air circulation. It also means you don’t have to worry about pressing your garment — perfect for travelling. 

Now, to avoid looking like you are wearing a costume, steer clear of the seersucker suit, and instead opt for a blazer in a thin, light blue stripe. Again, cut and fit is imperative. Too baggy and it will look terrible. Too trim and it will detract from the natural fall of the fabric. This style of jacket can be layered over a fine Merino wool sweater and button-down Oxford shirt for a fresh, preppy, Ralph Lauren-style look.

The white shirt 

Chances are you already own one, but it might be time to invest in something a little more suited to summer. Prioritise lightweight cotton or cotton-linen blends that will help you stay looking sharp and feeling comfortable in the heat. 

Studies have shown bamboo fabric to be a great alternative to cotton and polyester. Not only is it stronger, but it also has better moisture-wicking and absorption properties — ideal for keeping cool. Bamboo is also much softer than cotton, as well as being hypoallergenic. Wear it under a blazer for a night out or casual Thursday at the office, or with your tailored shorts on holiday.

The beige chino 

Durable, versatile and when cut right, super stylish, a neutral pair of chinos is the ideal substitute to the wool trousers you wore through the winter months. The key to finding the right pair that won’t go out of style is all in the fit and build quality — they should sit a little lower on the hip than formal trousers, but maintain the same rise and length in the leg and taper towards the ankle. They fold easily into hand luggage or a suitcase, and look good in social and even more formal settings.

While this list is certainly not exhaustive — and you’re encouraged to go a bit bolder this season — by curating your own, well-tailored base with the options above, you’re sure to be set for a very stylish summer. 

The writer is brand manager at Ascots and Chapels

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