Smart Dressing

Four ways to wear camel (that don’t involve camelhair coats)

In winter the camel coat reigns supreme. But how do you get your fix in spring? Here’s our guide to wearing it this season

The colour camel is less a trend and more a sophisticated constant in menswear. After all, it’s been around for the best part of 100 years in one form or another. In it’s most common guise, the camel coat has been championed by city traders, secondhand car dealers, couture designers and despots alike – with varying degrees of success. It’s timeless, sophisticated and versatile.

We’re willing to bet you’ve got a camel coat somewhere in your wardrobe (and if you don’t – you should), but what to do when the time comes to pack it away and break out your spring clothes instead? Here are four ways to keep the colour in your arsenal, and not overheat during the coming months.

Hackett camel bomber1. The bomber

Okay, so hefty double-breasted coats are out for the next six months, but sporty suede bombers are a different matter. We tend to gravitate towards chocolate brown or navy when it comes to suede jackets, but soft camel and tan tones are just as versatile. This handsome piece is from Hackett, and it’s guaranteed to serve you well through the spring season and on into autumn.

It’s cut in a classic A1 style with a ribbed collar, hems and button-through front. Generous front bellows pockets add functionality and the suede’s not too heavy – ideal for layering over tees or breezy shirts when it warms up. Try it with a classic navy camp collar shirt beneath, and wear with pale jeans or chinos for a fresh look.

£850, shop now

Mr Porter camel coat2. The blazer

We’ve long said that blazers don’t have to be blue. Soft camelhair jackets are a sophisticated alternative to navy, well suited to smart-casual offices or chic evenings out. With that in mind, this blazer from Paul Smith is a versatile choice. It’s lightly structured, so it’s not too stiff and the wool and cashmere cloth drapes beautifully. It was tailored in Italy with a half-lining for comfort, and finished with smart swelled edges along the lapels and pocket seams. The simple patch pockets and dark horn buttons ensure it sits on the right side of smart-casual, too.

It’s an elegant piece, so it’ll pay to dress it up. Pair with either a navy merino crewneck or sky blue poplin shirt, grey tailored trousers (try Rubinacci’s Gurkha trousers if you’re after something a little different), and chocolate suede shoes. Don’t forget the pocket hanky either – try one of Drakes’ chic off-white spotted hankies for a sharp finishing touch.

£590, shop now

Mr Porter camel and black sweater3. The knit

There’s something really comforting about a chunky camel knit. Steve McQueen was often photographed in a thick cable-knit camel cardigan, but this quirky crewneck from Scandinavian brand NN07 is a contemporary alternative. There’s a lot to like about the design; its woolly texture is teddy-bear soft, its stretchy composition keeps it comfortable to wear and its panelled design feels modern and clean.

We’d keep this simple and layer over a classic white t-shirt worn with laundered chinos or slim selvedge denim jeans. Off-white or suede sneakers will set off a casual look, too. If you need something over the top, try a trim navy topcoat to pick up the midnight blue panels in the crewneck’s design.

£140, shop now

Camel loafers, Crockett & Jones4. The shoes

How’s this for something a little different? New for the spring/summer ’18 season, Crockett & Jones has embraced a love of all things camel. Excitingly, the brand’s produced its first ever unstructured Chelsea boot for spring – the Cranleigh, in a supple camel suede – but it’s also made these preppy camel loafers, fittingly named the ‘Harvard II’. A classic penny loafer style with generous round toes, they’re left unlined (like their Cranleigh cousins) which ensures they’ll stay cool and comfortable to wear in the heat.

Let these do the talking and pair with classic smart-casual spring combinations. Set off a lightweight navy blazer, white shirt and dark tobacco cotton chinos, or wear with neutral coloured summer suiting. Make sure you’re wearing appropriate socks too – only the finest cotton will do during the warmer months – or opt for a spot of ‘mankling’ when the sun comes out.

£345, shop now