Summer style

Summer is here and, as the song goes, "the livin' is easy".  Hopefully that includes dressing too.

I have been nonplussed with many of the offerings from planet fashion this season - unsure of their place in the modern man's wardrobe. Case-in-point, neatly hemmed denim shorts and square-hem short sleeve shirts.  Sounds like the 'summer' window display of a low-end department store.  Who wants to look like a cheap catalogue model or worse, like they were dressed by their mum? We're better than that.

Fashion should be approached as if it's not there, while still acknowledging that it is.  It is also a matter of context, and the hot weather of summer baffles many.

The first rule of summer dressing – ditch the short sleeve shirt. If it’s that hot, wear a T-shirt. If it’s the formality of a shirt you need, roll up your sleeves.  Both of these options are better than what a short sleeve shirt says about you.  Think 1970s public servant, English publican or your maths teacher from school - probably with shorts, long socks and sandals. 

Now, on to shorts. The short is for men what the skirt is to the ladies -  know your limits, know your age and know where.  Board shorts are great, but not in the city, long shorts approaching the three quarter mark are never OK, just past the knee is far enough. If you have the legs for it (and you'll know) you can go as short as you like, within reason.  No one wants to see a man getting around like an extra in a Kylie Minogue video.

This brings me to shoes.  There's a new player on the scene - the espadrille. "But my girlfriend wears those, doesn't she?" I hear you say.  True, but they're actually unisex.   As always, context plays a part, but you'd be surprised how far these traditional French-Spanish summer shoes can take you.

They look like they've been made from the deck chairs or canvas sails of a beachside bar in St Tropez, France, or Puerto Escondido, Mexico.  They have a rustic charm about them from years of pragmatic design evolution. They're something a surfer might wear or an eccentric vintner.

They're not work shoes, they're not city shoes, they're good time shoes. They represent drinks with friends, memories of a sharing a bottle of Bordeaux and a wedge of Ossau Iraty, the best cheese in the world, by the way.

Wear with cuffed trousers or distressed seersucker shorts.  Roll the sleeves up on a striped poplin or light linen shirt.  Set the scene, don't make one, and embrace their beach side irreverence.   Don't make it about fashion, make it a lifestyle choice.

Should short sleeve shirts be banned? What are your summer essentials?

So this is it for another year, thanks for coming along for the ride. It's always entertaining and enlightening to read your thoughts and opinions - it's amazing how passionate we can be about fashion.  I hope everyone has a great summer and you all look your best.

Have a Merry Christmas, Jc.

This article Summer style was originally published in The Age.